--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
The Louisville Cardinals look to snap a two-game series losing streak against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons tomorrow.
Coming off an offensive explosion against Boston College last week, Scott Satterfield and Co. travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for a prime-time tilt against the undefeated Deacons. The game is at 7:30 pm, and on the ACC Network.
Here’s a rundown of the series history, what the Deacons are doing this season, and what to expect tomorrow:
Louisville has a 4-2 record against the Demon Deacons since they first met in the Orange Bowl on January 2nd, 2007. They opened a series in 2014, and have played every year since. Louisville won the first four matchups, with their latest win on November 12th, 2016. In that game, the Cardinals scored 34 fourth-quarter points to win 44-12.
The win gave the Deacons some fuel, as Wake announced that Louisville had received a copy of the plays Wake Forest were planning to run in the game. In actuality, Tommy Elrod, a former player and radio analyst, gave the playbook to co-offensive coordinator Lonnie Galloway.
Since then, the Cardinals dropped two consecutive games. The Deacons won their first matchup against Louisville on October 28th, 2017, 42-32; and their second on October 27th, 2018 56-35.
What’s happening this season
Wake quarterback Jamie Newman is the ACC’s top-rated passer. He has completed nearly 70 percent of passes, gaining over 1500 yards; and scoring 14 touchdowns with three picks.
Senior wide receivers Scotty Washington and Sage Surrat both have six touchdowns each.
The Deacons outscore opponents 35.8-21. They have converted over 54 percent of third-down conversions, while holding opponents to 26 percent. Their best win was arguably a 24-18 game against North Carolina.
What to expect
Louisville QBs Malik Cunningham and Evan Conley are both healthy for this week. Jawon Pass, on the other hand, is still listed as day-to-day. Cunningham has done well under center, and has completed 65 percent of passes with 5 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Saturday will be the first real ACC road test for the Cardinals. With next week’s matchup against Clemson, the Cardinals may need to play well in order to avoid a two-game losing streak entering a winnable game against Virginia.
The good news is that Louisville is rested, and coming off bye week.
ESPN’s FPI gives Louisville a 30.1 percent chance of victory. Wake Forest has found ways to win, and will be a tough opponent.
This will be a closer game than many expected. Boston College nearly beat Wake Forest, and lost by only a field goal.
Prediction: Boston College 31, Louisville 28
By Nick Stringer
Photographer: Jared Anderson
Saturday marked the first meeting for Satterfield against a decent Boston College team.
The Eagles continued to rely on a dominant ground game, led by star running back AJ Dillon. They entered the week ranked 13th in FBS play, in yards per game (252), with AJ Dillon leading the charge with about 150 yards in three consecutive games. The junior star had his breakout game two years ago at Louisville with a career-high 272 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-42 win.
The game opened with Boston College taking control. It looked like they were going to have their way with Louisville’s defense, but Louisville stripped the ball from Dillon, who fumbled on the 3-yard line. Poor field position for Louisville but, thanks to two huge plays, they were able to create some breathing room and get into striking distance. Mical (Malik) Cunningham drew first blood and scored a touchdown on a small 5 yd QB keep to the right.
Boston College answered right back with a 72 yd TD pass to their TE. It was as if the linebackers didn’t even see, or cover correctly, on the play. When BC gets it going in the air, they will open the field to operate their run-heavy offense.
Louisville brushed it off and did not take long to get it going again. Cunningham took full control of the offense. He was running at the right times and taking shots down the field with his substantially faster wide-outs. He connected with a very talented Seth Dawkins, who ran for a 45 yd touchdown. Louisville desperately needs someone who can burn the whole secondary defense, and Dawkins did it today.
Boston College attempted to gain momentum by capitalizing on an extra point that should have of been bobbled, but instead turned into a 2-point conversion. They now trailed by 6 at the half. Louisville’s defense needs to step it up, even with stopping a forceful Dillon all half.
The Cards came out hot in the second half. They took to the air to stay in the game, thanks to 3 lead wide-outs with 100+ yds each. Louisville seemed to be playing Chinese fire drill with their QB’s because of an injury to Cunningham. Evan Conley capitalized on the opportunity and Satterfield rode with him for every other drive, resulting in two QB’s putting up career highs today. One positive thing we can take away from this game, it seems any QB can play and adjust to Satterfield, which has been a key issue in the past if one goes down.
Louisville’s defense looks like they may be able to handle their own against any ACC team but as time ticks away, they seem to tire and almost can’t keep the pace. Louisville’s defense is a big concern right now because they have been missing in action ever since the first half of the Notre Dame game.
Louisville got a hard-earned win at home. Louisville’s rushing offense was really clicking. Javian Hawkins did most of the work early. He touched the ball 13 times for 126 yds and one touchdown. He also created huge opportunities for Cunningham to Dawkins, who had 3 receptions for a total of 150 yds and a TD. Dez Fitzpatrick 5 for 108 and a touchdown) and Tutu Atwell (8 for 110) also contributed with big games of their own.
