Louisville Card File: Miami (Fla)

cardsIf there was any doubt that Bobby Petrino has returned to the Louisville sideline, and that Bobby Petrino is large and in charge — and there really wasn’t any doubt, but, work with me here — if there had been any doubt, it was smashed to smithereens with 1:43 left on the clock.

Up a relatively safe 24-13, the Cards gained possession at their own 33 with 9:30 to play, after holding the driving Hurricanes on downs. Eating up clock, U of L then proceeded relatively methodically down field, thwarting Miami’s hopes for a comeback with each gain, each down, each tick of the clock.

Eleven running plays later with 1:49 to go — and two necessary but not in your face passes to keep the drive alive — U of L, which hadn’t done anything but run it between tackles for several downs, was 3d & 2 at the Miami 10. The ‘Canes called timeout.

Which play stoppage obviously provoked the easily irked Petrino.

Soooooooo, after that break, he ran play action. QB Will Gardner found his favorite target Gerald Christian in the end zone, for a take-that-Al-Golden-don’t-be-callin’-a-late-timeout-on-me TD. Which ran the margin, after conversion, to 31-13.

In the press box, a member of the U of L athletic department asked nobody in particular, “Isn’t that running up the score?”

To which, I couldn’t help but respond, “That’s our Bobby Petrino.”

Was it artful? Absolutely.

Did it bring a smile to Cardinal fans, who filled the joint in record numbers? You betcha.

Was it gracious? Uh, no.

Was it proof positive that one of college football’s premier enfants terrible is back in charge at Papa J’s? Oh yeah.

* * * * *

 I like my offense like I like my apples.

Sweet. Crisp.

Much of the night, U of L looked mushy when it had the ball. And, often, tasted tart.

It wasn’t awful, mind you. Just not what I remember from Petrino Era I. Yet.

Twice Cardinal drives ended immediately with first play sack fumbles deep in their own territory. On U of L’s first possesion of the 2Q, right after the visitors had tied the game at 7. That gaffe was mitigated when the similarly error prone ‘Canes gave it right back on a fumbled lateral pass.1

It happened again on the Cards first drive after intermission. Miami scored a FG, cutting its deficit to a digit.

On the plus side, Louisville’s second possession of the night was a thing of beauty. After the 12 play, 93 yard, 5:55 masterpiece, the Cards led 7-0. Dominique Brown was steady, if not spectacular. So too, Will Gardner, who completed all five of his tosses, including the TD strike to frosh TE Charles Standberry.

So good was the O line during that possession, I double checked to make sure I’d spell coach Chris Klenakis name correctly when giving him credit.2

Another U of L 1st half drive, its 5th of the game, ended when Michaelee Harris dropped a perfectly tossed 3d & 4 pass after a  beautifully run route, forcing the Cards to punt. Earlier in the drive, Petrino proved he’s still a no guts no glory kind of coach, going for it on 4th & 1 at the Cardinals own 22.

Louisville’s third drive of the second half was Primo Petrino.

Six plays. 51 yards. 2:32 clock time. Open receivers. Fifteen yard Dominique Brown scamper for the TD.

* * * * *

In his first start, Will Gardner was effective. 20/28 for 206 yards. No picks. He wasn’t daunted by the 4 sacks he suffered, including two where he turned it over to the visitors.

Eight Cardinals had a reception, led by Gerald Christian with 6, Eli Rogers with 5 and James Quick with 3.

Dominique Brown was the proverbial workhorse. 33 carries for 143 yards.

Still an inelegant rusher, who tends to dance laterally more than he should, he was a stalwart soldier. He does need help. Badly. Michael Dyer get healthy. LJ Scott or Brandon Radcliffe or Corvin Lamb fight your way into the rotation.

The offensive line, always a worry, has room for improvement.

* * * * *

I thought Todd Grantham’s defense played a really strong game.

After bending, it stiffened with its backs to the wall, holding the Hurricanes to a FG on a drive midway in the 2d Q.3

The defense held Miami to 15 yards of total O in the pivotal 3d Q.

It even deprived the visitors of an apparent feel good gimme on the last play of the game, when Gerod Holliman intercepted Brad Kaaya’s throw as time expired.

James Sample, who also had a pick, Keith Kelsey, who was robbed of a score after a fumble recovery, and James Burgess were especially strong. Sheldon Rankins and Deiontrez Mount registered sacks. Seven different black clad defenders tallied tackles for a loss.

