Let’s set aside for a moment all the disaffection, defections, lack of depth, imperfections and other impediments that faced this 2019 edition of the Louisville Football Cardinals coming into the season. Those issues that were discussed and rehashed ad nauseam, those opinions and realities that informed the abundance of dire projections for any success.
They are but distant memories, given the reality that the consistently resilient Cardinals have won 7 games of the 11 they have contested, have finished in 2d place in the Atlantic Division of the ACC behind only mighty Clemson, and are but one potential victory over Arch Rival to match the winning total in the last year when that squad was led by the most transcendent player in all of contemporary football, Lamar Jackson.
Let’s simply consider what the Cards overcame Saturday in the type of grisly, misty, chilling weather, when one might have been caused to muse, Did the ACC at the last minute move the battle against Syracuse to London, when U of L conquered the visiting Orange, 56-34.
They overcame a really stupid unnecessary roughness penalty after a drive stop, which kept alive the possession for Syracuse’s first TD.
They overcame an illegal motion penalty on the ensuing possession, that ended a chance to immediately answer that score.
They overcame allowing two ‘Cuse TDs on consecutive drives that took but 1:24 total. A 2 play 58 yard drive, ending in a 45 yard scoring run. Followed by the visitors covering 63 yards in 3 plays in :48 to pull them within two scores at 42-27.
They overcame giving up an 81 yard gain on a screen pass when there were 3 missed tackles (Seedy K’s count) or 6 missed tackles (Smart Guy’s count).
They overcame some serious yardage giveaways on kickoffs.
They overcame Micale Cunningham’s single mistake in an otherwise magnificent effort, an ill advised duck of a throw that was picked.
They overcame blown coverages on several ‘Cuse scores.
And, as if it was deja vu over again, they overcame the loss of possession on an onside kick, when the visitors were penalized for an offside infraction, and forced to rekick deep.
Operative Phrase: They overcame.
They overcame, because . . .
Because on the series after that long Orange screen pass gainer, when the game was still in doubt, and the visitors had the ball 1st and Goal at the Cardinal 3, the defense held the vanquished on downs.
On the final play of that series, Bryan Brown’s and Cort Dennison’s D rushed 3 and had 8 in coverage, so when a throw was caught, the receiver was covered by three Cards with no where to run. Yasir Abdullah was credited with the tackle but his mates were right there.
Because of several brilliant stops by Rodjay Burns, as well as Amonte Caban’s sack on a ‘Cuse possession in the 2dQ. And Malik Clark’s and Dayna Kinnard’s huge sack on the next possession.
Because when they needed to, the Defense tightened up.
Because U of L’s Offensive Line gave up No Sacks.
Because Marshon Ford scored, and paved the way with blocks on other scores, and generally played like a ***** instead of a one time walk on.
Because Tutu Atwell is the fastest man on the planet, save for Usain Bolt.
Because on the Cards last possession, which started with 6:34 still left, they made Woody and Bo proud with a smashmouth, husko gordo, ram the pigskin down their throats, game sealing drive. Javian Hawkins for 3 yards. Hawkins for 7 yards. Hawkins for 4 yards. Hawkins for 7 yards. Hawkins for 8 yards. Hawkins for 47 yards. Hawkins for 4 yards.
Then the whipped cream and cherry on this sundae of a victory, another sign, as if we needed any that Coach Scott Satterfield, beneath that good ol’ boy exterior, is a fierce competitor, a 14 yard Micale Cunningham to Tutu Atwell TD toss.
Because when they needed to , the Offensive Line did the deal.
Because that allowed Micale Cunningham to complete 11/20 for 238 yards and FIVE touchdowns. And allowed Javian Hawkins to rush for 236 yards on 23 carries.
* * * * *
It is at moments like these, that I shall not apologize for such an adulatory view of Saturday’s W, and this season.
Louisville is a seriously flawed team. The Cards make mistakes. A lot of mistakes on both sides of the ball.
Buuuuuuuuuuuut, Scott Satterfield and his staff fashioned a coaching performance of incredible magnitude, unlike any in the history of this program, or in the nation this season.
This band of Cardinals have played to the maximum of their abilities.
Whether this team beats Arch Rival, or prevails in its bowl game, or not, this is a season to be savored.
-- Seedy K