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Closer Look: Offense vs. MTSU

This is a bit overdue, but we just wanted to wait until the last possible moment so that you could relive this thing of beauty right before the weekend.

For those who don't remember, the order of description for each play is: down and distance, formation, what happened, and then a brief breakdown. Players who perform especially well or especially poorly are awarded plus or minus one point accordingly, totals are at the bottom.

Enjoy:

First Drive:

1. 1st and 10: UL 27. Ace (Smith), twins left. Kolby Smith runs up the middle for three yards. MTSU brings heat and the unblocked LB makes the play.

2. 2nd and 7: UL 30. Ace (Smith), Four-wide. Cantwell (+1) throws complete to Jimmy Riley (+1) for 24 yards. Cantwell has all the time in the world and finds Riley open near the left sideline.

3. 1st and 10: MT 47. Ace (Bolen), trips right, Douglass motions left. Cantwell sacked for a loss of 4 yards. Brock (-1) completely whiffs on the left end, but with pressure coming from the front side Hunter (-1) should have been able to get rid of the ball.

4. 2nd and 14: UL 49: I formation (Stripling), twins right. Stripling runs to the right for four yards. Toss sweep, but despite a nice cut block from Bolen, the left side of the Blue Raider front is too quick for George to get the corner.

5. 3rd and 10: MT 47. Shotgun, single back (Smith), twins left. Cantwell throws complete to Harry Douglass for 11 yards. Giacomini (-1) gets beats badly, but Hunter steps up (+1), avoids the rush, and quickly finds Douglass (+1) who is initially about five yards short of the first down, but makes a man miss and gets to the marker. Solid effort from Eric Wood (+1) on this big play. Douglass limps off the field, we tear up a little.

6. 1st and 10: MT 36. Ace (Bolen), overload right, Mario solo left. Bolen runs to the right for a gain of 27. Outstanding stuff from Barnidge (+1), Deriontae Taylor (+1) and Renardo Foster (+1), who open up a whole for Brock (+1) which he finds and then turns on the jets for the big gain. Eric Wood (+1) pancakes his man, and Breno Giacomini gets a cool point for making it all the way down the field and doing a cool flip when Bolen goes down and undercuts him.

7. 1st and goal: MT 9. I formation (Smith), twins left. Kolby Smith runs to the left for no gain. We run the fake dive, toss play usually reserved for Strippy and it doesn't work here. Smith bobbles the pitch and is quickly eaten up after poor blocks from Foster (-1) and Scott Kuhn (-1). The play is especially unfortunate for my friend Danny who has just gotten into a heated exchange in which he defends the likelihood that Kolby will play in the NFL. Even though blame for the failure of the play can't be placed on Smith, it still happens at an unfortunate time.

8. 2nd and goal: MT 9. I formation (Smith), twins right. Smith runs for a loss of five yards. Hunter (-1) checks and barely gets the play off in time, and maybe it would have been better had he not. George Bussey (-1) slips after a brief engagement, and his man is the one who plugs the hole, forcing Smith to change fields and lose even more yardage. The "Smith is not a pro-prospect" crowd goes into an uproar.

Holding on Eric Wood (-1) (Declined)

9.3rd and goal: MT 14. Shotgun, single back (Smith), trips right. Cantwell thros incomplete, intended for Chris Vaughn. MTSU only brings three, and still Foster's (-1) man destroys him, forcing Hunter (+1) to avoid him and throw short to Vaughn (-1) who drops the pass and looks like he wants no part of what would have been a short gain.

Second Drive:

10. 1st and 10: UL 29. Ace (Smith), split wideouts. Cantwell throws incomplete, intended for Smith. Cantwell (-1) makes the right read and throws short (but too hard) to Kolby (-1), who still should have caught the unnecessarily strong pass.