* * * * *

That said, the best defender on the field, the best player on the field, was Denzel Perryman. The Hurricane MLB is a beast. 12 tackles, including three for losses and a sack.

He was everywhere when U of L had the ball.

* * * * *

The biggest play of the game came on a failed Miami drive, after Louisville increased its lead to 24-13 on John Wallace FG at the beginning of the final quarter.

Duke Johnson, a great rusher, went for 11 then 21 yards on sweeps to the right.

Then Johnson got behind the Cardinal secondary, grabbed a Kaaya bomb, and was in the end zone but stumbled right before crossing the goal line. First and goal at the  Louisville 2.

But, much to the relief of the Cards, their fans everywhere, and the Great Cardinal in the Sky, Hurricane RG Danny Isidora had meandered too far down field. The play was called back. Instead of 1st and goal at the 2, Miami had it 1st and 15 at Louisville’s 44.

Big difference.

U of L stiffened, getting the ball back on downs.

Ball game.

* * * * *

Throwout the throwback.

I love card sections as much as the next guy. It’s so 50s College Game of the Week with Lindsey Nelson (or perhaps Chris Schenkel) doing play by play.

It’s kind of neat to look at. Unless, of course, you can’t because you’re seated in the sections that get an instruction manual with your ticket, and a two minute lecture from Sean Moth on exactly what you’re supposed to do, so ESPN can come back live to your work after the commercial break.

So, “PROUD TO BE ACC” and “Louisville First Cards Forever” it was along the west side of the stadium during the break between the 1st and 2d quarters.

Buuuuuuuut, while our attention was being diverted, play commenced and Miami completed a 31 yard pass to the Cardinal 2, and knotted the game at 7 on the next play.

So, yes, the card section was nice. Don’t do it twice.

* * * * *

The Howard Schnellenberger Kroger Book Signing Tour landed at Papa J’s for the game.4

The Schnell was in the press box during part of the pregame. And, while everyone properly stopped what they were doing during the national anthem, the former U of L/ former Miami coach continued his conversation undaunted as ever.

* * * * *

That fans choose the song they’re going to play during the timeout thing was a set up.

Marty Robbins “White Sportcoat and Pink Carnation” and The Cyrkle’s “Red Rubber Ball” were defeated — without an apparent vote it appeared — by AC/DC’s “Back in Black”

Geez, how did that happen?

* * * * *

31-13. It’s a good start to the season.

Next week is like the old days. Murray State comes to town for one of its big paydays and periodic beatdowns.

— Seedy K

5 thoughts on “Louisville Card File: Miami (Fla)

  1. Defensive front 7 impressive; jury out on the CB’s and S’s…. looked like too many open Cane receivers that fortunately the young Miami qb didn’t have time to find.

  2. Perryman played well; but I doubt he played better than our #13, J.Burgess. (Haven’t watched the tape yet….LOL).

    Yes, he had more tackles, but he also had a lot more chances. Burgess has a burst to get off blocks and is a sure, hard hitting tackler. He also had to defend against Duke Johnson, who (no disrespect to Dom Brown) is a sure fire NFL player absent significant injury.

    I was also impressed by Sample and the poise displayed by CJG who had plenty of chances to mouth off and get a flag but was a lot better focused than at the Bowl Game. Maybe somebody let him know that “woofing” will not improve your draft status. Was also impressed with the DL and of course the Mauldin/Mount Monsters. Kelsey played well too and was robbed of his first TD.

    Not a bad start at all, but of course, listening to my Cayut fan friends, UT Martin would have romped the U and the Blew would have beaten them much worse than we did….

    I suspect we will lose a lot of talent to the NFL after this year. at least 6 guys will go early in my opinion: Parker, Gaines, Christian, JBrown, JSmith, and Lozo. Others have a shot to go and stick: JMiller, Mount, Floyd, Dyer (if he can get healthy) and Dom Brown if teams start drafting RB’s again.

    Afraid next year may be a reload year for us and not so pretty…..

  3. Time was and in our adult lifetime that Murray State was no gimme. I remember in the eighties a back named Billy Byrd took off with about a minute left in the game and Murray won. Times have changed to be sure. At least the money stays in state when the Cards play this weekend. If UK or U of L schedules a game like this it needs to be instate and not some school that is a cow college in Tennessee

  4. Agree with you, Seedy, on the JGJ response!
    I don’t think the “running up the score” talk is a topic worth discussing. Down 11 points with 1:49 on the clock, I fully expected Miami to call timeout. And I was totally on board with scoring at that time to indeed put the game out of reach.

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