The Cards travel to face a ranked (first time since 2008), undefeated Wake Forest (#22) team. It will be a very good test for this young Cardinal team before facing juggernaut Clemson in Death Valley.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
If the season ended today, the Louisville Cardinals would be heading to a bowl game…
Granted, we are only three games into the 2019 college football season. There are nine more games left. But after the dismal 2018 campaign, where the Cardinals finished 2-10, a 2-1 record feels good. The one loss was to a top-10 team; and the Cardinals hung with them for three quarters and beat the spread.
After the first three games, is it time to re-look at Louisville’s win projections, especially after some of the losses or closer wins than expected by 2019 opponents?
Possibly. In the first three weeks, Florida State has underperformed; losing to Boise State at home and Virginia on the road, and won in overtime against UL Monroe. FSU was originally projected to go 8-4, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. Now, they’re projected to go 6-6.
Boston College is another team in a similar situation. They started 2-0, but were destroyed in Chestnut Hill by Kansas, which has been the laughing stock of college football for over a decade.
Syracuse is another example; originally ranked 22nd, but have underperformed after getting blown out 63-20 by Maryland, and 41-6 by Clemson. NC State is another, after losing 44-27 against West Virginia.
The games against those teams may be closer than originally expected. According to the FPI, Louisville has at least a 30% chance at victory six more times this season. They have above a 40% chance three times. Louisville has above a 50% chance two more times.
Louisville’s expected win total has also improved from 4.4 to 5.5.
But there’s still too many questions to say they will probably make a bowl game. Eastern Kentucky and Western Kentucky were the two easiest opponents on the schedule. An absolute shelling against Eastern and solid win against Western help build anticipation, but there are a few tough games on the schedule. Louisville has to play tough road games against Wake Forest, Miami (if the momentum from week three carries), and Kentucky. Clemson is also on the schedule.
A real test will be what happens in Tallahassee on September 21st. The Seminoles had high expectations entering the season, and can create a hostile atmosphere. FSU has also owns a 15-4 record against Louisville. The Cardinals may have won the past two of three years, but last year’s loss at home had to sting.
If Louisville wins a true road test against the Seminoles on the road, then six-wins becomes a far easier task to accomplish.
The culture has also shifted from the Bobby Petrino era, for the better. Players are having more fun, and the environment appears to be more player-friendly under Scott Satterfield. The team has already appeared to benefit from that.
Tutu Atwell has four touchdowns in three games, and is one away from last year’s team lead. Jawon Pass and Malik Cunningham have also had better years at quarterback so far. Bryan Brown’s defense has also been significantly better than Bryan VanGorder or Peter Sirmon’s. They’re surrendering less than 19 points now. Last year, Bryan VanGoder’s unit allowed more than 44 points a game. If VanGorder coordinated the defense against Notre Dame, Louisville could have easily surrendered 77 ponts.
And Louisville is playing well with one of the lowest ranked recruiting classes since 2009. They’re playing with the 69th overall class in 2019. It was dead last in the ACC. Only 13 enrolled, according to 247Sports.
Louisville’s future looks bright. There’s 23 hard commits for the 2020 class; already the 29th in the nation. The culture shift and revitalized atmosphere may lead to a shorter rebuild than expected.
But it’s too early to say Louisville will win six games. If the Cardinals defeat Florida State, then it may be time to change our expectations.
Regardless, a 2-1 record with a quality loss feels good, especially after a 2-10 record.
--By: Nick Stringer
-- Photo by: Jared Anderson
The Cards traveled to Nashville TN to battle in-state rival Western Kentucky. Last week, Coach Satterfield collected his first win at Louisville with a dominant 42-0 victory over Eastern Kentucky. Today, he earned win number two with a 38-21 victory.
Louisville’s last road-win was against Kentucky in November 2017. They went 0-4 in away games last year.
Western Kentucky started the game with the ball, but Louisville had an aggressive defensive rush early to create disruption to the Hilltopper offense.
Louisville gained momentum with a massive drive due to a muffed punt by John Haggerty. Malik Cunningham took over the drive to lead the Cards down the field. It ended on an offensive run into the end zone by the multi faceted Tutu Atwell. That would not be all from Atwell on the night. He also collected 141 yards and three touchdowns on four receptions.
The Cardinal defense didn’t let up in the first quarter, resulting in sacks and tackle for losses led by senior end Amonte Caban.
The Cards were set up in great field position again to dominate on another drive. It looked like a rush heavy offense but Louisville surprised the defense with a nifty deep play action pass.
The play action passes that were completed for touchdowns today make me question why the Cards don’t pass more down the field and let the young talented receiving corps go to work.
