Two of the hardest aspects of a team's performance to quantify statistically are discipline and focus.
You can get a sense of it generally, but specific numerical confirmation remains elusive.
Yet every once in awhile a line jumps from the statistics page, which verifies a team came ready to play.
Such was the case during U of L's 52-7 dismantlement of Boston College in Chestnut Hill.
No inadvertent holds. No false starts. No late hits. No woofing. No illegal blocks. No impeding receivers.
Zero penalty yards.
So rare is that the case that it's happened but three times in U of L pigskin history. The last time was during an otherwise forgettable 22-19 Cardinal W over Cincy on September 22, 1979. The other two occasions came in '60 and '52.
So impressive do I, for one, find that stat, I will not dwell on the eight TFLs and two sacks surrendered by the Cardinals still iffy OL to the Eagles good but not that good D. (Though, obviously awaiting consistent Final Four quality play from the Big Uns up front, the guys charged with protecting Heisman hopeful Lamar Jackson, I had to mention those numbers.)
No penalties. For only the third time in U of L football history.
Good work, Cardinals.
* * * * *
Allow me now to praise James Quick.
You know who I'm referring to, the five star receiver from Trinity, whom I spent significant verbiage dissing for his performance last time out in Charlottesville.
LJ threw to Quick three times early. The former Shamrock deftly cradled a toss from LJ for the Cards second TD. And made it look easy on a 10 yard crossing route from ten yards out to put Louisville up 28-0.
But the best hookup came during the drive that put the Cards up 35-0. On a 2d & 10 from the Cards' 45 yard line, Jackson bullseyed Quick on an interior post (skinny post?) for a 38 yard gain. Beautifully thrown pass, but one that required Quick to stretch out with maximum focus (there's that word again) and intensity to haul it in. Which JQ did.
1st & 10 in the Red Zone.
Actually both LJ and his entire receiving corps were locked in.
Jackson went 12/17 for 231 and four scores. (And his backup Kyle Bolin was 7/12 himself in mop up duty.)
Jaylen Smith grabbed 6 of the 8 balls thrown his way. Jeremy Smith was 2/2, Cole Hikutini 2/3, etc, etc. Ten players had a grab.
* * * * *
Listening to the halftime reports and post game shows and periodic updates, it's not being a homer to say that the nation's pundits remain smitten with Lamar Jackson.
Seven touchdowns. Three by land. Four by air.
At the end of the third Q, when LJ retired for the afternoon, Louisville had accumulated 461 yards in total offense. Jackson was responsible for 416 of those.
To this observer, his most Heisman-worthy photo maneuver of the season is no longer the leapfrog at Syracuse, but the fake to Brandon Radcliff, stop, change direction and go move he made right up the gut of the BC D for 53 yards and Louisville's final tally. It's a perfect example of his field vision, instinct and ability to feint and find the open seam.
* * * * *
Todd Grantham's defense registered 3 sacks, 9 TFLs, 2 fumble recoveries and an interception.
When on the field, they controlled the game throughout, except for that single burp on the Eagles' scoring screen pass.
Plus they assured that poor BC QB Patrick Towles, formerly of the University of Kentucky Wildcats, shall suffer Red & Black nightmares for the rest of his life. His record remains Ofer U of L.
* * * * *
ESPN play by play guy Jason Benetti, recognizing concern by the Cardinal faithful, personalized the call when Jackson returned to action, after spending time in the medical tent.
"Good news for the folks on Bardstown Road."
Color man Kelly Stouffer was somewhat less than precise trying to get poetic when describing LJ's running acumen.
"It's like trying to catch a feather in a gust of wind."
* * * * *
It was a scintillating Cardinal performance.
But I gotta tell ya. No flags. I'm still smilin' about that.
Next: Wake Forest at home.
-- Seedy K