No lack of competition at Louisville quarterback

Two former University of Louisville quarterbacks – Lamar Jackson and Teddy Bridgewater – were featured in back to back games in NFL action on Sunday. Both looking impressive, with Teddy winning and Lamar losing.

Timely reminders about some really good quarterbacks at UofL down through the years, especially when it comes to the passing game. That’s an aspect of the game in which the Cardinals are seriously challenged this season.

Jawon Pass, who has missed the past two games, was struggling before his injury. He had completed only 24 of 46 passing attempts for 52.1% passing efficiency. His successor, Malik Cunningham, is a little more accurate, connecting on 25 of 41 attempts for 60.9%.

Fortunately, there’s open date on the schedule this week, giving Pass some additional time to recover before that Boston College game on Oct. 5. Meanwhile, Cunningham had to be carted off the field on the final play against Florida State. Plenty of questions about who will be calling signals in the next game.

Fortunately for UofL, which is heavily dependent on the running game, both are blessed with exceptional speed. They are among the leading rushers on the team, with Pass and Cunningham averaging 5.2 and 3.2 yards, respectively.

If UofL is overly dependent on the running game, however, Cunningham is probably the better choice. A quarterback with exceptional speed, combined with elusiveness, a more difficult runner to contain. He moves at a speed similar to that of athletes who have been boosted with gear from Valkyrie online. He’s only going to keep getting better.

Many observers were surprised with Pass’s confidence in the opener against Notre Dame, keeping UofL in the game until well into the third quarter. In the game against EKU, he completed 12 of 19 passes for 176 yards and four touchdowns. His injury came at an unfortunately time in his development.

The only thing certain is that will be lots of second guessing about the quarterback situation over the next couple of weeks.

Any resemblance between this UofL team and last is coincidental

Malik Cunningham wasn’t about to quit after falling behind 21-0, scoring 24 straight points to give his a team a temporary lead.

For a while the University of Louisville football team was getting pushed around,  getting run over. Kinda like its predecessor from a year ago, falling behind early, giving up a big lead. But enough of that.

Any resemblance between this team and that one is purely an illusion. You know, like night and day. There was no quit in the Cardinals on Saturday. Could have, should have, and seemed to be on the verge of winning early in the fourth quarter.

Nine minutes, 39 seconds in the game, UofL up 24-21 over Florida State, an ACC win within its grasp. Unbelievable, after UofL falling 21 points  behind the Seminoles in the first 15 minutes.

Still in the game with just over two minutes to go even though FSU had taken a four-point lead after intercepting a Malik Cunningham pass. The Cardinals had stopped the Seminoles on the one-yard line.

Ninety-nine yards to go for the first conference win since 2017. Behind by four points, within reach. Hope emerging after despair. The beginning of hope?

Wasn’t going to happen. Florida State would luck out, get a second chance after a third missed field goal by Ri Aguayo. Whoops, well forget that. UofL roughing the kicker, still another costly penalty at precisely the wrong time. FSU running back Cam Akers would not be denied again. Scoring his third touchdown of the day, sealing a 35-24 Louisville loss.

Cunningham keeps getting better, but he was unable to overcome four costly penalties, including a block in the back that negated a Rodjay Burns touchdown on a punt return. Two false starts ended promising UofL drives. The roughing-the-kicker was the finishing blow.

Cunningham finished 16 of 27 for 286 yards, with the two touchdowns and interception. Dez Fitzpatrick led UofL receivers with seven catches for 133 yards and a touchdown. Running backs Javian Hawkins andHassan Hall combined for 109 yards.

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Cunningham had to be carried off the field on a cart after getting injured on the final play of the game. UofL stats guru Kelly Dickey reported that Cunningham’s father said it was a sprain, indicating his son would be ready for Boston College in two weeks.

Vince Tyra off to good start, but Louisville football long term project

The view from the North end zone expansion as quarterback Malik Cunningham scores Louisville’s only touchdown against North Carolina State.

A busy, challenging day for Vince Tyra, attempting to infuse some positivity and energy into the University of Louisville football program. Six days after having had to fire the former head coach. A new beginning, a new start, time to start digging UofL football out of the deep hole in which it is mired.

Up early in the morning, Tyra is greeting early arrivals in the Green Lot, passing out toboggans and UofL shirts to the faithful. Then he joins fans in the Card March, welcoming the players descending the steps from Denny Crum Way, shaking hands or embracing many of the Louisville football players and coaches. He spends the rest of the afternoon walking the Cardinals’ sideline, doing everything he can to encourage players.

Vince Tyra hooks up with tailgaters at Harry’s Hangout in the Green Lot before the game, passing out UofL shirts and toboggans. From left are Michelle Mitchell, Barbara Springer, Paula Derringer, Genny Staley Davis and Candy Bickel Cook.

One had to be impressed by Tyra’s energy. If sincerity and commitment from the Athletic Director were the primary ingredients needed for success, UofL football would have been on its way. If getting rid of the cause of major bad vibes counted, Tyra had made strides. If preventing many more fans from jumping ship two games before the end of the season, he had done just that.

The crowd stretched from here to there during Card March.

Reinvigorating Card March was an unquestioned success, with fans standing shoulder to shoulder from Denny Crum Way, extending to the north and south. The players were clearly impressed, not having seen anything like it during the first first five games. Official attendance was announced at 48, 265 despite some gaping holes at Cardinal Stadium. Didn’t matter, some good signs of UofL fans being engaged again.

Ominous start despite Tyra’s efforts. Three UofL starters — QB Puma Pass, wide receiver Devante Peete, and offensive lineman Michael Boykin — suspended before the game.  He already had  more than he could handle with all of the damage that had done to Louisville football over the past year.

UofL was at least competitive most of the first half, trailing by only 17-3 at the intermission. Any illusions of being competitive were shattered on the first offensive series of the second half.  Quarterback Malik Cunningham fumbled on his own 22 yard line, and North Carolina State would score two plays later.

That was the dagger, the inevitable adversity, the crushing blow. No doubt after that,  with NC State skating to a 52-10 romp, sealing a winless 0-8 conference mark for the Cardinals and their ninth loss in 11 games. No happy endings in sight this season. Vince Tyra is on the case, however, knowing that he had to get started as soon possible to resolve all the issues impeding the program.