Cards Run Away from Syracuse; Win 62-28
Friday night's game started to look like it was going to be another Lamar Jackson highlight reel. And it was, except for when it wasn't. The Cardinals started off as hot as you could imagine. The offense opened the game with a 72 yard touchdown pass to James Quick on the first play from scrimmage. Amazingly, in a game in which Lamar Jackson would throw for 411 yards, this would be his only touchdown pass of the night. The early rout continued as, in the first three-plus minutes, Louisville's defense had held Syracuse to two three-and-outs and the offense had scored three touchdowns on five plays from scrimmage.
Of course, no one ever really thought that a game like that could be sustainable. Sure enough, Syracuse was finally able to get a handle on things, slow down the Louisville offense, and pick up a touchdown of their own. Later, up 28-7 and driving, Louisville looked primed to increase their lead. Then it happened. The early candidate for play of the season. The play that was immediately tabbed an SC Top Ten Nominee. Lamar's potential "Heisman Moment."
Usually, when you see a player go airborne like that, you applaud his athleticism and his ability to avoid a big hit, and then you see him tumble to the ground out of bounds or get wrapped up by a waiting defender. Not Action Jackson. Lamar regained his feet, steadied himself, and walked into the end zone for his fourth rushing touchdown of the night. All told, Lamar would finish with an ACC record 610 total yards and five touchdowns. He finished one yard shy of becoming the only player in FBS history to pass for 400 yards and rush for 200 yards in a single game. While the stats are unclear, it appears as though he will, however, be able to call himself the only player to pass for 400 yards and rush for 175 in a single game. It was a stunning performance, and it could have been made even better if not for countless drops made by the receiving corps. Seriously, the Cards had at least 8 drops as a team. One drive was a three-and-out consisting of three straight drops. Regardless, this performance will have detractors of Lamar's week one performance eating their words a bit.
I tweeted earlier yesterday that Syracuse had the ability to make me feel simultaneously very confident and very nervous about an opponent. Last night, I was reminded why. After imposing their will in the first quarter, the Cards hit a few bumps in the road with breakdowns in defensive communication, dropped balls, turnovers, and overall meh-ness, which allowed Syracuse to head into the locker room with all of the momentum. The Orange had held Lamar mostly quiet in the second quarter and had scored twice in the last five minutes of the half to make it a 14 point game. Fortunately, Louisville was able to get back on track, and Syracuse never got closer than 14. Trying to run the clock out late in the game, Bobby tried to show mercy and decided to run the ball. Unfortunately for them, Syracuse's defense picked a bad time to decide to be Swiss cheese, resulting in a final score of 62-28.
Louisville will have an extended week to prepare for their first big boy game of the season. Florida State comes to town next week at noon, and many people are already talking about a rare, noon College Gameday experience. There are a lot of kinks to work out, most important of which I would say is the turnover battle. The Cards coughed the ball up a lot last night. In addition to the drops, Louisville's receivers were almost the sole culprits of giving the ball away. That has to change before next week. The turnover battle is a two-way street though. Louisville has proven that they have an aggressive and talented defense, but in order to get the ball into the high octane offense's hands, it takes more than just forced punts. Louisville needs to force turnovers to win the field position battle in some of these bigger games if they want to prove they can hang tough.
It'll be an exciting week in The Ville as we prepare for one of the biggest home matchups this program has seen in quite awhile. I'll be one of many thousands in the stands, sporting whatever color the team decides is best, and losing my voice. Here's hoping we come away with a win.
Field Hockey Keeps Rolling
The 8th ranked field hockey team kept their hot start going yesterday with a 8-0 domination of the overmatched Chippewas. The Cards were productive throughout the game, posting twin 4 goal halves.
Freshman Minout Mink led the way in this one, tallying a hat trick and an assist. Mink's first goal extended her goal scoring streak to five straight games. The seniors were productive, as well, with Lotta Kahlert scoring her fifth goal of the young season and Lizzie Gittens and Shannon Sloss scoring. The final two goals came within a minute of each other as freshmen Bethany Russ and Whena Munn added to the lead.
