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Louisville defeats James Madison, 34-10

Cards Escape Trap Game

NCAA Football: James Madison at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

For all the credit that Vince Tyra was given for his handling of the men’s basketball program’s FBI scandal and his election to take the IARP route for the program’s review process, one area most fans may not be happy with is his scheduling of then FCS powerhouse James Madison for this year’s “buy game.” We knew James Madison would be a handful even at the FCS level, but with the Dukes’ ascension to the FBS level this year, including their debut in the AP Top-25 a few weeks ago, the idea of scheduling this opponent as Louisville’s “cupcake” seemed more and more ill-advised as the game approached. Even as the game approached, the betting line continued to move towards JMU. Originally opening at -9 Louisville, the line eventually closed at -6.5 Louisville.

Luckily, despite the difficult scheduling and the challenge the Dukes posed, the Cardinals were able to escape JMU Saturday night and increase their win streak to four wins for the first time since Lamar Jackson’s Heisman season in 2016.

In the first half the Dukes were as difficult as most Louisville fans feared. They were able to be physical on both sides of the ball and take the game to half time with the score tied. However, in the second half the team with deeper depth and more talent was able to pull ahead.

The first time Louisville was really able to flash its superiority was with Tiyon Evans’ 71-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter. While Louisville’s running back depth has been on display all season, Evans showed the reason why he’s the starter as he displayed his excellent vision and discipline as he found a hole and burst for the longest touchdown run of the season.

From there the Cardinals continued to lean on the impressive, but thinner G5 team. The Cards were able to hold the Dukes scoreless in the second half and pile on 24 unanswered points. One of the highlights in the beginning of the fourth quarter was when Malik was able to climb the pocket with pressure around him and deliver a strike to Tyler Hudson for a touchdown. We will need him to continue that type of play if we’re going to see more wins in these last three games.

Late in the fourth quarter there was a controversial play as Malik Cunningham was ushered out of bounds by #44 Taurus Jones. Malik and Jones were tied up after the play and there was a scuffle between the two teams that resulted in personal fouls being assessed to both teams after lengthy reviews. Louisville continued their possession in the JMU redzone and went for it on fourth down. The Cards successfully converted the fourth down play and scored an 11-yard touchdown pass to Amari Huggins-Bruce to seal the win. Not sure Satterfield would have gone for the touchdown there if not for the JMU shenanigans prior to the play. Love seeing Satterfield put his foot down there.

ouisville would ultimately shut the game down after that touchdown and run the clock out to escape what was looking like a potential scare from a team most Louisville circled as a trap game this season.

Great to see the Cardinals take care of business and earn bowl eligibility with three games left in the season. The Cards may be on the CFP committee’s board this week and may earn a ranking ahead of a matchup in Death Valley against a vulnerable looking Clemson Tigers team who just lost to the unranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Should be a lot of fun to see this team continue its momentum and try to beat the Tigers for the first time since joining the ACC.

Go Cards!