Louisville Football: Breaking Down the Penalties

Since everyone is talking about the penalties the Cards have committed this season, I thought it would be interesting for Hot Hot to look at every penalty and see how it affected the game. Instead, he threw me under the bus and said I would do it. I'll be the bigger man and do such a thing. By mattering, my criteria is mainly scoring drives, or drive killers. For example, a false start that pushes the team back 5 yards and results in a missed FG matters more than a false start that has a 40 yard TD following it. 

I'm going off the UofL site play by play, which should be very accurate. I'll keep a tally of the number of penalties and yards per person, although it's not going to be accurate, since some penalties have no culprit on the info. If you remember who did what, like who roughed the passer against UK, you can update it in the comments, and then I can update it in the post. 

Murray State

  1. Personal Foul. Penalty offset, Murray punted. Didn't matter
  2. False start. (no one). Forced a 2nd and 12. Next play went for 37 yards. Didn't matter
  3. False start (Jake Smith). Forced a 2-9. UofL scored on 3rd down. Didn't matter
  4. Offside (Jamon Brown) Turned 3-1 to first down. Kept drive alive that ended at the UofL 34 due to an INT. Mattered
  5. False start (Hernandez). 1-10 to 1-15. Wait
  6. False start (Hernandez) 1-15 to 1-20. Wait again. 
  7. Delay of game (Bridgewater) 1-20 to 1-25. UofL faced 3rd and long, Bridgewater ended up getting picked off. All 3 mattered.
  8. False start (Scott Radcliff) 1-10 to 1-15. On 2-10, Stein fumbled. Mattered
  9. Personal foul (none) This came after the Dexter Heyman pick. Moved the ball back to the Cards 16. Drive ended in a fumble. Mattered
  10. Offside (none) 1-10 to 1-5 at Louisville 39. Murray converted the 1-5 in two plays. Got in FG range, but missed the kick. Mattered
  11. Holding (none. 1-10 to 1-20, ball moved from the Murray 47 to Louisville 43 as a result. The Cards had to punt. Mattered

So out of the 11 penalties against Murray State, 8 of them changed drives. 

The rest of the season after the jump.


  1. False start (Chichester) 1-10 to 1-15, moved ball from FIU 34 to 39. The Cards ran for a loss, threw incomplete, and Stein was sacked. I'm going to say this penalty mattered
  2. Holding (Holton) Held on the kickoff, moved start point from 27 to 17. 3 and out, and the punt was fair caught at the 49. FIU got a field goal. Mattered
  3. Illegal forward pass (Stein) 2-6 to 3-11. Cards converted on 4th down. Didn't matter
  4. False start (Hernandez) 3-1 to 3-6. Cards scored a TD. Didn't matter


Only 4 penalties against FIU. Half of them ended up changing drives significantly. That's now 10 of 15 on the season. 


  1. Personal Foul (Heyman) 3-7 to 1-10. Kentucky would have punted, instead the next play went deep and Kentucky got a field goal. Mattered
  2. Offside (Dunn) 1-10 to 1-5. Kentucky lost yards, then had their punt blocked. Didn't matter
  3. Roughing the passer (None) 1-10 at UK 42 to 1-10 at UofL 43. This was right before the half. Gave UK free yards. They scored a TD. Mattered
  4. False start (Hernandez) 1-10 to 1-15. Wright ran for 17 the next play. Didn't matter
  5. False start (Kessling) 1-10 to 1-15. Cards converted. Drive ended in a FG. Didn't matter
  6. False start (Kessling) 1-10 at UK 25 to 1-15 at UK 30. On 3rd down, Bridgewater threw what proved to be the game winning TD to Bellamy. Didn't matter
  7. Pass interference (Conner) 1-10 at UL 29 to 1-10 UL 14. The next play got UK a first and goal. Mattered.
  8. Pass interference (Smith) 4-goal to 1-goal. UK scored on the next play. Mattered
  9. Personal foul (Bushell) Came after 11 yard pass, moved ball to UL 48. Since this was one of the plays that made us all think UK was going to come back down the field and tie the score, it mattered

9 penalties in the UK win, and 5 of them really ended up mattering. That brings the total to 15 of 24 for the season. 


