Let me start by taking credit for this victory. In the second half I sat in the same spot, left my phone in the other room, and I refrained from urinating despite the immense amount of pain I was in. These are the sacrifices that we all must make in order to win, and I wouldn’t have done anything different.
In all seriousness, though, what a freaking way to win.
Just as you wouldn’t have been able to convince me prior to last week that Syracuse would have been able to blow us out, you also would not have been able to convince me that Bryan Brown and his defense would pitch a shutout in the second half against UCF and win the game.
Both are equally as absurd and one is significantly more fun than the other and I’m glad we’re celebrating that one tonight.
This game was certainly a “tale of two halves” so let’s break things down that way:
The offense opened things up by marching down the field and putting 7 points on the board. We wouldn’t see them find the endzone until two minutes left in the third-quarter. We saw the offense dissolve into it’s usual mistakes of predictability, bad penalties, and missed assignments.
The rushing on second-and-longs has to be addressed. Some people (me) are now dubbing these plays as #2ndAndSatterfield. The amount of times we ran straight into the line on second and long to make a not great situation worse is something that the media need to ask Satterfield about again. It’s been going on for far too long and is so predictable and consistently ineffective.
The defense also wasn’t great at the start. The Golden Knights looked like they were going to run all over us all night, and it even had people on twitter begging the question of why on earth would UCF pass the ball at all. According to @ESPNStatsInfo, the Golden Knights gained 8.1 yards per play and had six 15+ yard plays through their first three drives.
And it looked like Louisville was going to be in for another night of swiss cheese defense and a lot of points, until it didn’t…
'85 Bears— Mike Rutherford (@CardChronicle) September 10, 2022
Tweet says it all.
Where the hell did these guys come from?
Just look at what this defense did after UCF took a 14-7 lead with 11:31 left in the second quarter:
UCF's drives after scoring to go up 14-7 at 11:31 in the second quarter. pic.twitter.com/cjPUg53TV4— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) September 10, 2022
For once we saw Louisville consistently putting pressure on the QB, and you’ll be stunned to find out that it worked.
Maybe a little too well, I might add. Even at the slightest hint of pressure John Rhys Plumlee was erratic with his throws and couldn’t find his receivers.
But what blew me away the most was the way the defensive line stepped up and slowed the running game down. Limiting Isaiah Bowser to just 51 yards was huge and it only made things more difficult for Plumlee on passing downs.
The offense still left a lot to be desired, but Malik did find some rhythm in the second half with his passing game, and the coaches allowed him to be himself and stretch things out with his legs. The first down conversion he had deep in UCF territory was huge, until it got called back on a questionable holding penalty on Tyon Evans.
Speaking of calls: what a sloppy night for both teams. 23 combined penalties for over 200 yards was an ugly sight. And it wasn’t made any prettier by some of the wild calls the refs had. There was the iffy holding call on UCF that brought back their touchdown pass, there was the downright wrong call on Evans, and there was the outrageous overturning of the targeting call. Just not a great night for the officiating crew or either team tonight.
And with all of the wild calls I was 99% certain that the Brownlee interception in the back of the endzone was going to be overturned into a UCF touchdown. Thankfully that wasn’t the case.
But let’s backtrack a little bit to the controversial 4th down call by Scott Sattefield. With under six minutes left and following a questionable running-into-the-kicker call (should have been roughing), Satterfield put his offense out on 4th-and-4 presumably to try and draw the defense offsides or force a UCF timeout. And it worked! Gus Malzahn spent one of his timeouts to leave the Golden Knights with just two in the case that Louisville got the ball back and tried to eat the clock. So Satterfield accepted his small victory and sent the punting team back out to let the dominant defense go to work, right?
Instead, in a decision that will likely have Louisville fans split, Satterfield put the offense back out to go for it on 4th-and-4 from the UofL 47-yard line. Malik rolled out right with Marshon Ford just ahead of him and just when you though Malik was going to tuck the ball and run he tossed it to Ford who had to twist around to grab the ball and he dropped it.
I’ve already seen some fans say they liked the aggressiveness to try and win the game right there, and I’ll agree the play call was a good one that should have worked, but with how well the defense was playing I think that was the one time you let Bryan Brown try to end the game deep in UCF territory. Interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on this.
But in the end the defense came up big on two more UCF drives and sealed the game with a turnover on downs.
Just awesome to see and super happy for the guys and Bryan Brown to have a night like this. Especially after getting the news that DL Jermayne Lole is out for the season. Huge night for them. It’s been a while.
I know some fans are only more frustrated with the Syracuse loss after seeing the way the team came together tonight, and others are already looking ahead to the home opener against the Seminoles, but before we let ourselves do any of that let’s all enjoy a wild Friday night victory that we’ll get to ride all weekend long.
The team deserves it. Y’all deserve it. Go Cards.
(look very closely above the “F” for a good laugh)