The Day After: Cards cruise, questions arise

The 8th-ranked University of Louisville Cardinals cruised to victory against Eastern Kentucky on Saturday. Cardinal Authority takes a look back at U of L's 44-7 win.

While the offense scored over 40 points for a second straight game and the defense delivered a near shutout, University of Louisville head coach Charlie Strong used words such as mistakes and correct when he visited with media following his team's 44-7 win.

"There were some mistakes in the first half, but it is a game that we can really correct," Strong said. "We can go back to work tomorrow. Make some corrections and get ready for Kentucky. "

It was a game that was never in doubt and big plays were plentiful on both sides of the ball. However, it was also a game that saw the offense struggle at times, the defense give up big yardage plays and the special teams allow sizeable returns.


For the second straight week, the Cardinals passing attack was unstoppable. Teddy Bridgewater completed 72% of his attempts, throwing for 397 yards and 4 touchdowns, with no interceptions. Eight different receivers pulled in a catch, led by DeVante Parker and Gerald Christian who had 5 each.

Also for the second consecutive game, the offense was near flawness in its opening possession. Against EKU, the offense drove 75 yards on 9 plays for a touchdown to establish an early lead.

What the offense didn't do was run the ball. Running backs Senorise Perry, Dominique Brown and Michael Dyer combined for just 71 yards and managed only 2.7 per carry.

The offense converted all six trips into the red zone for scores, 3 touchdowns and 3 field goals.

"When you get the ball down into the red zone you want touchdowns," said Strong. "You want touchdowns instead of field goals. We missed opportunities. And we had guys that were open, but we weren't able to throw to them. We just weren't able to move the ball. We have to score when we get the ball and we want touchdowns."


Following U of L's season-opening win over Ohio, Strong, along with defensive coordinator Vance Bedford stressed the importance to come up with more big plays. The defense responded by causing three fumbles, recovering one, and Calvin Pryor snagged an early interception.

The defense held the Colonels to 99 passing yards and held their ground game to a 2.5 yards per carry average.

"We created some turnovers," said Strong. "But still, we gave up a big throw, when we jumped off sides. You still have to play the ball, but we kind of stood there and let the guy catch it and the guy threw the ball over our heads and scored a touchdown. You just can't give up those throws. We were able to create turnovers. A lot of lost yardage plays, but still we can play better."

The impressive development of true freshman linebacker Keith Kelsey continued against EKU. Playing primarily with the second unit late in the game, Kelsey was quick to the ball recording 5 tackles.


Kicker John Wallace set a new personal high with three field goals. Punter Ryan Johnson was consistent, averaging 46 yards on three attempts.

Kickoff coverage still has strides to make. The Cardinals entered the game 90th in the country in kickoff defense and they didn't help their cause on Saturday, allowing 29.3 yards per return.


Another overall solid performance on both sides of the ball, but the team fell short in reaching perfection. The inability to gain 100 yards on the ground and a few mental lapses gave the Cardinals coaching staff plenty to work on and motivate with during the upcoming week of practice.

Junior safety Calvin Pryor said following the game that the team came out "flat" and that "we took our opponent lightly." One concern heading into the season was how this Louisville squad would handle being the favorite. The team needs to learn to overcome the struggle of coasting into a game.

With a road trip at rival Kentucky looming, motivation and focus shouldn't be a concern this week. With a week to improve, the Louisville ground game should find its stride by game day.

Cardinal Authority Top Stories