The Cards went into halftime with a 31-7 lead. A pair of touchdown passes, a rushing touchdown, and a fumble return for a touchdown contributed to the dominant first half.
Western Kentucky outscored the Cards 14-7 in the second half, when Louisville relaxed on the reins. The sole score in the second half was Atwell’s third touchdown on the day.
Cunningham has difficulty sliding, which resulted in him getting his helmet knocked off and therefore entered concussion protocol. Cunningham left the game at 8:13 with 119 yards and two touchdowns.
With the Malik Cunningham injury. We got to see action from a new face at quarterback, Evan Conley, in the middle of the third quarter. He only got to let the ball fly three times, completing two passes. One resulted in a touchdown. The true freshman ended with 86 yards.
Louisville leads the overall series 21-12 and have won the last 10, which is the longest against any opponent.
The 2-1 Cards hit the road to face Florida State in Tallahassee on Saturday, Sept. 21. Last year the Seminoles stole a victory at Cardinal Stadium after scoring 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
Tomorrow, the Louisville Cardinals face off against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in Nashville; hoping for a better showing than when the series re-started in 2018.
When the series was announced, both teams were in vastly different situations. In October 2016, the Cardinals were facing an all-time high; after defeating Florida State in the school’s first College Gameday appearance, and Lamar Jackson dominating the Heisman conversation. Western Kentucky also came off a 10-win regular season; and was coached by former Louisville quarterback Jeff Brohm.
Brohm is at Purdue, and the Hilltoppers have sputtered. Louisville had a disastrous 2018. Despite this, there’s plenty to look at for tomorrow.
Louisville and WKU have played 32 games, with the first matchup coming in 1922. The Cardinals won last year 20-17, in come-from-behind fashion that surprised most fans. Before that game, Louisville played in 1998.
Both teams played eight consecutive times from 1982-1990. Since that time, Louisville has won all 10 times.
Last year, Western led Louisville 14-3 at halftime. A pair of one-yard rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter by Dae Williams prevented the Cardinals from losing at home against the Hilltoppers for the first time since 1975.
What to expect tomorrow
The Cardinals dominated Eastern Kentucky last week, winning 42-0 and recording their first shutout since 2013. After the first two games, it appears Louisville’s in a better position than they were last year.
WKU is 1-1 this season, and is scoring nearly as many as they’ve allowed. They allowed 24.5 points a game, against Central Arkansas and Florida International. They lost to Central Arkansas in Week one at home.
Central Arkansas is an FCS team. There’s typically a clear talent divide between the two subdivisions of Division-I College Football.
Louisville will get another opportunity to practice their craft before taking on Florida State on September 21st. The Cardinals destroyed their FCS opponent, and competed with Notre Dame for three quarters.
Prediction: Louisville 35, Western Kentucky 10
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
For the first time since September 22nd, 2018, the Louisville Cardinals are at .500. They defeated the Eastern Kentucky Colonels, 42-0, behind a very impressive defensive performance. Louisville’s defense held EKU to under 100 yards in the first half, and 542 in the game. Moreover, the Cardinals recorded nearly half as many sacks as the entire year last year.
It was the first time since FIU in 2013 that Louisville shut out an opponent. It was also the first time Louisville scored more than 40 since the Kentucky game in 2017.
Jawon Pass started for Louisville, and had a good game. He completed 12 of 19 for 196 yards and 4 touchdowns and 1 interception, while rushing four times for 37 yards. One of the stars of the game was Javian Hawkins, who became the first freshman running back to have back-to-back 100 yard rushing games since 2008. He was also the first Louisville RB since 2016 to do that. Freshman Marshon Ford also scored two touchdowns.
Louisville put up 14 in the first quarter. On their first drive, Pass shovel passed to Tutu Atwell for an impressive 50-yard touchdown with 12:34 left. Blanton Creque’s kick was good. Then, Pass connected with redshirt freshman Marshon Ford for a five-yard touchdown on a crossing route, followed by a Creque extra point.
In the second, neither team could get more than 80 yards. Louisville had 79 yards, 33 rushing. EKU had 62, helped by two sacks by the Louisville defense.
Louisville’s offense was better in the second half.
Ford caught another touchdown pass less than 30 seconds after the second half began; from five yards. The play was set up by a 66-yard rush from Javian Hawkins. Hawkins originally was credited with a touchdown, but replay review delayed the score. Then, with 3:58 left, Pass threw on fourth down and connected with Dez Fitzpatrick, giving Louisville a 28-0 lead.
Hassan Hall punched in a touchdown from the one yard-line with 12:05 left in the game. Then, Malik Cunningham entered the game, and ran for a 38-yard touchdown to cap off a four-play, 66 yard drive that took up 1:53.
Louisville’s record now sits at 1-1. They go down to Nashville next week for a matchup with Western Kentucky at Nissan Stadium. The game will be at 4:00 pm. Louisville returns to Cardinal Stadium on Saturday, October 5th, for a game against Boston College.
