So there was Uncle Mo on the IU sideline at the beginning of the second half. He’d changed his garb into a crimson and cream hoodie.
Sharp-eyed observers of the game would have known something would be up. They’d have noticed that he was reaching into his duffle bag after that last play of the 2d Q.
Because what we have here is a classic case that would have been an A+ answer to a question on Professor Chinstrap’s Psych 431 (Coaching Decisions and Game Momentum) final:
Give an example of how duel coaching decisions can totally turn a game around. Extra credit if both benefit the same team.
Totally dominating the interstate rivalry in the opening half, U of L, up 21 zip, got the ball back with :25 on the clock in the 2d.
HC Jeff Brohm called a timeout before 1st down.
Apparently to decide between taking a chance, and throwing deep. Or taking a knee.
The former made sense — to me anyway. The Cardinals have Jamari Thrash, who was breaking open deep with impunity. (And would have had two scores before halftime, had Jack Plummer gotten him the ball long when JT was wide open.)
The latter made less sense. But was somewhat defensible since U of L got the ball to start the 3d Q.
So, one guy’s take, gamble and throw it loooooooong. See what happens.
Brohm, usually wont to double down and raise rather than fold, but was obviously happy with a three TD cushion, folded. Greed might have been good.
Uncle Mo’s change of haberdashery was telling indeed.
Indiana’s Tom Allen got in touch with his inner Sean Peyton, and turned into a ramblin’ gamblin’ man.
The Hoosiers perfectly executed and totally out of the cosmos onside kick gave them first possession after the band’s played.
Brohm said after the game, they knew it was coming. Really? Could have fooled me.
IU’s whole demeanor changed. For the better.
Louisville’s whole demeanor changed. Not for the better.
Three plays and 1:18 later, IU hit paydirt and it was game on.
Louisville’s next drive was the paradigm of discombobulation. A hold nullified a long Plummer to Thrash TD. Then Brock Travelstead’s first punt of the game — he’d already missed a 38 yard FG to end the Cards’ opening drive — traveled all of 18 yards.*
*Last season’s elite Cardinal kicker entered the transfer portal. He’s now kicking for some unknown coach at a school nobody ever pays attention to in Boulder, Colorado.
Fortunately, U of L stemmed the tide. For a bit anyway. Thanks to pass breakups by Ben Perry and Quincy Riley, U of L’s D held.
But soon thereafter, Louisville regifted the energized Hoosiers. Kevin Coleman bobbled a long ball that Plummer delivered right into the basket. IU snared it to secure the pick. Allen came up some more trickeration, but it was an essentially steady thirteen plays and 97 yards later that the margin was trimmed again.
U of L went from 21-0 in total command to 21-14 in total disarray. It seemed closer.
But as ineffectual as Louisville was offensively, the defense bent, bent, bent, showed cracks . . . but didn’t break.
But IU HC Allen, who’d showed an inclination for risk, went conservative at the wrong time.
Fourth and goal at Louisville’s 1/2 yard line, and he called the very first very simplistic play we learned on the JV team. RB off tackle. No fake. No heavyweight to push him into the endzone. A solid surge by Louisville’s iffy DL, allowed Jaylin Alderman and Ben Perry to stand the Hoosier Josh Henderson up.*
*The official running box score credited those two. It has been reported elsewhere that credit was given to others. I haven’t gone to the tape. It was the whole D essentially.
To that moment, Louisville had only 61 yards of total offense in the second half.
There was still 4:38 on the clock. IU had but a single timeout left.
QB Plummer, a steady if unspectacular 13/23 on the day, displayed his major asset on first down. Headiness. He scrambled for 13 yards to get the Cardinals out of what I’m obligated to call “the shadow of their own endzone.”
He also scrambled 20 yards on third and 9, keeping the ball away from Indiana.
Jawhar Jordan did the rest.
He sealed the deal with a July-in-the-weight-room thrust for a game winning new set of downs on a third and five after IU used its last timeout with :56 to play. In the grasp of several defenders, Jordan vaulted forward to secure the line to gain before hitting the turf.
The 21-14 victory was disconcerting.
* * * * *
Because of a religious holy day, I did not to attend the game in Indy.
And thus had to cope with the only entity more out of sorts than U of L’s O in the second half.
The Big Ten Network.
I’ve got Spectrum. BTN has two channels. 528 and 920.
BTN’s own website, on their oft heralded during the telecast Gamefinder, gave the WRONG information, that U of L vs. IU would be on both those channels.
It was only on 528.
Wisconsin/ Georgia Southern was on 920, where I’d advised one and all it would be shown . . . because that’s where the network’s own site said it would be shown.
At the end of the sadly pastrami-on-rye-less day, all was OK.
The game was on.
The Cards hung on, 21-14.
— c d kaplan