Louisville got things going in the third quarter as they strung together some stops on defense and hit some chunk plays on offense. This was the point in the game where it felt like they started playing with real confidence and the momentum shifted. This is the part of the game when individual players started making more plays. Execution was really good.
This is a very nice pass rush by Ashton Gillotte. Look at where he gets to from his initial step to his next few steps. He sets up the blocker with a straight rush look and then darts inside to get around the blocker. Then you see dip his shoulder just a bit to get past the blocker and brings down Brennan Armstrong.
I’ve been about as critical of Mark Ivey as anyone but his defensive line has played well this year outside of the BC game. Gillotte had been mostly a a guy who just worked hard to get to the quarterback. This play is a sign of real development, in my opinion.
Outside zone just hasn’t been working very well for the Cards this year. Bryan Hudson and Renato Brown both get pushed back behind the line of scrimmage and the guys they are blocking end up closing down the running lane and making the tackle.
I don’t know how they fix this but it’s a key aspect of the offense as they run a lot of play action off of this play. I think they have other options in the playbook to offset the issue in the run game but with play action being such a big part of what they do, they need to get this worked out.
Louisville ran two short pass plays before this play and it helped to set up this outstanding play call for the touchdown. The first throw was an out route to Tyler Hudson and it was followed by a simple stop route by Hudson on the next play. Then they hit Marshon Ford on a fake screen to the short side of the field. A perfect call with perfect execution and they get an easy touchdown.
I’ve been posting any creative play they ran on offense so far and it’s really nice to see them search out easy big plays. This season has been rough to watch on offense because it looks like they have to work so hard to get things going. That wasn’t the case on Saturday.
M.J. Griffin had himself a game and this play is a good example of how he played fast and downhill. Griffin was extremely aggressive against the run and it paid off repeatedly. He just fires off on this play as soon as he sees Armstrong pull it down to run. He takes an angle directly to the ball and then he goes to make the tackle instead of stopping his feet to “catch” Armstrong. He just runs through the play and gets him around the ankle. Give me this any day even if you miss the tackle.
Can’t ignore Deebo Jones taking on his blocker and working hard to get off the block and forcing Armstrong to stop his feet and redirect. That gives Griffin time to make the play.
I think this was the only play that made me rewind and watch again during the game. I couldn’t figure out how Dontayvion Wicks got so wide open. Louisville is playing off coverage with a blitz on fourth and medium. To me, that means that Quincy Riley should be sitting at the sticks to take away this type of route. Instead he backpedals and then turns his hips. He doesn’t have a safety over the top which may explain how he played this but they need these corners to be aggressive in specific situations. Even if he runs a deeproute here, Riley can recover.
Armstrong had a rough outing up until the fourth quarter and this blind deep ball was an example of how he struggled. Jarvis Brownlee is in perfect coverage here as he reads the move off the line and puts himself in a position where he can force the receiver into the sideline. He does just that and cuts off Wicks’ path. He then plays the ball which ensures it won’t be pass interference. Really good coverage here.
Griffin then makes another outstanding play to not only track the ball in the air but to also make a tough catch for an interception. He even gets a foot down to make sure to stay inbounds. He’s on the has at the start of the play but he trusts his speed here because he doesn’t come off the hash until the ball is thrown. About as good as you can play this as a safety.
This was the longest run by a running back on the day. I liked Trevion Cooley bouncing this outside when he saw the hole closing. If these backs are going to improvise, they have to do it with quickness and speed and Cooley does that here. I’m still waiting for Cooley to get in the open field and show off his speed. He still hasn’t fully tapped into his potential.
I’m not sure what it is but the line just got so much more push on these straight ahead blocks as opposed to the stretch runs. They can all move well so it’s not like they aren’t athletic enough. It almost feels like defenders are expecting the outside stuff and they’re beating the blockers to the spot.
This was another very nice throw from Brock Domann. He worked the middle of the field so well throughout this game and I think this was an example of him knowing the coverage and knowing where his guys will be. He initially looks to his right but as UVA is in zone coverage and UofL’s formation is heavy to that side of the field, no one is open. He quickly works back to his left and, with a guy in his face, he lobs a ball across the middle to Hudson.
The play itself clears out the middle of the field with Braden Smith running a post route down the middle. The zone defender responsible for the middle runs with Smith which opens up a massive hole that Hudson runs into. Domann shows some real patience as he takes a second to get his feet set before he lets it loose.
I coudn’t possibly be happier to see Scott Satterfield add this play back into the plan. We haven’t seen it much since Tutu Atwell left and Ahmari Huggins-Bruce seems to be the first player that has earned the trust to run it. He’s not as fast and explosive as Tutu but AHB runs hard and makes people miss pretty well.
This play is also a good example of how one missed assignment can impact a play. Ford doesn’t get his hand on the guy he’s supposed to block and the guy he misses gets a hand on AHB and slows him down. This play isn’t likely getting much more yardage than it does so it’s not a big deal. But it’s worth pointing out.
Caleb Chandler and Byran Hudson end up three yards into the endzone on this play but watch Luke Kandra at right guard. He has to block a guy who is shaded off of Hudson’s right side and he not only keeps him out of the play but he gets his head and body across the defender to wall him off from the play. This is great effort and it’s exactly what they need in these short-yardage runs. This team hasn’t been able to muscle up and clear these types of running lanes very well at all so this is really nice to see.
Trevor Reid also handles his block really well to open up this lane. If they can do this on a regular basis, it takes the pressure off of Malik to have to make plays at the goal line. It also changes how Satterfield can call plays down here. We saw earlier in the game where they had to settle for a field goal because they couldn’t run the ball like this.
It’s been really rough watching Tre Clark this year as he has just not been able to make the plays we’re used to seeing him make. This was about the sixth catch that Keytaon Thomspon had in the slot and I think they were all on Clark. He was credited with a PBU in this game but I don’t remember seeing it. Outside of that he only has his TFL against South Florida (which was impressive) as any stat outside of tackles. PFF has him as the lowest graded secondary starter for UofL even though he hasn’t given up any big plays this season. He’s also being targeted more than anyone else which means teams are starting to take notice.
I’m still hopeful that he can snap out of it and get back to being the player that we’re used to seeing. Maybe it’s his move to playing in the slot but he hasn’t fared much better when he has been lined up outside. even if UofL can cut down on the explosive plays, teams will start moving the ball on these types of short passes if they can’t stop them.