Birds Best Bulls, as Boston-bound Battle Brews Wednesday, Sep 28 2022 

By Spencer Laws

Louisville football took care of business Saturday afternoon to close out the main part of their non-conference schedule.

Family Fun for All

In what head coach Scott Satterfield described in his Sept. 27th press conference as “the most complete game yet,” U of L picked up a much-needed 41-3 win against the University of South Florida at home on “Parent’s Weekend”. 

5th-year senior Malik Cunningham had another outstanding game against the Bulls, recording 186 yards on 14-22 passing attempts with a touchdown. Second-string junior Brock Domann also saw playing time on Saturday, as he put up 73 yards on 5-8 passing attempts. 

11 wide receivers caught passes on Saturday as the 2 quarterbacks were able to spread the ball all across the field. 

The more impressive part of game Malik’s game was yet again on the ground, as he ended up rushing for 113 yards on 9 carries with 3 touchdowns. 6 other players saw touches on the ground Saturday, giving some younger players valued experience for the future.

Averaging 6.2 yards per carry while recording 4 touchdowns on the ground, the ground game followed upon the success of the passing game, by putting up 283 yards on 46 attempts.  The defense did their part on Saturday as well, as they forced 3 turnovers while allowing only 158 yards and a field goal. 

The Next Step

If Satterfield and company really want to make a run at a post-season bowl game, they need to pull out some results over the next two weeks on the road to solidify any chance. The Cardinals head into their main slate of ACC play now, and start by traveling to Boston on Saturday to face off with the Eagles. 

The Cards come into Saturday as heavy favorites with some analysts chalking this up as a Louisville win. 

Following the trip to Boston, the team takes a visit to Charlottesville, Virginia to battle with UVA; another game that, if Louisville shows up and plays well, should be able to travel home with a win. 

This would mark the halfway point in the season for Satterfield and the team, who are hoping they can enter the second half of the season with a 4-2 record. 

Starting to See Success

Results like these are very possible if the Cardinals show up in the next two weeks. 

There are still a few lingering issues – limiting the pre-snap penalties on all sides of the ball, limiting the opposing offense’s ability to run the ball while not missing tackles in the open field, and getting Malik more and more comfortable in the passing game. He only has 2 passing touchdowns to this point, while giving away 3 interceptions. 

If the Cards can limit these mistakes they will have a real possibility to be 2 wins away from bowl game talk with 6 games left in the season. 

File Photo // GoCards.com //

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Louisville Football Bounces back at the Bounce House Saturday, Sep 10 2022 

By: Spencer Laws

Head coach Scott Satterfield took a lot of pressure this week from the media, knowing that he and his team laid a pretty large egg last week at Syracuse. 

He said in his press conference Sept. 6, he was very disappointed with how the team played. On top of that, he took a lot of ownership for the downfall himself.

He made a substantial statement going into Orlando and handed UCF a loss in a tough environment after last week’s performance. 

The Bounce

The Cardinal offense came out firing on all cylinders, as they put up a 10-play 75-yard drive. This was finished off by a Tiyon Evans 7-yard run for a touchdown, to quiet down the crowd in the ‘Bounce House.’

The other side of the ball was another story. The defense seemed to pick up where it let off last week in Syracuse. 

Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee and the UCF offense marched right back down the field with a 10-play 80-yard drive. They ran it down Bryan Brown’s defense mouth to tie the game back up at 7. 

However, after that first drive the defense stepped up and only allowed one more touchdown the rest of the game. 

The defense proved they can play, it’s only a matter of when they will show up. 

Malik Cunningham and the offense struggled in their own right last week, inly being able to reach the end zone once.

They came out this week and showed they can move the ball on all sides of the offense. 

Five different players ran the ball, and the offense shelled the ball out to seven different receivers in the passing game.

Five out of the seven receivers that caught a pass had double-digit receiving yards.Tyler Hudson led all receivers with three catches and 67 yards. He was followed by Amari Huggins-Bruce with two catches and 42 yards. 

Cunningham  finished with 195 yards passing, completing 14 of 29 attempts. Not a fantastic stat line by Malik’s standards, but he was able to be very dangerous in the run game. 

