Yesterday afternoon, while running errands before the game, the radio played Albert King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign.”
You know, with the lyrics, “If it wasn’t for bad luck/ I wouldn’t have no luck at all.”
I should have realized, despite Cardinal improvements, a rabid Thursday crowd, thirsting for a 2002 redux, that the better team, winner of more than a score straight games, was destined to prevail.
Not that the Seminoles lucked into victory, mind you, they won it fair and square. They are the better team. But they also had their mojo working.
It should have been apparent what was going to happen when the clock struck All Hallow’s Eve, when the visitors recovered that fumble in the end zone for a TD, getting them off the schneid and pulling within 14, with only 33 ticks left on the clock before halftime.1
Then there was that black-cat crossing the path, walking under the ladder, first play from scrimmage after the break, Gerod Hollimon loses a fumble while trying for too much of a return, after intercepting Winston toss.2
While I don’t believe the outcome of the game literally turned on those two misfortunes, I believe there was a palpable emotional shift, and do believe the breaks for the Seminoles signified foreboding.
“I ain’t lyin’/ If it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have no kind-a luck.”3
* * * * *
For me, the big question in the aftermath of Louisville’s third L of the campaign, its third setback in an eminently winnable contest, is the take on the defense.
Last night, it gave up 574 total yards. And scoring plays of 68, 40, 47, 38 and 35 yards, both by land and air.
Louisville D: Exhausted?
Louisville D: Exposed?
I’m inclined to believe both are applicable, perhaps in equal measure, more or less. To, you know, sort of equivocate.
Even though Louisville actually had the ball offensively slightly more than the winners, here’s how long it took Florida State to score, when it had the ball.
1:36. 1:31. 2:16. :48. :09. :26.
Grantham’s guys were gasping for air at the end of the opening half, and most of the second half when Infamous Jameis got rollin’. Blown coverages. Bad pursuit angles. Missed tackles.
* * * * *
Louisville’s offense is obviously improving. It tallied 31 against the defending, and still undefeated, national champs. Plus it left points on the field on the first drive of the game.
Will Gardner is improving. Yet he still missed some throws that might have changed the outcome.
The O Line was better than stellar on several Cardinal scoring drives. Best performance of the year, those. Especially that first Cardinal TD drive. They only surrendered two sacks.
But when it really, really, really mattered, the big uglies didn’t git ‘er done.
Third down conversions: 1/11.
Fourth down conversions: 0/2.4
Devon Parker is obviously still only 75%. Had he been at, say, 90% full capacity, he would have scored on the game’s first play. One other time, he grabbed a long ball and couldn’t distance himself from the defender, as he would have at full speed.
Eight catches for 214. At three quarters speed. Not bad.
Cardinal fans are now being treated to SEC quality at running back. Michael Dyer is as good as has ever worn red & black.5 He runs strong. He runs straight. He runs smart. He is elusive.
28 carries. 134 net yards. Three TDs.
It’s nice to see Kai De La Cruz back in the mix. 4 catches.
* * * * *
Call Jamies Winston what you will.
Felon. Misdemeanant. Shoplifter. Sexual predator. Stupid. Spoiled.
But, remember, also call him this: An incredible college football quarterback.
Bottom line is the guy is 21-0 as a starter for the Seminoles.
* * * * *
Here’s a descriptor I haven’t thought of for a long while.
Meaning a “stupid or foolish person.”
But I did think of it after James Quick yet again — not once but twice — did foolish, stupid stuff on punt returns. Apparently his coaches thought so too. After the second bit of idiocy, Quick was replaced in that role.
* * * * *
One of the most heartening signs of the game was U of L’s focus and diligence.
Only three penalties for 14 yards. The Delay of Game on the Cards’ 6th drive of the opening half was not fatal. They scored a couple plays later for a surprising three TD advantage.
However, Jamon Brown’s False Start on a 2d & 8 at the Louisville 14, with the Cards still ahead 31-28 with about 5:00 to play, was, uh, not good.
* * * * *
Bottom line, as in its two previous setbacks, Louisville had the ball late with a legit opportunity to close the deal. But didn’t.
Next Saturday’s game against Boston College will reveal how we remember this U of L team, the first of Petrino Era II? After last night’s disappointing L to a better team, will this version of the Cardinals buckle up or give it up?
— Seedy K