  1. Roughing the passer (Butler) Moved ball from 35 to 50. Marshall went 3 and out from there. Didn't matter
  2. Offside (none) 3-1 to 1-10 at UL 41. Marshall lost 11 yards on the next play, and finished in worse field position than if they didn't convert. Didn't matter
  3. Illegal shift (Davis) 2-goal at 10 to 2-g at 15. Cards ended up scoring a TD. Didn't matter
  4. Personal foul (Smith) Happened on a kick out of bounds. Marshall stared in Louisville territory. Gained 15 yards, missed FG. The penalty mattered because it led to a scoring opportunity. 
  5. False start (Hernandez) 2-2 to 2-7. Play was a screen to Vic Anderson that went for a TD. Didn't matter
  6. False start (Joyer) 1-10 to 1-15. Marshall was offside to give it right back. Off the hook, so it didn't matter
  7. Holding (Joyer) 1-10 at M 46 to 1-20 at UL 44. Cards only got 6 yards and punted. Mattered
  8. False start (Kessling) 2-10 at M 25 to 2-15 at M 30. The Cards ended up kicking a 48 yard FG that was missed. Mattered
  9. Offside (Dunn) 1-10 at UL 38 to 1-5 at UL 33. Marshall ran for 17 on the play. That set up a FG to make it 13-10. Mattered
  10. Pass interference (Conner) 3-2 at UL 22 to 1-goal at UL 7. Marshall went from maybe tying the game, to scoring a TD to take the lead. Mattered
  11. Offside (Heyman). 2-7 to 2-1. Marshall ran for a first down to ice the game on the next play. Mattered

11 penalties is a ton. 6 of the 11 ended up hurting, especially the last 5 to were all big. That's now 21 of 35 that changed drives. 

North Carolina

  1. Holding (Brown) 1-10 at NC 40 to 1-10 at 50, wiped out 10 yard run to NC 30. This ruined a solid drive, and was a 20 yard penalty. This has to be Jamon Brown, since he a) started at offensive line, and b) it says C Brown and there is no C Brown listed on the roster. Mattered
  2. Holding (none) 1-10 at NC 49 to 1-20 at UL 41. This wiped out an 8 yard run. The Cards wouldn't convert 4-1. UNC fumbled on their possession. I'm going with mattered though. 
  3. Holding (Chichester) 1-10 at NC 20 to 1-20 at NC 30. After a short run, Bridgewater was picked on 2nd and long. Mattered
  4. Kick catch interference (Perry) Instead of starting at the 32, NC started at the 47. Mattered
  5. Offside (Dunn) 4-2 to 1-goal. UNC was lined up to kick a field goal. This was pretty huge. Mattered
  6. Holding (Evans) On return, started at 13. The Cards did nothing, UNC did nothing. So, it didn't matter
  7. Holding (Kupper) 1-10 to 1-20. Wait.
  8. False start (Kupper) 1-20 to 1-25. The Cards punted, but UNC committed a penalty so they started at the 11. Neither one of these penalties mattered, so a double didn't matter
  9. Offside (Mount) Happened when the Cards recovered an onside kick. The Cards didn't recover the second try. Mattered

By my math, 6 of the 9 penalties really mattered against UNC. That brings the total to 27 of 44 penalties that the Cardinals have committed negatively impacted scoring, or potential, scoring drives. That's very many. 61%. Is it easier to say what penalties do and don't matter in hindsight? Yes. I think I was pretty fair with my grading of what mattered and what didn't. Not only do the Cardinals commit a lot of penalties, but they do so at inopportune times. That's the recipe for a losing record. It's clearly part of the reason the Cardinals are at 2-3. 

As mentioned here is the list of every person who has committed a penalty, as mentioned in the UofL play by play. 

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