Throughout Feast Week, the Cardinal Faithful kept asking the same question in various wordings.
“Can we beat the Cats?”
“Will the the Cardinals win Saturday?”
Your scribe’s response was always the same. Presented with an undertone of doubt.
“Of course, the Cards can beat UK.”
Though it remained U of L’s best chance to capture the Governor’s Trophy in years, there were signs to this observer of worry.
Based one supposes on that odd stat that U of L had the most Ws in the country over 7 win teams, the Cardinals snuck into the CFP rankings in the last spot.
Would that gird the Cards, or give them a false sense of security?
It seemed here it would give UK more fodder for the locker room wall.
Kentucky had been mediocre at best of late. Some of that late season doldrums. Some of it due to injuries. But the Wildcats played strong against Georgia.
Then there was the Louisville injury situation. Not to mention that a couple RBs were no longer on the team. Tiyon Evans hadn’t healed. And it was becoming more obvious throughout the week that M Cunningham wouldn’t be close to full strength, if available at all.
A U of L win, as within reach as it seemed to be, appeared a stretch.
So it was.
Kentucky 26, Louisville 13.
* * * * *
At some point during the day, a talking head made a wise observation of Michigan’s smackdown of the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe, pointing out the winner of those big games, just about every game, is the team that dominates the line of scrimmage.
(Though far from an earth shattering observation, I’d still love to advise who said it. But having watched so much pigskin from noon to night, I’ve now a severe case of clicker finger, and the names and faces have blended into each other.)
The Wildcat offensive line dominated the Louisville front, which eventually simply wore down.
Chris Rodriguez 120 yards on 24 carries was more punishing — and obviously more meaningful given the win — than Jawhar Jordan’s 145 on 22 totes. 97 of those in the opening half.
Louisville had 7 missed tackles through the first three quarters. Most by the secondary, which had been playing better of late, but fell back to the norm. Including a key midfield whiff on 70 yard UK completion during its first scoring drive.
* * * * *
Then there was the QB situation.
Brock Domann, the peripatetic journeyman game manager, is a C.
Though his game numbers aren’t strikingly bad — 14/21, 129 yards, TD, pick — he was but 3/8 in the decisive opening half, taking way too long to make his reads, turning it over once on a sack fumble.
Domann did lead a sweet drive late — 10 plays, 75 yards, 5:03 — but it was easy to see by then, Kentucky was just going to run run run, and the clock would run down
Such was BD’s less than inspirational start, Coach Scott Satterfield rolled the dice inserting injured Cunningham before intermission.
Glossy career stats notwithstanding, MC is essentially a B when at his best. Injured as he is, a grade down. At least.
Though he lead U of L to a scoring drive on his second series in, providing a modicum of hope which proved unrequited, it was apparent he was still hurting. His passes were short, and early on all to the left.
Of his three completions in six attempts, the longest was 7 yards. When he did attempt to go long, he was off target, and ill advisedly threw into triple coverage. Pick.
* * * * *
U of L started the season 2-3. Then won 5 of the remaining encounters against the tougher part of the schedule, to finish 7-5.
The Cards will go bowling. They await their assignment.
— c d kaplan