--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
The Louisville Cardinals won a close game against Western Kentucky Saturday. It was tremendously closer than what it should have been- the line was 21 points entering the game, and the Cardinals were forced to hope for a missed field goal as time expired.
WKU did miss the field goal, and the Cardinals were able to get the 20-17 come-from-behind win. There were a few things we learned from the game:
QB competition brewing
Similarly to last week, starting QB Jawon Pass was taken out of the game for Malik Cunningham. Pass didn’t connect on all three passing attempts, threw a pick, and lost six yards.
Cunningham, on the other hand, completed 10 of 18 for 88 yards passing, and obtained 129 yards on 21 attempts rushing. His longest was a 17-yard rush on third down in the third quarter.
After the past two weeks, it would be difficult to start Pass over Cunningham at Virginia. While the redshirt freshman will start, Pass will likely get playing time in the game.
Cunningham did well against an FCS and group of five team. ACC competition is tougher. It’ll be interesting to see how Cunningham does; and how Pass rebounds.
The Cardinals converted just two third-down attempts. Out of 11. So far this season, Louisville has converted just 29.7 percent. It’s the worst percentage Louisville has had the past 10 years. In fact, in the second-worst season for conversion, 2009, Louisville was able to convert 36.8 percent.
Louisville won only four games in 2009. If they’re to avoid that, the offense needs to greatly improve on the most crucial down.
A couple weeks ago, Louisville had trouble in the trenches. This week, the Cardinals had trouble through the air.
It’s like someone flipped a switch.
Out of 292 all-purpose yards, Louisville had just 88 from the air. All three incompletions from Pass wasn’t his fault. They were catchable balls. The interception he threw was off a dropped pass where the defender was positioned correctly to fall under it.
Having a diverse offense opens up possibilities; and scoring. Defenders will be able to hold the line if they know what is coming.
Louisville was able to get through WKU with a win. It’ll be tough to beat ACC opponents with the same woes.
Rodjay Burns is good at football
In the past couple weeks, Rodjay Burns proved to be a capable player on secondary; and returning. While he had less of an impact on defense ( 2 tackles, both solo), Burns had a stellar punt return for 36 yards.
Burns calls for the fair catch a decent amount of times. But when he does take it himself, he makes it entertaining.
The important thing was getting away with a win. The game may not have been what Bobby Petrino and Co. wanted, but a 14-point fourth was what Louisville needed to do to prevent the upset.
But there are more questions than answers. There’s an uneasy feeling on Floyd Street entering ACC play.
My grade: D