11. 2nd and 10: UL 29. Shotgun, empty backfield, trips right, twins left. Cantwell checks and brings Vaughn in tight. Cantwell throws incomplete, intended for Harry Douglass. Cantwell (-1) was right to check, as MTSU brings heat from the blind side, but doesn't recognize the defense switched from a two-deep to a man-to-man coverage. The blitzing linebacker is too much for Vaughn to handle, and feeling the pressure, Hunter throws the ball into quadruple coverage and #39 Marcus Brandon drops the interception.

12. 3rd and 10: UL 29. Shotgun, single back (Smith) twins right. Cantwell throws incomplete, intended for Pat Carter. Hunter gets hit again by Giacomini's (-1) man, and as a result the pass comes out wobbly and short. Still not sure how he didn't hurt his knee on this play, it looks nasty.

Third Drive:

13. 1st and 10: UL 32. I formation (Stripling) twins left. Stripling runs to the left for one yard. Try the toss sweep again, and again nothing doing. Foster's (-1) guy makes the play from the other side of the field. GS is noticeably frustrated. Even though they get worn down late, this defense is impressively fast.

14. 2nd and 9: UL 33. I formation (Smith), twins right. Kolby Smith runs up the middle for one yard. Another nice block by Deriontae Taylor (+1) in at fullback, but Smith (-1) again fails to recognize the hole and runs into the back of Renardo Foster before being wrapped up.

15. 3rd and 8: UL 34. Shotgun, single back (Smith), trips left. Cantwell throws incomplete. Hunter (-1) as all day to throw and decides to throw to absolutely no one. This is bad, really bad. Protection is especially impressive from Quarterman (+1) and Giacomini (+1).

Fourth Drive:

16. 1st and 10: UL 30. Strong right (Smith), split wideouts. Smith runs to the right for two yards. Eric Wood (-1) gets pushed back, forcing Smith to bounce the play outside where the pursuit is great once again.

17. 2nd and 8: UL 32. Ace (Smith), split wideouts. Cantwell throws complete to Mario Urrutia for a 68-yard touchdown. Hunter (+1) hits #7(+1) on a simple slant, and he proves without a doubt that he is the best player on the field. He's no Tom Jurich, but God Mario is cool.

Fifth Drive:

18. 1st and 10: UL 9. Strong left (Stripling), split wideouts. Stripling runs to the right for one yard. Brock sealed the end (+1), but George (-1) didn't bounce the play outside, allowing the ROLB to make the play.

19. 2nd and 9: UL 10. Strong right (Stripling), split wideouts. Cantwell throws complete to Mario Urrutia for 24 yards. Hunter (+1) takes a three-step drop, throws quickly down the left sidelines and hits a streaking Mario (+1) who is really big, really fast, and really good at playing football.

20. 1st and 10: UL 34. Strong right (Stripling), split wideouts, Kuhn motions right. Cantwell throws incomplete, intended for Mario Urrutia. Good pick-up block by Stripling (+1) on Tavaris Jones, but Cantwell (-1) again holds onto the ball too long and barely gets rid of the pass before hitting the turf. Had Urrutia on the short cross, all he had to do was throw the ball.

21. 2nd and 10: UL 34. I-formation (Smith), twins right, Bolen motions left. Kolby Smith (+1) runs to the left for 9 yards. Smith runs really hard north and south for a change and takes a pretty big lick at the end of the play as a result. Good downfield blocking by Urrutia (+1) and Wood (+1).

22. 3rd and 1: UL 43. I-formation (Bolen), Urrutia split right, Barnidge motions left. Brock Bolen runs up the middle for five yards. Another great block by Taylor (+1) who seems to get the job done whenever he gets a chance. His block springs Bolen (+1) who makes a nifty move to pick up an extra two yards. Solid blocking also by George Bussey (+1).

23. 1st and 10: UL 48. Strong right (Bolen), split wideouts. Cantwell throws complete to Scott Kuhn for 25 yards. Awesome blocking by Wood (+1), Quaretman (+1), Giacomini (+1) and Bussey (+1), and Cantwell (+1) finds an open Kuhn (+1) over the middle for the big gain.

