It appeared — to my untrained eyes anyway — that Jeff Brohm’s game plan against Virginia was based on a single premise.
That U of L was just better than the Cavaliers.
That a simple game plan, a legit one given the Cardinals recent trajectory, would suffice — run the ball, play dominating defense — then take a day off and prepare for Miami.
If it is true, that attitude filtered down to the squad, which competed with a somewhat blasé attitude.
Until the season was about to fall apart against feisty UVa and their precocious QB, who looks like he should be studying for his driver’s test.
Two sequences in the opening half — during which the D extended it’s No TD Allowed streak to ten — underline my premise.
A 3 & out on the Cards first drive, when they’ve usually been aces.
Jawhar Jordan, on a swing route, blithely running out of bounds. He was uncovered, and could have done the proverbial waltz into the endzone had he simply stayed on the football field.
Which possession ended scoreless after a botched snap a FG play.
The D held strong.
The D’Angelo Hutchinson punt block/ Jimmy Calloway score was big.
But masked the Cards inefficiency, lack of energy and focus.
14-0 at the half was but the beginning.
* * * * *
The 3d Q opened similarly. Devin Neal did his Tre White imitation pilfering the ball after a completion for a pick on UVa’s first drive.
Then a missed FG.
Then the Wahoos brought it.
Virginia TD. 14-7.
Jack Plummer surrendering a pick six on the opening play of ensuing possession.
3 & out.
Followed by Malik Washington’s alert scoop & score.
(My hope is Perris Jones is in your prayers. He shall be in mine.)
Bam. With 16:05 to play, Cards were down 14-21 to the worst team in the league.
Season on the brink.
* * * * *
At which juncture the Louisville Cardinals did what winning teams do.
They buckled up.
Kicking a FG to cut the deficit with 11:15 to go was a mature decision.
Allowing just a FG on Virginia’s next was just as huge.
17-24 with 7:54 to play.
* * * * *
The D returned to shutdown mode the rest of the way.
UVa returned to its norm. Like that offensive face mask. Like nullifying a 15 yard advantage after a Cardinal tally with an unsportsmanlike penalty of their own.
Big Cardinal plays ensued.
Plummer to wide open and alone Ahmari Huggins-Bruce for a 52 yard scoring strike to knot it at 24.
Isaac Guerendo untouched on a counter for a 73 yard game winner.
Take a few days off.
Prepare for Miami.
— c d kaplan