How Louisville beat Syracuse, how it can beat West Virginia

It was great to see the Cardinal offense show up last week and if we can keep that up, we can beat anybody. The question is how did we do it? What was different? Let's break it down.

1st Qtr - we ran 9 running plays for 26 yds and 8 pass plays for 140 yds (7 for 7 passing and 1 scramble for 10 yds)

2nd Qtr - we ran 4 running plays for 21 yds and 10 called pass plays for 36yds (4 of 7 passing, 1 scramble and 2 sacks)

3rd Qtr - we ran 6 running plays for 19 yds and 8 called pass plays for 35 yds (5 of 7 passing and 1 sack)

4th Qtr - we ran 8 running plays for 80 yds and 4 called pass plays for 3 yds (1 of 3 and 1 scramble)

So for the first time this year, we had more called pass plays (29) than running plays (27).

In the first half we had 18 called pass plays for 163 yds vs 13 running plays for 47 yds. That's 58% passing plays.

Through the 3rd Qtr we had 26 called pass plays for 199 yds vs 19 running plays for 66 yds -again 58% passing plays.

                             - the 26 pass plays resulted in 8 first downs, the 19 running plays earned 4 first downs

We can somewhat discount the run/pass ratio in the 4th qtr as we were pretty much running out the clock at this point.

And what about that passing game? Well, we did burn them deep twice on the first posession, but after that it was pretty much swing passes, slant passes and short passes to the flat. These are very high completion percentage passes and here is what Teddy did by pass type:

swing passes - 5 of 6  - 83%

screen passes - 1 of 1  -  100%

slant passes - 2 of 3  -  67%

sideline/flat passes - 7 of 10  - 70%

Now what about that running game. While the o-line is improving, it is still far from our strength. We ran the most running plays in the 1st qtr and nearly half (4 of 9) went for either zero or negative yardage. Of the 27 total running plays, we went left 10 times for 98 yds (includes Vic's 61 yarder), right 9 times for 36 yds, and up the middle 7 times for 17 yds. So running into the line is still not very productive. Much better going wide (remember Vic's 61 yard run was an option around the left side). That is very similar to the swing pass to the backs which was very effective.I think this type of play really helps us mimimize the o-line deficiency and increases our chances of success greatly. These quick passes also develop quickly and do not require the o-line to hold their blocks very long which is helpful.

Another stat I did find interesting was that we had 25 first down plays. 17 were running plays and 8 were passes. We might want to consider throwing a little more on first down. Again that swing pass to a back and the quick out in the flat should be completed 80+% of the time and get us 5-10 yards at a time. A very nice start to a drive.

So why did we win this game?

1. We passed much more than in previous games (58% called pass plays through 3 quarters)

2. We threw lots of quick short passes that didn't take a lot of time

3. Teddy rolled out a lot on the pass plays

4. We did not try to run between the tackles very much

5. Our passing game helped loosen up their corners and linebackers making it easier to run the ball, especially later

I think if we keep throwing the ball, especially the high percentage short, quick passes we can neutralize our spotty o-line play and let Teddy use his speed and strength to make plays. This is our best chance to move the ball effectively and put points on the board. And with our defense, if we can score a little, we can beat anybody - like West Virginia.


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