24. 1st and 10: MT 27. Ace (Stripling), split wideouts. George Stripling runs to the right for 21 yards. Cantwell (+1) makes the right check after MTSU shifts left. Good stuff from Wood (+1), Foster (+1) and Marcel Benson (+1) who open a hole for Stripling (+1) who breaks through and then slips another tackle before being knocked out of bounds at the six. Should have been a late hit penalty.

25. 1st and goal: MT 6. Overload right (Bolen), Mario solo left. Brock Bolen runs to the right for no gain. MTSU puts 10 in the box and stops the run. Hunter (-1) has to check at the line and take advantage when there's one-on-one coverage with Urrutia, especially when he's got seven inches on the guy in front of him. Petrino is pissed.

26. 2nd and goal: MT 6. I-formation (Stripling), Urrutia split left, Urrutia motions tight. Stripling runs to the left for a loss of one. Toss sweep fails yet again. Urrutia (-1) and Quarterman (-1) both block the invisible guy in front of them.

27. 3rd and goal: MT 7. Shotgun, empty backfield, trips right, twins left. Cantwell throws incomplete. MLB comes free up the middle and Hunter gets hit as he throws. Wood (-1) and Bussey (-1) both look confused.

Sixth Drive:

28. 1st and 10: UL 45. Shotgun, single back (Smith), twins left. Cantwell throws complete to Harry Douglass for a gain of 14. Solid protection by Bussey (+1) and Giacomini (+1), and Hunter (+1) throws a bullet over the middle to Douglass (+1) who gets blasted but holds on to the ball.

29. 1st and 10: MT 41. Ace (Smith), twins left, Douglass motions right. Cantwell throws complete to Urrutia for 17 yards. Hunter (+1) looks off the secondary right and then throws left and hits Mario (+1) on the deep slant.

30. 1st and 10: MT 24. Ace (Smith), split wideouts, Barnidge motions right. Kolby Smith runs to the left for two yards. All the room in the world outside, and yet Kolby (-1) inexplicably cuts it up and runs right into the MLB Walden.

31. 2nd and 8: MT 22. Strong left (Bolen), split wideouts. Cantwell throws incomplete, intended for Harry Douglass. Play action, great protection, but Hunter can't find anyone and ultimately throws the ball out of the back of the endzone. Quarerman (+1) takes his man to the ground.

32. 3rd and 8: MT 22. Shotgun, single back (Smith), trips right. Cantwell throws complete to Kolby Smith for 14 yards. Brilliant call by Petrino who knows MTSU will come with a blitz and so he calls a middle screen. Smith (+1) looks faster on this play than he has all year.

33. 1st and goal: MT 8. Strong left (Smith), Urrutia split left, Barnidge motions left. Smith runs to the left for a loss of two. Brock (-1) misses a black badly and the play gets blown up.

34. 2nd and goal: MT 10. Strong left (Smith), Urrutia split right. Cantwell throws incomplete, intended for Mario Urrutia. Play is set up to be a lob to Mario, but Cantwell (-1) fails to check out of the play once he sees his only wideout is double covered. Hunter ends up running around and then throws the ball dangerously close to a double covered #7. Petrino looks like he wants to eat Cantwell.

35. 3rd and goal: MT 10. Shotgun, single back (Stripling), trips right. George Stripling runs up the middle for six yards. Petrino, obviously peeved at Hunter, decides to just take the three and not risk a turnover.

Seventh Drive:

36. 1st and 10: UL 20. Shotgun, single back (Smith), twins left. Hunter Cantwell throws complete to Gary Barnidge for 32 yards. Good job by Bussey (+1) and Cantwell (+1) takes advantage of MTSU's two-deep coverage and hits Barnidge (+1) deep over the middle.