Cunningham was the Cards leading rusher with 121 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. With that touchdown, he moved into 3rd all time in rushing touchdowns for Louisville. He trails only Lenny Lyles and Lamar Jackson. 

Cunningham was followed by Tiyon Evans, who had 76 yards on 19 attempts and a touchdown.

Evans continues to show that he is a very reliable back who can run between the tackle and make defenders miss in the flats. 

Questions We Have

Lastly, two questions we still have going forward with this team and staff.

Is Scott Satterfield here to stay? 

The narrative of Scott Satterfield and is he going to hold onto his job continues to be the most talked about storyline from this team. 

Satterfield cools his seat down a little, with a win coming out of Orlando. However, the Knights were only a couple plays away from scoring a touchdown that would’ve made things a lot more interesting in those last final minutes. 

Can Bryan Brown and the defense put together a full game? 

We see that the defense has struggled so far with tackling and stopping the run. UCF tapped into that weakness early, as they ran the wildcat offense in the red-zone for both of their touchdowns in the first half. 

To be relevant in the ACC, the defense and Bryan Brown are going to have to figure out how to slow offenses down in the run game. 

It was announced before the game that Arizona State Transfer Jermayne Lole will miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury.  

To the defensive’s credit, the Cards did record four sacks last night while holding the Knights scoreless in the second half. 

Going Forward

The Cards have another short week, with ACC rival Florida State coming to town Friday. 

This game will foretell where this team is going this year. Did we see a Louisville football team that is going to compete and fight hard? Or is inconsistency going to rule Scott Satterfield and the Cards?

Card Nation has been brought back,  just in time to pack Cardinal Stadium Friday night for the home opener.

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Louisville football collapses to Syracuse in season opener Wednesday, Sep 7 2022 

By Spencer Laws

It was Saturday, October 1st, 2016. The Louisville football team was in Clemson, South Carolina playing one of the biggest games in Louisville football history. Senior wide receiver and hometown kid James Quick had a chance to extend the drive and put the Cardinals in a goal-line scenario to win the game. 

Quick stepped out of bounds just one yard short of the first down and the Cardinals lost the game.

A lot of fans remember the trajectory the team was headed that year.  

Since this play, it seems the Cardinals have fallen, and have fallen drastically; the Cardinals have put up a record of 28-35. They are 1-4 in bowl games since then, and also 1-4 versus in-state rival Kentucky.  

Saturday night’s performance versus Syracuse showed everyone that this season is going to likely run parallel to the last 5 seasons if this team’s production from Saturday is the standard set. The optimism was high for fans coming into this season, as major contributors from last year’s success returned, on top of the transfers that joined the team this season.

A lot of Cardinals fans began to point the finger and look at the job that is being done by their head coach and the performance their football team is doing weekly. 

Where it Went Wrong

The downfall of the Cardinals comes in a lot of areas, starting off with play calling. Satterfield’s commitment to the run game put the Cards in a lot of long-distance situations. This resulted in a lot of tough situations for quarterback Malik Cunningham, who converted only 5-11 times on 3rd down, and 0-2 times on 4th down. 

Averaging 4.4 yards per rush attempt, the team recorded a total of 137 yards on the ground in 31 attempts and a fumble. In the air, Cunningham threw for 197 yards, averaging 8.6 yards per completion on 17-23 attempts with two interceptions. 

Overall, the offense was only able to reach the end-zone once. Running back Tiyon Evans was able to break free for a 36-yard run resulting in a touchdown. He’s one of the brighter spots early on for this team. 

In the meantime, the defense was not much better, as the tackling display was a huge reason for the undoing we watched. Co-defensive coordinator Bryan Brown stated in his press conference on Tuesday that Syracuse was “a little hungrier than” the Cards. 

The defense was scrambling all around the rushing attack of the Orange offense. Syracuse’s offense put up 449 total yards, 208 of those yards on the ground, and 241 in the air. In addition to the yardage destruction, the defense allowed 4 touchdowns and a field goal while forcing 0 turnovers. Interestingly, Syracuse’s 18 penalties are the second most by an opponent since Wichita State’s 19 in 1963.

Looking Forward to This Friday

The Cards turn around from Saturday night with a short week and a trip to Orlando, Florida on Friday to face a very physical Central Florida football team, coached by Gus Malzahn. Malzahn is the former Auburn, helping lead the Tigers to a National Championship back in 2010. 