It was a historical day for the Cards, as they pushed their record to 5-0, the program's best start since it opened the season 5-0 in 1980. Mink's hat trick was also the first for the Cards since 2010. The Cards look to extend that program best start as they stay in the "mitten" state to take on Michigan State Sunday at 2PM. The Spartans bring a 4-1 record to the field and look to be a bigger challenge than Central Michigan (1-4).
Volleyball Woes Continue; Fall to Minnesota
The Cards headed to UNC for the ACC/B1G challenge this weekend and ran into a buzzsaw in #5 Minnesota. Louisville had a rough time, hitting only .038 and never scoring more than 15 points/set in the sweep. The Cards' 27 kills were nearly matched by their 23 errors and both were vastly different than Minnesota's 42 kills and only 6 errors. Coach Anne Kordes says that she believes the team passed well, but couldn't make the best of those passes. That may be be the biggest thing to take away from this one, as the wide-netters need to put this one in the rearview mirror quickly. The Cards face #2 Wisconsin today and will hope to come away with more than a moral victory.
College Soccer Overtime is Still Stupid. Women fall 1-0
The women's iteration of the Cardinal XI took the field last night and dominated Ball State everywhere but the score line. The Cards (Louisville's version) led the shot count 23-4, but were defeated on a goal by Ball State with fewer than 3 minutes remaining in the second overtime period. Credit must be given where it is due, as Ball State's keeper, Alyssa Heintschel, finished the game with 11 saves, but it is extremely frustrating to not be able to find the back of the net when you have so many opportunities.
If you've never heard me complain about it before, I hate collegiate soccer's overtime rules. In fact, I kind of hate that the overtime exists in the first place. Here's the crash course for the uninitiated: If the teams are tied after the 90 minute regular time period, the game will enter the overtime stage. The overtime stage consists of 2 (if necessary) ten minute halves. The overtime periods are golden goal (also known as sudden victory or sudden death), which means that if either team scores, the game is over. The reason that I find this so frustrating is that if neither team scores, the game will end in a draw. Why play overtime if you can still draw? Why not just draw at the end of regular time? If you can end in a draw, then there shouldn't be golden goal. A team should get the chance to answer an overtime goal. I suppose that the powers that be would prefer to have more results, since college regular seasons aren't as long as professional regular seasons and postseason structure is different. In that case, why not play until there is a winner? If no one scores in extra time, add another overtime period, or have a shootout! I could go on about this for quite some time, but I'll give it a rest for now.
The loss drops the Cards' record to 4-2-1 on the season, still a very good start. Louisville wraps up its seemingly infinite home stand this Sunday at 5PM against Belmont. Come cheer on a good Cardinal squad before they hit the road and begin ACC play. For more on the game, check out Paulie's interview with (a frustrated) Coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes after last night's heartbreaker.
Men Bounce Back; Win 2-0
The men's soccer team opened their ACC season with a road win over Pittsburgh. The win was important for a multitude of reasons, including the fact that it was the first game following a frustrating road loss to rival Kentucky. Junior Mohamed Thiaw picked up the Cardinal goal in this one, after Pittsburgh gave away an own goal earlier in the game. Louisville appears to be on their way to becoming the force that we are used to seeing under coach Ken Lolla, but it will take a few more strong showings to cement that idea. The win brings the Cards to 3-1-1 on the season, and they'll be back in Lynn Stadium this Tuesday at 7:30 to put that record on the line against Xavier.
Almost Finished, I Promise
Finally (I'm sure you're ready for me to shut up), you can catch the wild Cardinal Couple bunch on the radio from 11-12 this morning on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour on 100.9 WCHQ Crescent Hill Radio. We should have plenty of content to last the hour, but if not, we're back in the studio this week so we can just play random songs and noises to fill the air. If you can't tune in on your radio dial, you can stream it online at this link (click here). You can also check out old editions of the show by clicking the button over on the side bar.
If I missed anything (and Paul doesn't clean it up when he vultures my article after posting), feel free to sound off in the comments. If you don't think I'll pay attention to the comments (I try!), feel free to sound off on me on Twitter. If you're still with me at this point, I thank you for your fortitude, and I ask you to sign my petition to the athletic department to not schedule five events for the night I'm scheduled to write.
Until next time, Go Cards!