37. 1st and 10: MT 48. Shotgun, single back (Smith), twins left. Cantwell throws complete to Chris Vaughn for 10 yards. Solid protection again, and Hunter (+1) hits Vaughn (+1) in the numbers on a curl. Highly generous spot allows the clock to stop for a measurement which confirms just how generous it was.

38. 1st and 10: MT 38. Shotgun, single back (Smith), twins left. Cantwell throws incomplete. Kolby (-1) refuses to pick up anyone, and Hunter is hit as he throws.

39. 2nd and 10: MT 38. Shotgun, single back (Smith), twins left. Cantwell throws incomplete, intended for Kolby Smith. Hunter (-1) looks to throw short and again throws the ball too hard and misses an open Smith.

40. 3rd and 10: MT 38. Shotgun, single back (Smith), twins left. Cantwell throws complete to Harry Douglass for 13 yards. Looked like Hunter (+1) wanted to go deep, but he finds his second man Douglass (+1) on a crossing route over the middle.

41. 1st and 10: MT 23. Shotgun, single back (Smith), twins left. Cantwell throws complete to Mario Urrutia (+1) for a 23-yard touchdown. Petrino decides it's time to throw the fancy stuff out the window and simply throw the ball up to his playmaker. Pass probably should have been picked off, but MTSU safety Nixon, mis-times his jump.

Halftime: Louisville 23, Middle Tennessee State 10.

Eighth Drive:

42. 1st and 10: UL 34. Ace (Stripling), split wideouts. Stripling runs right for two yards. Wood (-1) pulls and gets out quickly, but doesn't recognize the corner he's supposed to block, and the corner makes the tackle.

43. 2nd and 8: UL 36. Strong left (Stripling), twins left, stripling motions left. Cantwell throws incomplete, intended for Urrutia. Hunter (-1) looks for Mario (-1) on the quick slant, the ball is a bit behind him, but Mario still should have made the catch. Mario hobbles and we tear up again.

44. 3rd and 8: UL 36. Shotgun, single back (Stripling), twins left. Stripling runs up the middle for four yards. Surprised by this call, Petrino really showing a lack of faith in Cantwell at this point. George (+1) makes one man miss, but a trio of defenders ultimately wrap him up before he can get across the yellow line.

Ninth Drive:

45. 1st and 10: UL 31. Strong left (Stripling), split wideouts. Harry Douglass runs for 22 yards. Douglass (+1) goes all UK on MTSU's ass and reminds us all how fast he is on the reverse. Good downfield blocking by Cantwell (+1) and Urrutia (+1). Also a good job on the transfer by Strippy (+1). Douglass now has 150 rushing yards on just 11 carries for his career.

46. 1st and 10: MT 46. Ace (Smith), split wideouts. Cantwell (+1) throws complete to Douglass (+1) for 12 yards. Simple stop route.

47. 1st and 10: MT 34. Ace (Smith), twins right. Cantwell (+1) throws complete to Kuhn (+1) for 7 yards. Hunter starting to get into a rhythm. Sees the blitz and hits his safety guy.

48. 2nd and 3: MT 27. Ace (Smith), twins right. Cantwell throws complete to Douglass for 12 yards. Good blitz pick-up by Smith (+1) and Hunter (+1) throws a dart to Douglass (+1) who proves yet again he has no fear of going over the middle.

49. 1st and 10: MT 15. Ace (Smith), split wideouts. Cantwell throws complete to Scott Kuhn for a 15-yard touchdown. Play action and Hunter flips the ball out to a wide open SK (+1) who stiff arms a man and dives into the endzone.

Tenth Drive:

50. 1st and 10: UL 27. Empty backfield, split wideouts, Spillman motions left. Jajuan Spillman runs to the left for 7 yards. We see the jet seep to Spillman (+1) for the second game in a row, and the former PRP star uses his superior speed to pick up another nice gain. Not a good effort from Renardo Foster (-1).

