The University of Louisville football team was rolling along.
Yes, there was the loss at Clemson but the Cardinals were racing up points on offense and shutting people down on defense for a good portion of the season. And then as Bobby Petrino put it the Cardinals “hit a wall.”
“I listened to Urban Meyer talking about his team and how they hit the wall a little bit in the middle of the season and they were able to come back and finish strong,” Petrino said. “We kind of went right through the middle of the season and then we hit the wall.
“We had a tough schedule where we had a Saturday night game and then the next Thursday night game. Some of it being fatigued and tired but we have to learn to play with some success and fight through it. You have to learn how to handle success and even when you are tired keep going.”
Despite some struggles against Virginia and Wake Forest, the Cardinals were 9-1 heading into the final two games of the season and in the thick of the race towards the College Football Playoff.
And then the bottom fell out of the season.
Houston sacked Lamar Jackson 11 times and whipped U of L 36-10 in that Thursday night game and then in the regular-season finale it was a 41-38 loss to Kentucky.
The Cardinals had a bunch of injuries in the final three weeks on the defensive side of the ball and the offensive line gave up 24 sacks in the final three games of the season.
“It's very disappointing,” Petrino said. “We started off and played at a very, very high level for a long time. For 11 weeks, we were in the conversation for playoffs and then didn’t finish he way we should have.”
Petrino said the everyone in the program, including the staff, needs to learn from the final three games.
“There’s a saying out there that says: “The greatest obstacle to being great is being good’,” Petrino said. "it’s my fault. I saw us not working and practicing and having the same intensity that we needed the last three games.
“We have to do a better job and we are certainly going to spend a lot of time evaluating and trying to do the best we can to make sure this never happens again.”
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