Game Analysis: Louisville v. Pittsburgh

Louisville once again found the spark it needed to remain undefeated and continues to display signs of improvement with each passing week. CardinalAuthority.com takes a look back at Louisville's 45-35 win at Pittsburgh on Saturday.

On Saturday at Pittsburgh, the offense reached the 40 point mark for the first time since Louisville defeated Rutgers 40-13 to become bowl eligible and close the 2010 regular season. The 45-35 win improved U of L to 6-0 making the Cardinals bowl eligible for the third straight year under head coach Charlie Strong.

Offense:

The Louisville offense, which accumulated 460 yards against Pitt, continues to keep a near 50/50 mix of run and pass, with both providing huge performances in Saturday's win.

Teddy Bridgewater threw for over 300 yards for the second this season, connected on 65% of his attempts without an interception and connected with nine different receivers. Sophomore DeVante Parker led all receivers with 153 yards on 4 catches.

Junior Senorise Perry led U of L in rushing for the fifth time this season, totaling 101 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. Jeremy Wright added an additional 61 yards and a touchdown. The pair have now combined for 1,009 rushing yards on the season.

While there were moments that U of L's offense seemed to sputter due to it's own faults, they were fewer and the Cardinals enjoyed it's most consistent performance through six games. The Cardinals offense displayed it's ability to strike quickly, as well as pound out lengthy, time consuming scoring drives. The 75-yard touchdown pass to Parker to open the second half not only put the Cardinals back in front on the scoreboard, but it also set the stage for a dominating third quarter that saw U of L change a 21-17 deficit into a 38-21 advantage.

"Our offense has been explosive all year long," head coach Charlie Strong said. "We've been able to throw the deep ball. Today, we were able to connect on those throws."

Defense

The Cardinals defensive front had it's best outing of the season, sacking Pitt's Tino Sunseri five times.

True freshman linebacker Keith Brown made his first career start and responded by leading the team with 12 tackles. Junior safety Calvin Pryor, who was recently tabbed as a mid-season 4th team All-American by Phil Steele, had another solid outing with 8 stops.

After giving up long scoring drives in the first half, the U of L defense put together an excellent performance in the third quarter that helped fuel the Cardinals scoring explosion. While still not performing at the expected level, this U of L defense does continue to make the big plays when needed and is a big reason for the program's undefeated start.

Special Teams

The special teams unit has been one of the good, bad and ugly all season long and Saturday was no different.

Kicker John Wallace converted a career-high 45-yard field goal just before half that Charlie Strong credited with the moment that momentum began to sway U of L's way.

"At halftime, we were only down 21-17," he said. "Knowing we would have the ball at the start of the second half, we had momentum to drive the ball."

The Cardinals found themselves down at the half due in part to a blocked punt that was recovered for Panther touchdown early in the second quarter.

Junior Champ Lee's punt block on Pittsburgh's opening second half series added to the momentum shift that occurred following U of L's 75-touchdown pass minutes earlier.

Overall:

Despite some obvious areas of needed improvement - self-induced errors, special teams mistakes, etc - Louisville had it's best outing of the year at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Louisville appeared more prepared and focused against the Panthers, which is a positive sign for a team that has struggled with consistency during the first half of the season. U of L should build on the momentum and confidence gained in notching it's first league win of the season.

Up next for the Cardinals is a home match against Big East rival South Florida (2-4, 0-2) at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium. The game is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff and will be televised on ABC.


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