“Defense go brrrr” - someone in the student section that’s cooler than me
Let’s start the fun with Kei’Trel Clark making my favorite type of play in football. There is nothing better than a corner jumping a route and taking it to the house. There is a quick buildup when you see it coming and then when the corner catches the ball, it’s instant euphoria. I’ve been waiting for a corner to make a play like this for UofL for a while now and this play delivered for me.
I thought this was another play that showed how Louisville has improved when it comes to giving up big plays. How many times have we seen this play turn into a big play because of a missed tackle? Bryan Brown hasn’t been leaving guys on their own nearly as often but this is Tre Clark in space and he has to make this tackle. Monty Montgomery and Yasir Abdullah would likely chase this down, but I thought it was important to see this play being made when this team struggled so much with its tackling early in the season.
I’m not sure who got credit for this sack, but Mason Reiger deserves some love for beating two blocks to get home. He runs right by the right tackle and then pushes the running back to the side like it was nothing. I’ve been critical of Mark Ivey for not recruiting or developing his guys. Reiger having to be relied on as a former walk-on was part of my reasoning for the criticism. But this dude has shown that he has legit talent and he has only improved since he started getting snaps last year.
Yasir Abdullah has been playing out of his mind over the last three games and this play is such a good highlight to show his get off. He just runs right past the left tackle here on a straight rush. I really liked this play because he has shown all of the different ways he can rush the passer recently but his pure speed really hasn’t shown up yet. It’s very obvious on this play.
As I clipped these plays it really stood out that UofL didn’t bring a lot of guys but it was also good to see how often they switched up coverages. They are in man coverage here with two linebackers playing short zone in the middle of the field. The off coverage is important too because they lined up this way in man and in zone. It had to be hard for Sam Hartman to get a read on the coverages before the snap. I think that helped lead to some of his hesitation with the ball.
UofL has had issues in each game where they just don’t match up from a numbers/balance standpoint on defense. wake motions the running back to the left which puts four guys on that side of the field versus just one receiver on the short side. Three of the players to the left side have outside leverage on the two closest defenders. That’s just math and they get beat by math here.
The defense is playing out of this world over the last three games and they had dominant performances against UCF and USF. However, this is the type of stuff that you can fix that doesn’t depend on talent or actual play. This is just lining up right and reacting to what the offense shows you. They end up with more than half of the defense on the right side of the initial point where the ball was snapped.
Jared Dawson with an outstanding pass rush here. He gets himself into a great spot and then he pulls out a great rip move to pull the offensive lineman off balance and then he gets his arms up to knock the ball out. He literally has the lineman tackling him as he makes this play.
I’ve been so impressed by Dawson’s play this year. He made the big play last week to push the center into the running back to set up a TFL for Yasir. He has been consistent with his play and he joins a few other of the other rotation guys on the defensive line that have made a big difference in the play of the defense.
This is a picture perfect play by Malik Cunningham and Tyler Hudson. Malik gets to the top of his drop and shows off great footwork to hitch up into the pocket and then get back on balance to step into a big throw from the opposite hash to nearly the numbers. It’s year six so I won’t beat a dead horse but this is obviously what they need from him consistently.
Hudson runs a very nice route here as he throws a shoulder fake at the top of the route and then breaks down and works his way back to the ball just enough to get some space. Malik puts this up in a spot that makes it hard for a defensive back to get to it but Hudson does his part by walling off the defender and making a strong catch. It’s rarely sexy, but the passing game looks good when it’s on.
We’ve been waiting for this type of play from one of the running backs all season and Tiyon Evans delivered it after getting healthy. This zone running scheme is not always just “run left or run right” as it is described at times. It’s about finding a running lane and a lot of times that’s a cutback lane like we see here.
Evans does such a great job of “seeing it” as they say and he throttles down for just a second before he takes off into space and runs away from everyone. It’s hard to know if this type of lane has been there for the other backs, but if the opportunity presents itself, they have to take advantage.
I also enjoyed watching the offense line block this up as they did. Trevor Reid locks out the backside. Caleb Chandler and Bryan Hudson push the defensive tackle back into the middle linebacker. The right side of the line own their blocks and clear everything out. Then you have Hudson keeping his guy out of the play that was going the other direction. A nice effort from the guys up front and Evans is never touched.
Louisville drops eight again on this play and the linebackers do a good job of making this throwing window tight but also squeezing in on the receiver once the ball is thrown. This ball should have been caught but the reason why you want to be tight in coverage is that you never know what can happen and you want to be there when something does happen.
Monty Montgomery gets his second interception off of a tipped ball this year and then he makes the most of it with a lateral to Josh Minkins to return it for a near touchdown. This was the moment in the game for me when I realized something insane was happening. Not just the interception but the lateral working as well as it did. Things were obviously going in Louisville’s way and something special was happening.
After Malik’s touchdown run, Wake started trying to do some things they hadn’t done all game. Here they roll Hartman out to hopefully make the throws easier but Chandler Jones is right there to make the play. Execution has been such a factor in the improvement of the defense the last few weeks and Jones going up to get this PBU is something I don’t know that we have seen him do for a while now. He stays calm and makes an easy play to slap the ball down.
We’ve seen some guys that have been playing very inconsistently turn it up and start to be reliable players for this defense and I hope it continues.
Six-foot-seven and three hundred pounds. That’s what Caleb Banks is listed at and he gets around this edge like he’s an undersized defensive end. Banks gets into the left tackle’s pads and then he rips through and gets his shoulder turned. It’s lights out at that point as he uses his burst to close on Hartman and get the strip sack.
This was another four-man pressure where Louisville brings an outside rusher from the field side and relies on the defensive end to the short side to beat the left tackle. It was genuinely shocking how easy this was at times for Bryan Brown. Put a guy at right end and make sure everyone is covered in the back end. Hartman reacts to the pressure in his face and the right end gets home.
Louisville scores on a trick play to go up big at the end of the third quarter and this is the effort their getting from one of their veterans. Tre Clark could start to slack off or take the easy route here and just play contain and force the receiver inside after the catch. Instead, he fires off at the snap from seven yards away and blows up the play.
Louisville played off coverage all game and Wake finally tried to take advantage of it by running a quick screen. But, Clark closes on it quickly and shows that they can play any alignment in the back end and still make plays like this. They’ll need this type of play against James Madison as they like to run some of this quick stuff.
This is your weekly “Ben Perry Appreciation Clip”. So nice to have him making this type of play in coverage at the Card position.
No need for any words here other than to point out just how fast Quincey Riley is moving once he gets going. He absolutely takes off at the 25-yard line. Also, Riley looks exactly like Teddy Bridgewater and I hope that you know can’t unsee it just like I can’t.