Louisville football meets few expectations in opener

No off-season transformations, more answers than questions, scrambling for relevance. For now anyway.

One could tell on Ole Miss’ first possession that a long night was ahead for the University of Louisville football team. Mississippi drove 96 yards for a touchdown. Transversing the field early and often, with minimal resistance.

Final score Ole Miss 43, Louisville 24 in the Chick fil-A Kickoff Classic. Not a big surprise, considering last season’s showings from the respective teams. The Rebels one of the best offensive teams in the nation, the Cardinals among the most challenged.

UofL’s supposedly improved defense gave up 569 yards of offense. Yes, this was Ole Miss that led the nation in offense a year ago. At no time did one feel good about this Cardinal defense. No pressure from the front four. Defensive backs continuously getting lost. All too familiar.

Someone queried in a first half tweet about whether anything that Louisville has done well. The answer was met with a chorus of no’s.  Not quite as inept in the second half, not throwing in the towel as they often did during Bobby Petrino’s last season, putting 24 points on the board.

Overall, however, the defense was almost non-existant. The offense was as anemic. Junior Malik Cunningham got little protection. When he did, he overthrew or stared down receivers. Cunningham threw a terrible interception. The offense fumbled just before halftime.

It was 26-0 at the intermission. Louisville finally got on the scoreboard when James Turner kicked a 38-yard field with 12:35 in the third quarter. But it got worse. Old Miss without offensive genius coach Lane Kiffin, covid protocol, added a field goal, making it 29-3. Lost cause for the Cards.

Things got so monotonous that the national TV cameras switched to a couple Cardinal fans with a service dog. “It’s never good when in the fourth quarter of a college football game goes to the dogs,” snarled one local media type on Twitter (You get one guess).

Play calling by coach Scott Satterfield was questionable. Louisville looked predictable. You could tell they didn’t have a speed burner that could stretch the field. Just slants and dump off passes.

As usual following a loss, the critics were out en mass on social media, one observing,  “Satterfield is winning recruiting battles battles against Toledo, Central Michigan and Georgia State. He is in no way close to recruiting at a Power 5 level. Ole Miss’ freshman were better than UofL juniors.”

Now the UofL folks have to figure out a way to get fans to a Saturday night game at Cardinal Stadium with Eastern Kentucky. I don’t want to pour it on but with games against Central Florida and at Florida State soon coming this team could be 1-3. That wouldn’t be good. Listen to the dogs howl then.

Not that Louisville fans are your daddy’s fan base, but they couldn’t be all that happy being embarrassed on a national TV platform.

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Ed Peak

Ed Peak has covered UofL sports since 1973, as a student reporter, as a correspondent for the Courier-Journal, a freelancer for the Associated Press and United Press International, as well as ScoreCard, Fox Sports and CBS radio.

One thought on “Louisville football meets few expectations in opener

  • September 8, 2021 at 9:50 am

    Well said. Satterfield isn’t a power 5 caliber coach. He doesn’t even have an offensive coordinator. Since Cunningham still looks to run first & only has 1 pass option he should be moved to a running back position, & try another QB.

    UofL’s opponents aren’t Appalachian State caliber opponents. Who’s going to emerge as a top receiver? Ford looked good. But what about the others? Who’s going to emerge as a top running back?

    Are we looking at another 3-8 season? Right now, it’s not looking good.

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