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Three Quick Thoughts: Louisville 34, Florida International 3

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Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

1. I don't think this was the effort any of us were looking for.

Louisville covered the spread and won by the impressive final margin of 34-3, but no one who watched all four quarters (and God bless all of us who did) could have possibly come out of the experience feeling great about the Cards' chances of making significant waves in the ACC next month. Will Gardner was less than stellar again, the U of L offensive line looked (at best) the same as they did last week against Virginia, and then to top everything off, both Gardner and L.J. Scott had to leave the game with injuries.

Louisville's four touchdowns came on three big plays (one on defense) and one sustained drive. The Cardinal defense was again outstanding, but it's worth mentioning in the same sentence that FIU is atrocious. As for Gardner, he once again put forth a performance that lacked a single throw which made you go, "wow." He had a handful of big gainers to wide open receivers, and then one big play where he basically threw a jump ball and let James Quick go make a play. The line certainly didn't do him any favors, but if Gardner really wants to prove that he can be "the guy" this year, I think he has to give the appropriate performance next Saturday against Wake.

2. James Quick and Gerod Holliman were stars.

It feels like we've heard about the incredible practice Gerod Holliman for a decade now, but we're finally getting to see that guy on the field in actual games. Holliman made a handful of key plays on defense and picked off two passes -- returning one for a score -- to spearhead yet another impressive effort from the Cardinal defense. Holliman now has five interceptions in four games, the most of any player in college football.

Quick also gave the type of monster performance that Louisville fans had been envisioning since the day he committed, catching seven passes for 174 yards and a pair of scores. He also provided some much-needed excitement to the punt return game, bringing out seven kicks for a total of 61 yards.

If you're looking for one major bright spot from today's performance, the individual efforts from these two is it.

3. Dyer debuts, but running game struggles

Louisville finished the afternoon/evening with 12 total rushing yards. That is not good, especially the weakest remaining opponent on your schedule.

Michael Dyer made his 2014 debut and showed some flashes of brilliance early, but ultimately finished with just 16 yards on eight carries. Brandon Radcliffe (8 carries, 26 yards) and Dominique Brown (7 carries, 17 yards) didn't fare much better.

I get that the weather was bad and the delays and lack of crowd made this all sort of a weird experience, but obviously this is something that can't happen again if U of L wants to have success. I suppose if you're Petrino and company, the move now is not only to examine the tape and harp on the areas of improvement, but to convey the message to the team that they need to sort of throw this game and this effort away. It was a weird atmosphere filled with weird situations, and I think everyone involved is pretty much just happy that it's over.

The biggest victory for all of us today is that the FIU series is over. It was not a pleasant four year experience.

More coming.