Well that sucked. Excitement abounded before the kick-off, and predictions of victory flew from unlikely corners (even frankpos thought we had a chance!). The beginning of the game probably improved frankpos's optimism: Chris Campa introduced himself to the Utah crowd and the home team with a big hit on the kick-off, and LD Scott got the team's first sack of the season on the first play from scrimmage. After forcing a three-and-out, the offense marched down the field: Scott Long made good on the pre-game angle from the CJ and beat his man for a 23-yard gain on the first play. More positive plays resulted in first and goal from the 8. The game thread got positively giddy: most were pretty quick to get excited and hop back on the bandwagon with both feet.
Everyone knows what happened next. But sulking wasn't doing it for me, so I thought I'd dive back in to the game and the post-game quotes and put together the good, the bad, and the Kragtastic. Join me? ....after the jump...
- First and foremost, Chris Campa came to play. The oft-overlooked linebacker set the tone with a big hit on the opening kickoff, and then continued to lay the wood. And although I can't find for sure how many tackles he ended up with, it was a lot and all of them seemed like big hits.
- Scott Long is talented. As was discussed during the game thread, hopefully he gets a chance to prove himself at the next level because his college career has been limited by Harry Douglas/Mario, injury and Kragthorpe.
- The Defense as a unit played generally well: it held Utah to 4-13 on third downs and kept Utah out of the end-zone in the second and third quarters. They got pressure on the QB and recorded three sacks, and Chaz Thompson had a nice pick that set up the first touchdown.
- Penalties were held down to a reasonably small amount, only 5 for 50 yards. Utah had 9 for 100 yards, including a couple that kept our drives going.
- Doug Beaumont had a couple nice plays, ending up with 4 catches for 87 yards. Does everyone realize he's already a JUNIOR? Sorry, this isn't the Kragtastic section.
- Cory Goettsche averaged 49 yards on punts, including a long of 57 yards. As Sam ruined the good vibes pointed out in the game thread, this may have had something to do with the thin air and the altitude. I choose to believe that he has figured out how to kick the ball farther and you can't prove it to me otherwise until the Pitt game.
- Oy. Where to begin? How about the rushing game, which put up a whopping 80 yards on one of the worst run defenses in the country, one that gave up more than 200 yards to Utah State and Oregon.
- Vic, whose asthma may have been worsened by the thin air, was not himself, rushing for only 20 yards on 10 carries. He was outgained by Bilal Joseph Powell....by 2 yards, 22 total yards on 10 carries. Darius Ashley got in the game finally: he carried twice for six yards. Better average than the other two, anyway.
- The defense allowed 214 yards on the ground to a team who starting running out of running backs when their top two both went down with injuries during the game. The defense also allowed 202 yards in the air to a QB who really wasn't that impressive except for that perfect strike TD immediately following Guy's fumble.
- Any shred of confidence remaining in Trent Guy was obliterated after his fumble. I didn't see him on the field, he didn't get the ball thrown his way and he was pulled from both punts and kickoffs. Feel really bad for the kid.
- Lots of punts, as we ended up 4-14 on third down conversions.
- Burke completed less than 50% of his passes, threw an INT and had that weird play where he just sorta stood there in Vic's way on the hand-off.
- The red-zone offense relied on an awkward Burke run (Play No. 2, see below for full chart) and the craziest touchdown catch I've ever seen (Burke threw a No. 8 that turned into a No. 6 when the ball bounced off Scott Long into the waiting arms of CamGraham) for our only touchdowns, and failed to score on the opening drive, which was a huge momentum swing early in the game.
- The game just sorta sucked, was mostly boring, and the announcers were terrible.
- Mike pointed out in the game thread (do a ctl-F for "WE ONLY HAVE EIGHT PLAYS") that we only have eight plays. He may actually be correct:
- Run up the middle
- Burke drops back to pass, there's nothing there, Burke scrambles (probably our best play)
- Screen to the running back (every so often to the WR) - rarely works
- 3-step drop, quick jump ball to Scott Long
- Play-action rollout, Tronzo underneath, Beaumont at the next level.
- Whatever play that results in CamGraham open underneath or in the flat
- Slant to Scott Long
- Play No. 1 was not effective, and Krag was surprised in this morning's CJ:
They pressured a little bit more," said Kragthorpe, adding that the Cards had to abandon the run once they fell behind. "On first down they had some different inside linebacker dogs that they hadn't run a whole lot."
- Really? They were able to stop the run up the middle? We had 19 plays on first down, and by my count from the espn.com game chart, on 12 of those we ran the ball, more often than not up the middle. We had one play where we faked the FB dive and then pitched out, but it was covered nicely by Utah. But I don't remember many sweeps, many outside runs, misdirections, counters or play action on first down. I think they knew a No. 1 was coming more often than not on first down, and they ran a defense that countered it. That's some Kragtastic play-calling in the run game.
- While not going for two points ultimately didn't cost anything because we didn't score again and Utah did, that would seem to be coaching 101. You scored a touchdown that gets you down 10, the only way to make it a 1-possession game is to go for 2. Maybe Krag was so shocked we scored a TD even though he called a No. 8 that was a yard short of the first down and 12 yards away from the end zone, even if caught.
- Adam Froman played on special teams. I am not making this up. Burke had to limp off the field at one point, and Froman is coming back from injury. I really can't see any upside to doing this? Unless he was looking to test Will Stein.
- The overall awfulness that is Kragthorpe-coached Louisville football.