UCF has been nearly untouchable at home over recent years. Bestowing a remarkable 31-2 record since 2017, the Cardinal defense faces a Central Florida offense led by quarterback John Rhys Plumlee on Friday. Head coach Scott Satterfield stated, “Plumlee may be the fastest QB we’ve ever played against.” Furthermore, Plumlee is a better running quarterback than Syracuse’s Garrett Shrader. Shrader ran 16 times for 94 yards while reaching the in-zone once on the ground. 

This is the third time in the four years of Satterfield’s tenure that Louisville has lost its season opener. One can only hope that the team bounces back and can iron out all the kinks before their home opener on the 16th. 

Photo Courtesy // GoCards.com //

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Cunningham Excited to Lead Offense in 2021 Wednesday, Feb 24 2021 

By Tyler Nunez–

There is little question who will manage the University of Louisville football team’s offense this year.

Malik Cunningham has 33 games at the quarterback position under his belt, and last year he showed a high ceiling for potential as one of the ACC’s most effective duel-threat passers.

Throwing for 2,617 yards on a 64.1 percent clip in addition to running for 609 yards and seven touchdowns, Cunningham served as the lifeblood of the Cardinals’ offense in 2020.

His biggest weakness last season was turning the ball over, but the redshirt junior is a playmaker.

“We know what Malik Cunningham can do with his feet, and when he’s on the edge making plays,” said newly-promoted quarterbacks coach Paul Thomas. “I think just the next step is continuing to develop his footwork, which in turn is going to make him a better passer, and just continuing studying defenses. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of certain defenses so you can attack those weaknesses in the pass game. So that, combined with working on footwork, that is going to be really big for him continuing to develop as a passer.”

For Cunningham himself, he recognizes his biggest weakness last season as his turnover vulnerability. He threw 12 interceptions last season, more than double what he threw in 2019.

In part, this was due to nearly doubling the number of passes he threw in total (304), but he said he feels that if he can limit turnovers he can help the Cardinals become a more dominant team in the conference.”

“I’ve been waking up every day telling myself I can’t turn the ball over,” Cunningham said. “I can’t go out there scared, and play not to turn the ball over, that’s how turnovers happen. But just not force anything, just trust in my O-line and receivers that they’re going to be where I needed to be. It’s my job to deliver on the ball, and that’s what I’ve been doing up to this point.”

As for how to limit those turnovers, Cunningham added that it should be as easy as trusting the offensive scheme, of which he as become immensely comfortable running, and trusting his teammates, especially those who share the backfield with him.

“If the defense is giving me a certain look… like, every play is not going to be a home run play,” Cunningham said. “So it’s good to find the next man open, and I just don’t want receiver thinking he’s going to get open when he’s not. Just finding the running back. The running back’s going to be my best friend.”

Behind Cunningham on the depth chart and pushing him to make those improvements is sophomore Evan Conley.

Conley saw action three games last season, completing 4 of 5 passes for 48 yards. As a freshman he tallied 613 passing yards and four touchdowns in seven games played.

“First of all, Evan Conley is an awesome kid,” Thomas said. “He’s a phenomenal leader, one of the best leaders we got on the team. He does everything you want out of a leader and especially out of a quarterback.

“He’s pushing Malik every single day. It’s a great competition between the two. They have a great relationship. They’re both great leaders for us, and Evan Conley does everything you want. He’s a great quarterback, as you saw in 2019. He made some great plays in some big time games and crucial situations. So we feel great about Evan with where he’s at, and he’s gonna keep pushing Malik to be the best quarterback he can be.”

The importance of the quarterback position is rarely understated, and that definitely won’t be the case for Louisville this season.
But this spring, the Cardinals can remain comfortable knowing that they have experience, talent, leadership and depth at the position going into 2021.

“They know the offense really well, and I think they’re both getting better,” Thomas said. “Trying to work on different things with both of them, and they’re working real hard. Doing a lot of extra things, doing a little couple things a little bit different. But overall, I’m seeing some improvement. They’re making the plays that needed to be made.”

Photo and Story Courtesy of GoCards

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