Shaking Off Delusions: Syracuse 28, Louisville 21

You just know the intensity level dropped after Louisville’s 93-yard touchdown drive on the first series of downs and Syracuse’s subsequent three-and-out. Some key Louisville participants relaxing a bit, expecting to coast the rest of the way.

Big mistake. From that point forward, the Cards played down to Syracuse’s level, making a team with a 1-6 won-lost record look powerful on offense and defense

— A bummer after the first series of plays, Syracuse the most depressing location for a football game in the conference, even worse if you have to watch the game on ESPNU with its four-minute TV commercial timeouts for cheap products.

— A three-and-a-half-hour infomercial for Rust Belt U football, complete with a former SU quarterback in the broadcast booth for the entire first half, a “little person” SU student playing big time announcer on the sidelines, and a history lesson on No. 44’s.

— You know it’s bad when you have to wake your spouse for the beginning of the second half.

— The game-ending interception should have been ruled pass interference. UofL’s Doug Beaumont was knocked out of the play, no real chance to catch the ball. Flags were strangely absent.

— Never was a ball more perfectly thrown than the one thrown by Hunter Cantwell that should have been a sure touchdown, right in the breastplate of Troy Pascley.

— Just when you think it will be a while before you see Pascley again, there he is in the end zone pulling one in for six.

— Where was Brock Bolen most of the night, the bruiser who has been used early to soften up the defense to allow Victor Anderson to run through them? Anyone see him hurt? Never mind. Just chalk it up to another mysterious disappearance.

What To Make Of South Florida Free Fall

So what should the University of Louisville football team take from South Florida’s humiliating 24-10 loss to Cincinnati Thursday? The Bearcats handled the Bulls like kittens toying around with mice in the process of devouring them.

South Florida should never have been ranked among the top 20 teams?

South Florida is not the same team on the road that often demolishes the same teams on its home field?

South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe’s skills have been exaggerated? Continue reading “What To Make Of South Florida Free Fall”

Losing Long Not Necessarily Fatal

The big question is who replaces injured Scott Long as the University of Louisville football team travels to Syracuse. After scoring two touchdowns in last week’s win, Long suddenly was considered indispensable, the key to a successful season.

Losing Long is regrettable but far from being a season breaker. Continue reading “Losing Long Not Necessarily Fatal”

More Bad News

Scott Long Injured Again

No expletives but some real pain here.

The University of Louisville football coaching staff has confirmed reports to WLKY-TV’s Fred Cowgill that wide receiver Scott Long suffered another serious knee injury today in practice, which probably means he is out for the season.

Long returned to action three weeks ago in the Memphis game after missing the first four games because of a pre-season injury. He had five receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the win over South Florida.

The UofL roster lists Long as a junior.

Work In Progress: Making Perception Reality

My, how winning one game can change expectations. The surprising win over South Florida has more than one critic of coach Steve Kragthorpe changing their opinion about U of L’s prospects in the Big East. Some have even dared raise the prospects of a conference title.

Granted, wins over respectable Memphis and Middle Tennessee teams may have paved the way for the changes in perceptions. But even during losses to UConn and Kentucky, Kragthorpe’s team displayed a grit unseen during 2007 until the last half of the final game against Rutgers. It is obvious to any serious observer that the players are buying into the system. You can sense it in the way they talk about the coaching staff.

No, there’s not the explosiveness there once was. But to expect a team to forever be an offensive juggernaut is not realistic. It’s taking a while for fans to adjust to the nail biters but winning can be equally rewarding, whether it’s by an extra point or by a lopsided score.

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Defensive coordinator Ron English is a miracle worker, having transformed an anemic and disrespected defense into the aggressive and unrelenting unit that now makes it possible to beat teams like South Florida. Defensive tackle Adrian Grady was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week following his six-tackle, two-sack performance. Linebacker Jon Dempsey added nine total tackles, including six solo stops, while defensive tackle Earl Heyman had seven tackles and two sacks.

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U of L’s game at Pittsburgh on Saturday, Nov. 8 will have a noon kickoff at Heinz Field. The game will be televised by the Big East Network through ESPN Regional and will be available locally on WHAS-TV.

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Tickets are still available for the University of Louisville’s exhibition basketball doubleheader that same Saturday against Northern Kentucky University at Highland Heights. The women’s competition will tip off at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 8 p.m. Tickets are $38 for lower level seats, $30 for upper level. Call the UofL Ticket Office at 852-5863.