Greg Scruggs’ expression says it all during Louisville’s 24-17 loss to Florida International. (Photo by Menefee Seay)

If one had been asked before the opening kickoff, the advice would have been to kick the football a-w-a-y from T.Y. Hilton of Florida International. He only needed 70 yards to reach 6,000 for his career.

The Louisville coaching staff would have ignored it, of course.

Darned if Chris Philpott wouldn’t kick a perfect spiral right to FIU’s Heisman candidate, a move that would have landed him on the bench for five weeks under Bobby Petrino.

Hilton would return the favor 35 yards, setting the tone for a long, long night.

Fortunately he only touched the ball about 10 more times during the game or Louisville would have lost by much more. He  accounted for all but 47 of his team’s 249 yards through the air while scoring two touchdowns.

When he wasn’t handling the ball, Hilton was an intimidating decoy, with the eyes of all 47, 228 fans and the 11 guys on defense riveted on him. Doing his thing, dancing between plays, obviously enjoying all the attention and the enhanced  sound system.

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Because the offensive line is so inexperienced and provides so little protection, it’s going to take a while before we know how really bad or good Will Stein can be. Hard to believe after watching the game that he actually completed 30 of 43 passes for 347 yards, including two touchdowns.

Will Stein with his protectors. (Photo by Menefee Seay)

Seemed to be on the run most of the time, gaining 44 yards while also losing 44 yards for a net gain of zero. That was because he didn’t have any other choice, dodging the constant rush of FIU defenders in the pocket.

The worry is that until the offensive line begin to jell that Stein is not going to get back up the next time he gets hit.

Teddy Bridgewater, who would replace him, looked much better, completing both of his pass attempts for 14 yards.

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The lack of any push from the offensive line is also stymying the running backs. Victor Anderson, the face of the program, is not seeing any holes, gaining only 37 yards. Jeremy Wright, meanwhile, managed 62. Between them, they are averaging only three yards per carry.

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Josh Chichester, meanwhile, is starting to look like the wide receiver Ohio State when the Buckeyes recruited him in the high school ranks.  Six catches for 111 yards, some in heavy traffic. DaVante Parker with four catches for 52 yards and a second touchdown in his first two games.

Imagine what these guys and Michaelee Harris could do if Will Stein had a little breathing room.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

8 thoughts on “Hilton rocks U of L’s world”
  1. Inexcusable that Hilton, FIU’s best player, can go completely un-touched on two long TD runs. These were the same type of plays that Kragthorpe got hammered for endlessly. Stong deserves to be criticized. Even more so given his defensive background. The coverage on the second TD was a joke. Would feel better if the O-line just looked inexperienced. To me they looked inexperienced, slow, un-athletic and un-motivated. Not a good combination.

  2. As we correctly predicted in the pre-game article, Hilton was the key last night in the FIU win. Kid is something special.

  3. An optimist would say that there is no shame in losing to a better team–provided you gave it all the effort you had in you. I’m not ready to say this was our best effort, frankly. I hope our guys are mad and disappointed in their game. I sure am.

  4. Your right Charlie, I would have benched Philpott for 5 weeks. If we learned anything from the Kragthorpe era, this Strong loser needs to get the axe right now.

    Must be tough to root for a team that has a top 20 season twice a century….

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