Spirits Lifted 🔼
Louisville 20 – NC State 13
What the game on Saturday WASN’T…..
- well officiated
What the game on Saturday WAS…..
- hard fought
- a struggle
- a much needed win
So just when the University of Louisville Football team needed a shot in the arm in the worst of ways (along with the rest of athletic department amid recent men’s basketball program allegations), the Cardinals were finally able to get out of their own way Saturday long enough to muster up a much needed and potentially season altering road win in Raleigh over NC State. UofL did just enough offensively on Saturday to allow it’s defense to steal the show and solidify the Cards’ first ACC conference win in 2015. Lamar Jackson played really well in the first half, then did his best Jeckyl & Hyde impersonation in the second half suddenly losing the ability to hit open receivers. Nonetheless, it was Jackson’s first half legs and a beautiful soft touch pass for a TD to fellow true freshman Devante Peete that gave UofL the cushion it needed to hold off the Wolfpack.
There were numerous drives in the second half where it looked as if NC State was going to finally knot things up but Todd Grantham’s defense should be given a ton of credit for bending but not breaking. Sheldon Rankins played big up front and the Cards’ linebackers, as expected, were terrific. Keith Burgess’ big hit on 4th and short with just over a minute remaining in regulation sealed the deal. NC State had been averaging over 250 yards a game on the ground coming into yesterday’s game. The Cards held them to less than 50 however, which forced Wolfpack QB Jacoby Brissett to throw the ball far more than NC State wanted. Advantage, Louisville.
Key takeaways from the game………….
- The officiating on Saturday was the most incompetent I have witnessed in several years
- UofL got jobbed at the end of the first half – there was one possibly two seconds left when Brissett slid (horrendous no call)
- Devante Fields MUST make himself more of a presence on the defensive side of the ball
- This game was vital to UofL becoming bowl eligible; without it my confidence wanes
- Charles Standberry MUST catch that ball that Bonnafon delivered late in the 2nd quarter
- Without a running game, every contest will be, at a minimum, close – some a struggle
- Major plus from yesterday – no major injuries despite the bad weather/slick field
Now, the Cards get to enjoy a bye week which they’ll need from an X and O standpoint in order to prepare for their next opponent, Florida State.
The Seminoles won their 13th straight ACC league game yesterday by taking care of business at Wake Forest. The Cards will most certainly enter Tallahassee as a fairly heavy underdog. UofL had a golden opportunity last year to knock off FSU at home in their annual Thursday night game but were unable to cap off one last offensive drive late in the 4th quarter to pull off the upset. Is there a revenge factor in play for this next game? No, but being that the Cards have a slew of Florida born players on it’s current roster, I have zero doubt that the players will require any extra motivation to be hyped for this one. Hopefully, the extra off week will give the offensive staff time to continue fine tuning Lamar Jackson and his understanding of Petrino’s passing schemes. Once Jackson really “gets it” and his comfort level in the pocket starts to ripen, I would expect him to get more and more accurate on his throws. And then, watch out…..
Jackson’s talent is unquestionable and the sky is the limit for him. What will be most interesting to see, is how the QB position in 2016 shakes out if Jawon Pass follows through with his commitment and makes it to UofL’s campus next August. But, that’s another blog entry all together for another time.
In my next blog, I will cast out my thoughts on the recent allegations that have recently come out regarding the men’s basketball team. I have some strong opinions on this matter as I am certain many other UofL fans do as well. We all know that rival fan bases are loving the negative exposure that is hitting UofL at the moment. My take, if nothing wrong occurred then hold steadfast and the truth shall set you free. But again, more of that in my next attempt at a semi-entertaining entry.
From a conference standpoint, major kudos to the Clemson Tigers in their huge home victory over Notre Dame. Also a big shout out to the University of North Carolina in their huge comeback win over Georgia Tech.
Go Cards! Go ACC!