Louisville Card File: Syracuse

cardfootballOkay, everybody who predicted before the campaign started that the breakout Cardinal star this year would be Gerod Hollimon, raise your hand.

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

And, hey, you, yeah you, the one guy with his hand up, you over there in Schnitzelburg, you’re a liar, liar, pants on fire. I’ve got your ballot right here, and you named Michael Dyer. So, you didn’t even get the breakout standout at that position correct. At RB, it’s Brandon Radcliff, of course. But, more about him later.

Gerod Hollimon. Who knew?

Well, not you. Not me. Todd Grantham, maybe, after he arrived here. Safeties coach Greg Brown, perhaps.

Nothing about the sophomore’s stats from last year gave us a hint he’d be The Dude on D. Sixteen tackles in the 11 of the 13 Cardinal games in which he participated. No interceptions. As in zero. 0. None. Nada. Zilch.

If we look further back, his prep career was a harbinger. But, hey, who looked until this morning, the day after Hollimon snagged his nation leading 7th pick in the Carrier Dome?1

He was the fourth ranked safety prospect nationally in his recruiting class. Had 12 interceptions his senior year, and five were pick 6s. He tallied 25 TFLs as a DB.

Anyway, I have to mention Gerod Hollimon at the top. Because, despite U of L’s way deceptive record ( 5-1 overall,  3-1 in the ACC), there haven’t been a whole lot of bright spots so far this year.

And Gerod Hollimon’s star is by far burning the brightest.

* * * * *

How scintillating was this Friday night “battle?”

Let me tell you what I’ve had to deal with for the last 9 months or so.2

Last winter, I broke off a permanent crown in my mouth. At the gum line. Which meant extraction of the rest of the dead tooth. A bloody recovery. Additional stitches. Removal of stitches. Implant of cadaver bone. More trips to the other end of the county for each step of the process. The implant itself. Measurements for the crown, which needed to be recast when it didn’t fit the first time. Finally, about a month ago, I could start eating again on that side of my mouth.

Which laborious, sometimes painful, pain in the mouth procedure was like a day at Kentucky Kingdom with the grandkids, compared with last night’s W over Syracuse.

Talk about winning U.G.L.Y.? The Cardinals could get a patent.

It is arguably the least dominating three TD victory I’ve ever watched.

But you know what they say, “A win is a win.


* * * * *

For the second game in a row, Brandon Radcliff rushed for a hundred. 110 yards to be exact, on 23 carries.

That’s just short of 5 yards a jaunt.

The Miamian4 has seized his moment by the short and curlies. Carpe Diem Maximumumumum.

Dominique Brown showed up too. 41 yards on 11 rushes. Plus, as a member of the special teams crew, he made a great shoestring tackle on a Syracuse punt return right before halftime.

* * * * *

The grand performances of Radcliff and Hollimon notwithstanding, the MVP on the field for the Cards was Ben Lewis. Who, as we observed, was playing for the home Orange in their blue made-for-TV unis.

In the first quarter, Lewis, defended well by Terrell Floyd, couldn’t hold onto a TD pass. ‘Cuse settled for a FG and an early 3-0 lead.

During the home team’s opening drive after intermission, Lewis caught an out, then rumbled, bumbled and stumbled for 48 yards, setting up a 1st & Goal at the Cards’ one yard line. Well and good, But, on 2d & Goal from the U of L 19,5 Lewis, in his career-defining moment and more wide open than a husko gordo’s mouth when savoring one of Benny Impellizzeri’s sublime Original slices, dropped a sure TD in the endzone.

Again, Syracuse settled for three. (U of L’s D hasn’t surrendered a TD since September 13 in Charlottesville, 13 quarters back.)

* * * * *

Louisville’s O line play was, yet again — no other way to say it — woeful. Actually, awful most of the time is more apt.

Descriptors include: Clipping. Holding. False Starts. Holding. Hands to Face. Holding.

And they allowed Reggie Bonnafon to be sacked thrice. Including 3d down, drive ending breakdowns on U of L’s first possessions of each half.

I will be seriously surprised, if Bobby P doesn’t inject an infusion of juco offensive linemen before next season.

* * * * *

Kicking game kudos.

John Wallace nailed his career best FG, a 51 yarder.

And punter Ryan Johnson, early in the 2d quarter, nailed Syracuse deep deep deep in its own territory, with a kick downed on the 1/2 yard line. In a story too oft told this campaign, the play was nullified because the Cards were in an illegal formation.

Then Johnson did it again, on the redux, laying one down at the Orange 1 yard marker. On the second play after which, U of L tallied a deuce on its first safety of the evening.

Love kicking in those domes, do we?

* * * * *

Syracuse netted 59 yards on the ground.

If Todd Grantham’s D can continue this stalwart play against real football teams, it will be a good thing.

Keith Kelsey had nine tackles. Sheldon Rankins had 5. James Sample had another interception.

One would suppose, given U of L’s defensive success, and lack thereof recently on opening offensive possessions, that Bobby P would start deferring to the second half, when winning the coin toss.

* * * * *

Peripheral Matters:

Would have loved it if Bobby Petrino would have actually walked away from TV interview right before opening kickoff with sideline babblehead Niki Noto. He sure wanted to.

So, do we truly loathe the “What are you wearing, Jake from State Farm?” commercial?

Yes, enough already.

That said, Hans and Franz ragging on Aaron Rogers has not yet worn out its welcome.

Let’s hope it’s Clemson that rows, rows, rows its boat down the loser stream. You know, if there’s a stream in Death Valley, if you catch my drift.

— Seedy K

3 thoughts on “Louisville Card File: Syracuse

  1. Soon we will see if our pass defense is as good as we think. Our safeties sure appear to be, but last nite aside from the oops drop in the end zones we faced a qb who missed open receivers even more than our work-in-progress Reggie (who does seem to be progressing). True our D-line was more concerned with not letting the Cuse qb escape and run and daring him to have to throw, rather than regularly trying to pressure him, but tose blue clad Orange (???) were often open. Maybe only because of too much time to keep maneuvering. Time will tell as the “cupcake batter” of the season is gone. If the D sustains and is for real, and Reggie continues to grow and the emerging ground game makes defenses more concerned with plugging their holes instead of penetrating ours the outlook will brighten. Hard to believe we are one bonehead punt receiving blunder away from being undefeated. I guess we might seem a lot better on a Memorex substitute than the real thing

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