It is obviously difficult to pick nits — or clean the burrs out of your shoes — when your team beats a conference foe with four touchdown 56-28 dispatch.
Yes, I’m most pleased, as I’m sure most of the Cards’ fans are.
But there are reasons for concern, mostly on the defensive side of the ball.
* * * * *
But, first there’s these smile inducing observations.
In the first half, the Cards had six possessions. They scored six touchdowns.
To quote Ed Kallay, long time Louisville play by play guy a long time ago, “You can’t do much better than that.”
The last tally was the sweetest. With :33 on the clock before halftime, the Cards got the ball on their own 25, after BC had scored TDs on consecutive possessions.
As he did last week, when in a similar situation, Jeff Brohm called a timeout.
This time around the team lined up for a half ending kneel down.
Did you groan? I certainly did.
Ah, how we love glorious trickeration that works. Jack Plummer slipped the ball to Jawhar Jordan, who rambled for 42 yards. Two plays later, Plummer found All TP wideout Jamari Thrash for a deep ball TD connection.*
*Was that unsportsmanlike call against Thrash totally idiotic? For spinning the ball. Why, yes, yes it was.
Anyway 42-14 at the break.
In the opening two quarters, Jordan toted it 14 times for 122. Plummer was 12/14 for 243 and three TDS. His QBR war 302.2. (More about that in a moment.)
The Cards had 376 total yards (vs. 199). They averaged 10.4 yards per play, and were 5/5 on first down.
The game was well in hand.
* * * * *
U of L opened the 3d Q with a 75 yard screen and scurry to Jordan for a TD.
On the first play.
As they had on the two previous possessions, the visitors immediately answered with a 22 yard Touchdown throw.
The combatants traded 3 & Outs, then Plummer found Ahmari Huggins-Bruce for a 55 yard TD.
At that 56-21 juncture of the runaway, Plummer was 16/18 for 379 yards and 5 scores. His QBR was a glossy 357.4.*
*Now for a brief aside, a contemplation of the college Quarterback Rating stat. Because JP connected on his next two throws, but his rating dropped a tick or two.
So, I looked up the formula.
NCAA Passer Rating = ((8.4 x Passing Yards) + (330 x Touchdown Passes) + (100 x Number of Completions) – (200 x Interceptions)) ÷ Passing Attempts
Uh, those of you with a PHD in Analytical Mathematics feel free to pull out your slide rules and see if you can figure it all out. I. Have. Not. A. Clue.
I’m advised, after minimal googlizing that a QBR of 1261 is the highest possible, -731 the lowest. ??????
What I know is that Plummer and the eight receivers with catches were playing at a reasonably high level.
* * * * *
The Cards generally cruised from there.
Against a truly not very good team. Especially on the D side of the ball.
But U of L’s defense also leaves a lot to be desired. Especially concerning with a visit to Raleigh coming up on short rest.
Missed tackles. Missed assignments. Sluggish receivers wide open in the middle of the field. (I’m not alone in my dismay. HC Brohm was vocally upset at the D a number of times, expressing his displeasure as they came to the sideline.)
Little appreciative effective pressure for the most part.
The secondary, to their credit, did notch 7 breakups, a good number.
The Cards had but three sacks. And only three QB hurries.
Coming into the game, against the country’s 114th hardest schedule — read: one of the easiest in the land — Louisville was ranked 129th in sacks and 113th in TFLs.
In a game, when U of L reserves should have seen significantly more PT than they did, they couldn’t because the Eagles were able to stay somewhat in the game when they shouldn’t.
If U of L is going to build on its best start in seven seasons, the D is going to have to tighten the bolts.
* * * * *
But, for now, 4-0. A testing Friday night battle on Tobacco Road with the nation looking on.
— c d kaplan