51. 2nd and 3: UL 34. Shotgun, single back (Smith), twins right. Cantwell throws incomplete, intended for Pat Carter. Hunter shows off his absolute cannon, but Carter (-1) can't hang on for what would have been about an 18-yard gain. Pass interference could have been called, although we never get a better look because ESPN has stopped caring at this point.

52. 3rd and 3: UL 34. Shotgun, single back (Smith), twins left and right. Cantwell throws complete to Chris Vaughn for 17 yards. Hunter (+1) hangs in the pocket until he spots an open Vaughn over the middle. Eric Wood (+1) stands out on the line.

53. 1st and 10: MT 49. Shotgun, single back (Smith), twins right. Cantwell's pass intercepted by Nixon. Hunter (-1) has plenty of time again and simply under throws a streaking Jimmy Riley, allowing the safety to come over and make an easy play.

Eleventh Drive:

54. 1st and 10: MT 44. Ace (Smith), twins left. Cantwell throws incomplete, intended for Gary Barnidge. Play action, Cantwell (-1) again under throws Barnidge, but this time he's bailed out by a phantom pass interference call.

55. 1st and 10: MT 29. Ace (Allen), split wideouts. Anthony Allen runs up the middle for 11 yards. Baby Bush gets his first touch and immediately makes something happen, bouncing off of a couple of guys and picking up a first down.

56. 1st and 10: MT 18. Strong right (Allen), split wideouts, Kuhn motions right. Anthon Allen runs to the right for no gain. Quarterman (-1) misses a block, and gets called for holding, but it doesn't matter because AA got yanked down by his facemask.

57. 1st and 10: MT 18. Strong left (Allen), twins left. Cantwell's pass dropped by Scott Kuhn. Great pick-up by Allen (+1), and good throw by Cantwell (+1), but Kuhn (-1) drops what would have been at least a 15-yard gain.

58. 2nd and 10: MT 18. I-formation (Allen), twins left. Anthony Allen runs to the right for 8 yards. Nice kick-out block by Bolen (+1), and Allen (+1) again shakes off more tackles on his way to picking up another solid chunk of yardage.

59. 3rd and 2: MT 10: Ace (Smith), split wideouts. Kolby Smith runs up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown. Wood (+1), Bussey (+1), and Giacomini (+1) make it happen and Kolby gets the credit in the box score.

Twelth Drive:

Tivo screws up here, so here's the "official"stats from the last drive.

60. L 1-10 L50 Allen, Anthony rush for 3 yards to the MT47 (Jenkins, Trevor).

61. L 2-7 M47 Allen, Anthony (+1) rush for 10 yards to the MT37, 1ST DOWN LOU

62. L 1-10 M37 Allen, Anthony (+1) rush for 18 yards to the MT19, 1ST DOWN LOU

63. L 1-10 M19 Council, Rod rush for loss of 1 yard to the MT20.

64. L 2-11 M20 Allen, Anthony rush for 4 yards to the MT16 (Rainey, Justin).

65. L 3-7 M16 Allen, Anthony (+1) rush for 16 yards to the MT0, 1ST DOWN LOU, TOUCHDOWN

Final Score: Louisville 44, MTSU 17.

Totals

Name + - Total
Hunter Cantwell 17 12 5
Kolby Smith 3 4 -1
Jimmy Riley 1 0 1
Brock Bolen 4 2 2
George Stripling 4 1 3
Breno Giacomini 4 2 2
Harry Douglass 6 0 6
Eric Wood 7 4 3
Gary Barnidge 2 0 2
Deriontae Taylor 3 0 3
Renardo Foster 2 4 -2
Scott Kuhn 3 3 1
Chris Vaughn 1 1 0
Kurt Quarterman 3 2 1
Mario Urrutia 6 2 4
George Bussey 5 2 3
Marcel Benson 1 0 1
JaJuan Spillman 1 0 1
Anthony Allen 5 0 5