Louisville CardFile: Notre Dame

“If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.”

So heartened am I by the University of Louisville Cardinals’ energy and effort against a truly good Notre Dame team, I’m in touch with my inner Don Meredith.

Before contemplating the reality of this opening 35-17 setback, allow me a bit of fantasy.

With just under three minutes to play before halftime, the score is knotted at 14-14, and it is not a fluke. The Cards had taken a hit on the Irish’s opening drive, but fight back and compete toe to toe.

U of L forces another ND three and out, and has the ball on its own 20, with the opportunity to run out the clock and thereby go into halftime even, or be even more emboldened with a score.

Instead, there is that comedic, decimating sequence of fumble, fumble, fumble, resulting in an Irish go ahead TD.

What if U of L heads to the locker room even at 14-14 . . .

The Cards get the ball to open the second half. And proceed to drive toward the goal line methodically. Screen pass to Tutu Atwell for 16. Javian Hawkins up the middle for 5. Hawkins to the right for 6. Hawkins to the left for 7.

On 3d &2 at Notre Dame’s 40, Hassan Hall for 16 up the middle. Then fumble.

What if U of L had taken a 21-14 lead after the opening drive after halftime . . .

 * * * * *

Truth: Even if those scenarios had played out, Notre Dame — Bigger, stronger, deeper, better — would have prevailed.

Which in no way diminishes what a different football team Scott Satterfield and staff put on the field, compared with last year’s implosion.

The Cardinals outrushed the Fighting Irish. 299 total yards vs. 248 for the visitors. Even after subtracting lost yardage for a net figure, the Cards prevailed, despite 50 yards of losses. 249 yards to 230. The Cards averaged 5.3 ypc, just .2 less than ND.

Let us now cherish zone blocking.

Let us now tip our ballcaps to Mekhi Becton, Caleb Chandler, T.J. McCoy, Robbie Bell, Tyler Haycraft, Jean-Luc Childs, Renato Brown, and Cole Bentley.

Beleaguered for any number of seasons now, the Offensive Line, with new schemes and fortitude, more than held its own, despite being undermanned. Hawkins: “I mean all I did was hit the holes. Everyone showed up tonight.”

Hawkins ran for 122, Hall for 69, Pass for 67.

 * * * * *

Louisville stayed competitive despite a frankly schizophrenic game from QB Jawon Pass.

Those fumbles were killers. But he had some really nice gains on keepers and the option.

Satterfield: “I think in the running game he did a really good job.”

His passing was inconsistent. He dropped a dime on Tutu in the endzone, that Atwell bobbled. He threw into coverage, underthrew, and overthrew.

Satterfield: “We got some guys on the outside who are good players. Tutu, Fitz, and Seth, we have to get those guys the ball.”

Pass seemed to always be looking for Atwell. Is that his tendency, or did the other receivers simply have trouble getting open.

Satterfield: “We got to get free.”

 * * * * *

It’s always going to be a fight for the Cardinals, until the new regime can get more talented bodies on the squad.

During that 14-14 1st, when U of L took a hit on the opening drive and punched back immediately, the Cards were stalwart. No penalties. No sacks allowed. More time of possession.

The situation deteriorated, because the subs Notre Dame brought in were simply better, more skilled. Exhaustion tells.

 * * * * *

Bottom line for me: It was just a damn pleasure to see the Louisville Cardinals compete for the full sixty.

That’s a low bar for sure, but that’s the reality for the time being.

Louisville will get better.

As a buddy shared at halftime, “Louisville’s got a football coach!”

— Seedy K

7 thoughts on “Louisville CardFile: Notre Dame

  1. With the next three games being EKU, WKU, and Willie Taggart’s train wreck at Florida State, there is a good chance that this team will be 3-1 going into the Boston College game on October 5. Regardless, on October 5 I plan to celebrate my 55th birthday by making the 120 mile trek from my home in Fairfield, Ohio to Cardinal Stadium for the game. I have been a Cards fan since 1975, and have never felt so good after a loss than I do today. Seedy, you are correct-last season’s debacle set the bar very low. But with Satterfield, hope has returned. The Cards have gotten up off the mat.

  2. I hope you are correct that ND is a good football team. But for the turnovers they capitalized on, I didn’t think they were all that. Bigger Stronger perhaps, but definitely not faster than my Cards.

    I suspect they will win 9 or maybe 10 games, but I don’t see them making the playoffs or staying in the top 10.

    My biggest fear after last night is that our lack of size will catch up with us and the injury bug will send us to the losing record infirmary.

    Puma, I fear, is Puma. Decent player, but his lack of something intangible will always leave him reaching for the bar without ever putting his hands on it. I also fear that MCunningham will not be the answer. His pop-gun arm probably won’t be able to stretch the defenses to the point where we need to really open up our running game. Freshman QB anyone?

    At least there is some foundation for hope, now and in the future. Anyone else glad Purdue out-bid us for Brohm yet?

    1. I was thinking the same thing about Brohm. Purdue has tanked in the opener two years in a row against a non-Power 5 team.

  3. The first words out of my pal Badger Billy’s mouth last night at halftime were, “Anybody lamenting that we didn’t get Brohm needs to forget it.” I’ve been of that opinion from the moment we started to court him. I hope he succeeds at Purdue, but he best get some defensive coaches in there.

  4. Like everyone else I was more than pleased with the effort and progress. We covered, held our own against a (supposedly) top 10 team and ran the ball well against a top 5 D line. But we’re going to need a passing game and we don’t have one. To Satterfield’s comment, the guys are getting open. Pass just holds the ball too long, the defender recovers and the attempt is broken up. He needs to get the ball out faster. The accuracy is another issue altogether. But, man, we got ourselves a football coach and we’ve got our pride back. Go Cards!

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