Louisville CardFile: Virginia Tech

The inevitable outcome of the Cardinals’ encounter with Virginia Tech rose like a Halloween ghost at the graveyard at 12:58, three hours and a couple ticks before kickoff.

Football SID Rocco Gasparro’s email to the media was short.

Not so sweet:

The following players are unavailable for today’s game against Virginia Tech:
DL Micah Bland
DL Ja’Darien Boykin
DL Malik Clark
DL Yaya Diaby
P Ryan Harwell
S Isaiah Hayes
DL Dayna Kinnaird
LB Monty Montgomery
DL Tabarius Peterson

Thus the COVID struck the Cardinals with terrible swift sword.

Louisville’s defense was thin enough, iffy enough, already.

Losing five defensive linemen. Losing playmaking linebacker Monty Montgomery. Losing safety Isaiah Hayes. Not to mention punter Ryan Howell, who had emerged out of a mediocre crop.

So, as game and gritty as the Big Play Cardinals proved to be, it was never going to happen.

It was Trick not Treat, an All Hallows Eve to forget.

 * * * * *

Despite a career passing yardage day from M Cunningham, which gave the Cards a meaningless 82 total yardage advantage, the Hokies established a dominant ground attack early, rushing to an unsurmountable 21-0 advantage.*

*Of MC’s three picks, only one was his fault. One caromed off Dez’s hands, bobbled about and fell into a Hokie’s lap. The other was a trying-to-make-a-play must throw on 4th down deep in the Red Zone.

Tech kept Louisville measured the entirety of the afternoon.

With the Cards fighting back, the visitors still scored every time they had the ball after intermission, but for that final last minute drive, when the game was essentially over.

 * * * * *

Javian Hawkins 90 yard score at the halftime buzzer was a thing of beauty.

It provided hope.

Smart Guy’s text at the break, “Hmmmmmm.”

My response, quoting Arizona State’s coach when he was in the pros, “That’s why they play the game.”

In the 2d half, Cunningham’s 82 yard TD strike to Dez on 3d & 10 was a beaut. But Louisville was still down 10, still unable to catch up with the Gobblers.

Maurice Burkley’s late tally underscored that U of L had no quit.

Hawkins later catch and score added an exclamation point to that truth.

But still . . .

 * * * * *

Credit where it’s due.

VT QB Hendon Hooker was 10/10 for 183 yards.

As good as Hawkins was on the ground (17/129), and the Cards in toto who rushed for 198, Tech was better.

Khalil Herbert gained 147 yards on 21 totes. But he had help, and Tech netted 283 over land.

 * * * * *

If there was one play for U of L that is a legit coulda woulda shoulda, it came with under 5:00 to play, and the Cardinals down six. They would have had VT in a 3d & Short situation, but a U of L defender committed a stupid post tackle unnecessary roughness.

No reason to mention his name.

Two plays later, Herbert ran up the gut untouched to put the game out of reach at 42-28 with only 3:23 left.

That Cunningham to Hawkins toss cut the disadvantage to the final margin.

  * * * * *

Next: Virginia. Maybe.

Who knows what the Virus has in store?

— c d kaplan


One thought on “Louisville CardFile: Virginia Tech

  1. Also, worthy of mention was the noticeable disparity in energy level pre kick off between Cards and VT. Can’t explain it but I pointed it out to my wife. Maybe the loss of so many weighed more heavy on Cards’ shoulders vis a vis Tech.

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