The joke, of course, because a joke is the only way to start here, so difficult is it to get one’s hands wrapped around this cockamamie Cards-survived-on-the-road football victory. If, in fact, any type of objective, even faintly analytical comprehension of what went down Saturday night in Winston-Salem is possible at all.
So, the question is, will Danny Manning’s Demon Deacon hoopsters be able to equal the school’s pigskin tally of 59 when they visit the Yum! on February 5? (Insert chuckle track here.)
So, what exactly was the turning point — “a time at which a decisive change in a situation occurs, especially one with beneficial results” — in this whoopsie doo 62-59 Cardinal nailbiter of an ACC W against a “Top 25” foe?
Well, it didn’t come during the injured again Micale Cunningham’s stint before his somersaulting exit to the medical tent. During his time on the gridiron, the Cards’ starting QB fashioned an unheard of 331.9 passer rating. 5/6 for 99 yards and 2 TDs. He also rushed for 59 yards on 4 carries.
Nor was it Hassan Hall’s scintillating 102 yard kickoff return. Or his 83 yard return of the second half kickoff. Which led to a Dez Fitzpatrick TD catch.
And it wasn’t Tutu Atwell’s equally brilliant 50 yard punt return. Or that acrobatic leap of his to the pylon for a score after snaring a swing pass.
It might have been Rodjay Burns pick that ended the 3dQ. But it wasn’t. The same can be said for Yassir Abdullah’s interception, though that too was obviously helpful.
How about Seth Dawkins’ clever open field maneuvering on his 55 yard scamper to paydirt? Uh no.
That 50 yard bullseye from Evan Conley to Dez Fitzpatrick was really important, right? Well, it put the Cards up 52-31, but . . . uh . . . no.
Which brings us, as the clock winds down, to Scott Satterfield’s marvelous call, and Evan Conley’s boffo execution of a QB option with 2:15 left to play, and the Cards facing 4th and 1 at Wake’s 41 yard line.
That was BIG. That was HUGE. The rookie scored, for heaven’s sake.
But, NO, as key as it was, it also does not qualify as the pivotal moment in this U of L upset of previously undefeated Wake Forest.
The game turned as the clock on the wall closed in on midnight, and the clock on the scoreboard read 1:05.
The game was decided because the zebras didn’t have enough conclusive evidence to overturn their call on the field that diminutive Tutu Atwell had outfought the scrum on Nick Sciba’s umpteenth onside kick of the battle, after Wake pulled within a FG.
Otherwise, the Demon Deacons, who had been scoring like Trinity through the St. Polycarp jayvees, like the proverbial hot knife through warm butter, would have had the ball on the Cards’ 38 yard line. And would absolutely, positively, without a doubt have tallied a game-winning touchdown against Louisville’s porous defense, exhausted from having to defend an almost incomprehensible 102 WF offensive snaps.
Thank you, zebras.
* * * * *
Another smile inducer to break the tension.
The game was on the ACC Network, but a Big 12 game broke out.
Humor is necessary because, as great as the W is for the team and the Red & Black Faithful, as much perspective as must be adhered to after last year’s horrid campaign, the reality is this: U of L’s offense was tremendous. Up to the task on the road in a league game.
But Louisville’s D, other than a couple moments mentioned above, was not good. It surrendered 668 yards. 423 in the air, while only once or twice pressuring the WF passer. Wake scored easily the last four times it had the ball in the 4th.
Yet, yet, yet, the win is super. 4-2 after six is better than most expected.
Just be sure to bring plenty of sedatives with you for Saturday’s noon showdown with Dabo’s Tigers.
— Seedy K