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Virginia Film Review: Second Quarter

Louisville failed to get much of anything going on offense.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The second quarter for Louisville was very similar to the first quarter. The offense couldn’t sustain anything and they couldn’t run the ball in short yardage situations. The defense figured things out just in time in each drive and forced field goals. You can find the film review for the first quarter here.


The first thing that popped in my head when I watched this play was “I can’t remember the last time they ran the ball”. This was a bad throw where Malik Cunningham just didn’t see the defender. He’s young and he made a young guy mistake. It was another situation where every route was down the field and it didn’t work. Again.


Another really nice play up front this time by Jared Goldwire. He beats his man to the spot and gets his body turned. The point of that is to make yourself tougher to block. It’s a lot harder to block someone’s side as opposed to their chest. Goldwire gets his shoulder into the blocker and blows the play up.


Louisville has been in desperate need for some good cornerback play this year and Cornelius Sturghill comes up big here. The UVA receiver tries to bully him off of his route but Sturghill matches him pretty well and then uses his closing speed to get to the receiver as he catches the ball. This goes down in the stat sheet as just a tackle, but you can see that there is more to it than just that.


This was the best run of the game. Trey Smith became the third running back to play and showed some things that I think earned him the starting spot in fall camp. He hits the hole quickly while also showing good vision to see the cutback lane. He also makes the first guy miss. It’s also nice to see Cole Bentley get to his man on the second level.

This play is designed to go off tackle to the right based on how the blocks play out. It’s good to see Smith identify this lane. Dae Williams did the same against WKU. The idea that UofL “can’t” doesn’t seem to be accurate. They have two backs that have shown the ability to get yardage and they have other guys that are capable enough to spell them at times.


Louisville followed that Trey Smith run with another run, two short passes, a run that went for four yards, and then this play. This is what the offense should be in my opinion. The big plays will come with time but you can’t just force them to happen. If you don’t run the ball or throw the ball in front of the sticks, the defense has no reason to play closer to the line of scrimmage. You have to do that first before you try to throw it down the field.


As much as I will advocate for an offense that works to get the offense in third and manageable situations, the third and short plays have been abysmal. On this play, Mandy Alonso (#91) just owns Bentley and pushes him into the backfield. Chris Peace (#13 top of the screen) punches Tyler Haycraft in the mouth and bends him back. Lukayus McNeil does everything so slow that Adonis Boone actually comes to complete his block (solid pancake by him). But, the lane closes because Bentley is in it.

This is a play where Louisville’s options at running back prove to be less than what you would desire. Dae Williams needs to see this more quickly and bounce outside. Who knows if Haycraft holds his block or if Kemari Averett does the same but his final step here should be a jump cut outside instead of a step into the line.


This was the next play and it’s another play call that extends a short yardage play into a longer play. Malik boots off of the play action and he’s 10 yards from the sticks at the height of his drop. That means that if everyone is covered, the offense is now essentially going for it on fourth and ten with an unblocked run. It doesn’t make sense because it just makes it harder to get the first down.

Malik misses Jordan Davis on this play because he wasn’t decisive enough. First, it’s something that keeps happening and I feel like a broken record. Second, it’s what you expect from a freshman quarterback. He should have hit him as soon as he got his head around. A second later and 6-7 Charles Snowden is in the passing lane and Malik is trying to run for 10 yards.


This is the play that UVA had to sub their backup in for. The defense should be expecting run here even though it’s a four-wide set. The call is a blitz with a linebacker and nickel. For whatever reason, they end up with the same target point and one move shakes both of them at the same time. At the very least this should have been a shorter gain. P.J. Blue needs to secure this open field tackle but because he doesn’t it turns into a long gain.


Louisville's defense really played well in the red zone on Saturday. They didn’t do much to stop UVA from getting there, but overall they did a very good job against interior runs and that was amplified as the field got smaller. They forced a third down by stopping two inside runs and Cornelius Sturghill does a great job here to keep fighting and getting his hand in there to break up the pass. Sturghill made two very nice plays in coverage in the first half on third downs.


I would pay good money to find out what the plan was here going into halftime. Louisville got a nice kick return and started the drive with 2:16 on the clock and three timeouts. This is the sequence of plays that were called:

First down: Swing pass to Jeremy Smith. Smith catches the ball with three defenders in front of him and doesn’t run out of bounds for some reason.

Second down, 1:48 on the clock: Read option play that doesn’t work.

Third down, 1:13 on the clock: Pass play. Line doesn’t block anyone on the left side and Malik runs out of bounds to stop the clock.

That’s the two minute drill for this offense. There isn’t a single good thing I can say about that sequence. From the coaching decisions to the decisions of the players on the field.