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Seedy K’s GameCap: Duke

Well then. Now that’s what you might call a pretty solid performance.

OK, delete the word “might.”

Totally controlling the game from opening kickoff, the 7-1 Louisville Cardinals skunked Duke, 23-0.

It was kind of a joyously boring football game.

And ain’t that fun. Despite the inclemency.

There are times when the bug gets you, times when it’s buzzin’ on the other sideline.

Talking about Arthropoda Insecta Musca Injuriousica.

The injury bug.

It now becomes even clearer how the absence of Jawhar Jordan and Renato Brown impacted Louisville’s lackluster performance against Pitt. Though it wasn’t the only reason U of L was crushed in that one. Visions of Notre Dame were still floating in their brains.

Nor was the spate of Blue Devil injuries Saturday afternoon the sole reason for the Cardinals’ domination. But it was a significant factor.

Riley Leonard was obviously not his full self. 6/12 in the opening half. Just two completions in the second until his 3d and last, the 47 yarder on his last series of the game. (Which was honestly U of L’s singular bad defensive play of the entire beatdown.)

Duke starting LT Graham Barton didn’t even suit up. Their other OL stalwart Jacob Monk kept getting hurt. Plus, it seemed like there was a timeout every fourth play with a Dukie down on the turf being tended to.

So, yeah, that vexing bug taketh away. And it giveth. At least, helpeth.

* * * * *

Lest you think I’m not going to give credit where it’s due . . .

. . . How About Ron English’s DEFENSE?!?!?!!!!

The visitors were throttled.

Held to nine 1st downs.

Only 202 total yards.

Had to use seven punts.

2/14 on 3d and 4th downs.

Cards’ D had a pick, Gilbert Frierson’s, 4 sacks, 6 TFLs and 5 break ups.

It was total control.

Such that heralded Blue Devil coach Mike Elko cried “uncle” early. Several times, when his squad was “arguably” still in the game, he punted on 4th and short. Twice Jeff Brohm was wary of a fake, calling timeout to make sure his special team D was alert.

Of course, Elko also saw his receivers drop at least a half dozen catchable balls. Before the rain started. And he surely noticed his RBs averaged but 2.4 ypc.

* * * * *

On the other side of the ball, Louisville came out strong from its opening drive.

Ten plays. 72 yards. Jordan for the last 11 by himself, then aided by Michael Gonzalez and Eric Miller on the push to cross the final 3 into paydirt.

JJ scooted for 48 of his career high 163 (7.8 ypc) on that opening scoring attack.

The Mature Game Managing NIL Billboard Worthy Jack Plum(b)mer showed up. He was 3/3 on that opening possession, 8/12 at intermission, 11/16 on the game.

He had no picks.

The Cardinals didn’t fumble.


Jamari Thrash had 7 grabs in 9 targets for 73 yards.

* * * * *

The kicking game?


On kickoffs, Brock Travelstead put it in touchback territory every time but once.

He was 3/3 on FGs.

Backup Brady Hodges averaged 43 yards on his 3 punts.

* * * * *

My favorite sequence of the game was Louisville’s opening drive of the second half. One that shouted to Duke, “Don’t even think about a quick stop and score and get back in the game.”

U of L’s imprimatur stamping thrust lasted 7:28 of clock time, half the quarter, 14 plays, 72 yards. And, though it didn’t matter in the end, would more than likely have ended in a TD, had Jordan not been pulled in the Red Zone for a breather.

My favorite play, the fake flea flicker, where Jordan kept it for 11 yards on Louisville’s last scoring drive.

* * * * *

Bottom Line: 23-0 over a Top 25 foe.

— c d kaplan