After the barn burner and stress that was last week versus Georgia Tech, virtually every Louisville fan went into Thursday night's game versus Murray State hoping for a good old fashioned, laid back ass kicking, and that’s exactly what we got.
Not sure an ass kicking gets anymore textbook than 690 yards of offense to 166. And it’s not like there was an absurd turnover discrepancy or any other uneven luck factors. It was just a plain old beat down that fans expect any time a program of Louisville’s caliber lines up against the likes of the Racers.
Last week it felt like there was an endless amount of takeaways to digest, but this week it’s all pretty straightforward, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While Jack Plummer’s stats weren’t eyepopping with just one touchdown to his two interceptions, he still completed 16 of 22 passes for a comfortable 247 yards. Not too much to be mad about there, and one can only hope his comfortability with this offense and receiving corps continues to improve.
Jawhar Jordan and Jamari Thrash were once again the stars of the offense as they tallied seven carries for 135 yards (19.3 yards per carry) and 2 touchdowns, and three receptions for 82 yards, respectively. If you think 19.3 yards per carry is absurd, you’d be right. Jordan’s yard’s per carry across two games currently stands at 16.35, which is good enough for the best average in the entire country.
On defense there aren’t any insane stats as it was a complete team effort holding a team to zero points and less than 200 yards total. Ashton Gillotte was a beast again with two tackles and one sack. TJ Quinn and Devin Neal both made their mark by forcing fumbles, and Neal also added an interception to his big night.
While all of these individual performances were great to see, I think the majority of Louisville fans were most interested/excited to see the backups get reps and have a relaxed night of development. That’s exactly what we got. In fact, Louisville set a program record for most QBs to complete a single pass in a single game:
Five Louisville quarterbacks completed passes in a single game tonight for the first time in program history. There has never even been a season with five QBs completing a pass.— Kelly Dickey (@RealCardGame) September 8, 2023
Only in 1955, 1983, 2014, and 2018 have four QBs completed a pass during the season.
There was a big round of applause when Pierce Clarkson took the field for the first time and delivered a 7-yard strike to Fowles on his first pass attempt. But that wasn’t all. Cardinal fans got to see budding stars like Madden Sanker and Keyjaun Brown get their first reps, with Brown making a big impression on fans with his 65 yards and touchdown on 11 carries.
We also saw flashes from Joey Gatewood at TE with a 34 yard TD reception and Harrison Bailey who delivered the pass.
All in all, it was a very relaxed and easy going game which is exactly what the doctor ordered after last week’s pandemonium. It was awesome seeing the entire lower bowl full and a jam packed student section against an FCS opponent on a weeknight. Gives me a lot of excitement about what the crowd could be like when Notre Dame comes to town if the Cards are sitting at 4-1 or better yet, 5-0.
For now, let’s enjoy the first 2-0 start since Lamar Jackson was wearing Cardinal red, enjoy another weekend of college football without any worries, and look forward to an extended week as we prepare for Indiana in Indianapolis.