--Photos by Jared Anderson and Roscelle Griffin
--Photos by Jared Anderson
This week’s edition of the River City Cards Louisville Football Tailgate of the Week features the Green Lot Gangsters, an awesome tailgate in the purple-A lot; that’s been a staple of the Louisville tailgate scene since the early 1990s. They’ve traveled to several away and bowl games, and have seen the highs and lows of Louisville Football over the years.
You can find them by searching for the giant Cardinal head and seat from Cardinal stadium. The head was a part of an American Air Filter Parade float in the 90s. Bobby Singer, one of the Tailgate owners, said he came about the seat, and included it on top of the trailer.
If you want your tailgate to be featured on River City Cards Louisville Football Tailgate of the Week, just follow us on Twitter, and let us know to come on by. You can find us on Twitter @rivercitycards.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
The Louisville Cardinals are *sortve* back. For the first time since Lamar Jackson, the Louisville football competed with a top-10 team with better-than-expected performance: Tied until the final minutes of the first half, and able to cover the spread against Notre Dame.
It may have not been a win; but after last season’s implosion (putting it nicely, Bobby Petrino), Louisville fans are glad for the moral victory.
Scott Satterfield and Co. look for their first win on Saturday; hosting Eastern Kentucky. The FCS Colonels have a 1-0 record after destroying Valparaiso 53-7 in Richmond last Thursday.
Here’s what to expect:
About the shelling…
EKU played three quarterbacks, gained 442 yards of offense, held Valparaiso to less than 200; and won by an impressive margin.
Conor Blount received most of the snaps, and completed 6 of 11 for 62 yards and a pick. RB Alonzo Booth trotted into the end zone three times, and led both teams with 128 yards rushing.
The blowout was so bad, Eastern only punted once. When Phillip Richards did boot the ball, it went 47 yards.
Defensively, EKU had 12 tackles for a loss, and sacked the opposing quarterback two times.
But, as impressive as that sounds, Valparaiso only won two games last year. They were a bad football team.
Last time these two met…
You have to go in the history books to find the last matchup. On September 7th, 2013, a Charlie Strong led Louisville Cardinals football team destroyed the Colonels 44-7. The Cardinals put up 475 total yards of offense, held the Colonels to 206, and only punted three times the whole game.
Teddy Bridgewater completed 23 of 32 for 397 yards and 4 touchdowns, two to DeVante Parker.
Louisville owns an 18-7-1 record all-time against the Colonels, with the first matchup coming in 1927. They played every year from 1952 to 1961, and only two times this decade.
What to Expect
You can expect the Cardinals to win this matchup. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, Louisville has a 96% chance of winning. After a tough week against Notre Dame, the easier opponent should be a welcomed sight for the entire team.
Expect the starters to get action in, before being pulled after the game gets out of hand.
My prediction: Louisville 42, Eastern Kentucky 14
--By Roscelle Griffin
--Photo by Jared Anderson
The Louisville Cardinals opened the 2019 football season Monday; Scott Satterfield and company took the field for the first time this season, in front of a record crowd of 58,187. Unfortunately, they lost to No. 9 Notre Dame, 35-17.
Louisville gained 383 yards against Notre Dame, and gave up 423. 249 of Louisville’s yards were on the ground, as were the two Cardinal touchdowns.
The Fighting Irish did not waste any time scoring. They scored a touchdown within the first two minutes of action, a three-yard rush from Jahmir Smith.
The Cards quickly answered back. Quarterback Jawon Pass scored back-to-back rushing touchdowns. The first was an eight-yard rush at the 7:27 mark in the first, and the second a 17-yard run with 4:08 left.
Notre Dame tied the game with 29 seconds left in the first quarter.
The game was a little sloppy at times. Both teams fumbled three consecutive times, twice by the Cardinals. Irish quarterback Ian Book rushed for an 11-yard touchdown with 17 seconds left in the first half. Notre Dame led 21-14 entering the locker room.
Louisville held Notre Dame to a touchdown in the third quarter. The score was off a pass to Tommy Tremble with 8:06 left in the third.
Blanton Creque kicked his only field goal with 13:25 left in the game- splitting the uprights from 42 yards.
Smith scored another touchdown with 8:15 left in the 4th quarter. The score gave the Irish a 35-17 lead over the Cardinals, which was the final score.
Javian Hawkins led the Cardinals with 106 yards rushing. Jawon Pass completed 12 of 27 for 134 yards, and no passing touchdowns. Pass also led the Cardinals with two rushing touchdowns. Tutu Atwell led Louisville receivers with five receptions for 47 yards. There were no interceptions in the game.
The Cards are back in action on Saturday, September 7th, as they host Eastern Kentucky at 7pm in Cardinal Stadium.