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 rather large egg last week at Syracuse. In his press conference on Sept. 6, he expressed disappointment with how the team played, taking ownership for the downfall himself.
He made quite the statement going into Orlando and handing UCF a loss in a tough environment, their third in the past 34 home games.
The Cardinal’s 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. Marching down the mouth of Bryan Brown’s defense, tying the game up 7-7.
However, after that first drive, the defense stepped up and only allowed one more touchdown for 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, only 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 of those 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 games 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 Still Have
Lastly, two questions we still have going forward with this team and staff.
Is Scott Satterfield here to stay?
The narrative of whether Scott Satterfield is going to hold onto his job continues to be the most talked about storyline for this team.
With a win coming out of Orlando, Satterfield’s seat cools down a little bit. However, the Knights were only a couple of plays away from scoring a touchdown, which would’ve made things much more interesting in those last minutes. Last year’s UCF thriller was capped off by freshman linebacker Jaylin Alderman, who picked off a pass and took it 66 yards for a touchdown.
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, Bryan Brown and the defense are going to have to figure out how to slow offenses down in the run game. To the defensive’s credit, the Cards did record four sacks last night while holding the Knights scoreless in the second half.
It was announced before the game that Arizona State transfer Jermayne Lole will miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury.
The Cards have another short week, with ACC rival Florida State coming to town Friday.
This game will likely be the next major indicator of 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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