I think there was a part of all of us that feared Jack Plummer would eventually cost Louisville a win.
It finally happened.
Against a terrible 1-4 Pitt team, who the Cards were clearly superior to, in a less than half-filled stadium, the Cards found a way to lose. All the warning signs for an upset were still there. The weather was terrible, the playing surface was even worse, and the Cards couldn’t help themselves but shoot themselves in the foot over and over, while Pitt didn’t give the ball away a single time.
The timing of this loss couldn’t be worse, either. All the Cards had to do was beat a terrible Pitt team and go into a bye week 7-0 with the biggest of dreams ahead of them. Instead, they take an awful loss in league play that will have them behind the 8 ball and rooting for everyone else to lose when it comes to ACC Championship hopes.
It’s hard to say where things exactly went wrong. You could point to the referees making multiple questionable calls, or Louisville going for it on fourth down in their own territory coming out of the half which led to a Pitt field goal, or you could point to the multiple turnovers that led to an embarrassing defeat, mostly at the hands of Jack Plummer. Or you could just gesture at all of it and say the Cards did everything wrong to lose this game.
Louisville outgained Pitt 434 to 290 yards. Renato Brown was out due to Pitt’s infamous playing surface, and star running back Jawhar Jordan only saw a handful of plays before being benched for the remainder of the game, presumably due to a lingering injury. The vibes were off, and the result was a reflection of a lot of fears Louisville fans had going into the game.
The thing that will linger and bother fans greatly is the narrative that Jeff Brohm always loses the next game after a big win. He didn’t do much to put that one to rest tonight.
Multiple times Louisville had the opportunity to put their foot down and put this game out of reach, but time and time again they let Pat Narduzzi and his winless-in-conference Pitt team back into the game.
But even when things didn’t go their way, and Louisville still had multiple opportunities to tie the game or regain the lead, it was the unreliable Jack Plummer that ultimately gave the game away. We saw the times in the Indiana and the N.C. State games where Plummer was loose with the ball and it almost cost the team dearly. Ultimately this game was the one where the defense couldn’t do anything about the two picks he threw in Pitt’s redzone, especially the pick-6 dagger.
It’s a sickening feeling to think what this team could have done tonight and could still do if they had an above-average quarterback at the helm. We were fortunate enough to survive nailbiters in spite of Plummer and on the backs of Louisville’s surprisingly strong defense a few times, but tonight is where it all fell apart.
The worst part of this loss, other than sitting in this devastating loss for at least the next two weeks, is that we still have to ride out the rest of the season with a quarterback prone to careless mistakes and losses like this that can happen at any time.
We can only hope that the defense continues to step up and make timely turnovers, and the running game can support this team enough to where Jack Plummer doesn’t have to do anything by himself.
The silver lining is that this is a team sitting at 6-1 with one loss in conference play and could still very much win out. That will largely depend on if Jack Plummer can be serviceable at QB, but there’s still a lot to play for.
Hopefully the team can get healthy and ready for a tough battle ahead of Duke in two weeks, and can get their heads right and refocused for what could be a very challenging conference race.