Despite outgaining the Huskies 508-281, Louisville couldn't hold onto a 21-10 second half lead in a bitter 26-21 loss to UConn in the Big East opener at PJCS Friday night. The Cardinals completely dominated the game statistically, racking up two 100-yard rushers (Bilal Powell 112 yards; Victor Anderson 100) and a 100-yard receiver (Doug Beaumont 106 yards). But several untimely penalties, a few costly turnovers and shaky special team's play doomed Kragthorpe's Cardinals.
"It was obviously a disappointing loss – one that we felt we should have won," Kragthorpe said. "I felt like we made a lot of errors that were self inflicted."
As expected, the game was a tough and physical affair. Both starting quarterbacks were sent to the sidelines with injury during the game. Several other players on both sides were banged up throughout. Kragthorpe is certainly hopeful a bye-week will help his team get healthy for their first road game against Memphis next Friday.
"I think it's a good time for us as a football team because we're a little banged up – nothing major, but after you play four games you do get a little bumped and bruised," said Kragthorpe. "So I do think this week (off) is going to be beneficial for us to get some guys that aren't at full speed right now closer to that for next Friday night."
Cantwell suffered a sprained ankle in the second half, missing one series before returning. He completed 17 of 29 passes for 247 yards and one touchdown, but threw two interceptions, including one that was returned by Huskies linebacker Lawrence Wilson to give UConn the victory in the game's final minutes.
"He's responded well," said Kragthorpe. "He's a tough guy not only from a physical standpoint but from a mental standpoint also. I think he's going to bounce back great and play well throughout the season. He's got a lot of character. We expect him playing against (Memphis)."
be ready to go against Memphis.
Kragthorpe also expects to get junior wide receiver Scott Long back from a foot injury for the Memphis game.
"He should definitely be back for Memphis," Kragthorpe said. "We're hopeful that he's going to practice this week and pad up and go."
Now, after a tough setback to open league play, Kragthorpe's troops will head back out to the practice field during their off-week to work out some kinks – and get healthy for the Tigers.
"We've got to heal up physically and use these days to get a little jump on Memphis and do some things that we've got to do to improve as a team," said Kragthorpe.
With their next two games against non-conference opponents, Louisville has plenty of time to recharge, fix some problems that stopped them against UConn and, Kragthorpe hopes, make a run at things in the Big East league race.
"I think it's a race that won't start to unfold until the month of November," Kragthorpe said. "There's a lot of parity and there's a lot of football left. We're hoping to be in that mix."
Daniel Covington, a junior former walk-on safety from Lexington, was recently awarded a scholarship and made his first career start against UConn. Covington recorded five tackles against the Huskies.
Junior college transfer Cameron Graham also made his first career start at tight end against the Huskies.
The Louisville defense has now held three of their first four opponents under 300 total yards. Louisville held UConn to just 281 yards Friday night. Louisville recorded three sacks and recovered a fumble vs. UConn.
Redshirt freshman running back Victor Anderson has rushed for 100 or more yards in three consecutive games. Anderson carried 19 times for 100 yards and a score against the Huskies.