Cards vs. Demon Deacons Halloween Edition

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The Cardinals are coming off a week in which they won a defensive slug fest against Boston College and now look to carry some of that momentum into Winston-Salem on Friday night as they face the Demon Deacons for the first time on their home field. The game will kick-off the teeth of the schedule for Louisville and it is grind time. The opponent Friday night is one that will be a Trivial Pursuit Sports question someday if it isn’t already. “Who did the Louisville Football Program play in their first BCS Bowl Appearance?” The Wake Forest Demon Deacons will forever be a part of Cardinal lore after that 2007 Orange Bowl and now are a yearly conference foe. The Cardinals and Demon Deacons have only met twice with the Cards taking the 2007 Orange Bowl championship against them 24-13 and winning the game last year 20-10. Playing on Friday, Oct. 30, the Cardinals will be playing their 74th game in school history on Friday. Louisville owns a 44-28-1 all-time record in games played on this day of the week. The Cardinals are 3-4 on the season and 2-2 in the ACC.

Wake Forest is a team that is going through one of those complete program makeovers. They have a second year coach in Dave Clawson who was the former coach at Bowling Green. Wake Forest is the youngest team in the nation according to college football expert Phil Steele. Wake Forest has a total of 48 freshmen on the team (31 true freshmen, 17 red-shirt freshmen) and 26 sophomores (8 true sophomores, 16 red-shirt sophomores). A total of 74 of the 103 players on the team are either freshmen or sophomores, accounting for 72 percent of the team. Of Wake Forest’s 149 points scored this season, 143 have been by true freshmen, red-shirt freshmen or sophomores. Their six-member senior class is the smallest senior class in FBS.

On the offensive side of the ball the Deacons have young guys at all of the skill positions passer, rusher and receiver. Completely reshaping this offense Coach Clawson describes his coaching style as one that utilizes the available talent to maximize success. His philosophy focuses on getting individual play-makers more touches rather than sticking to a rigidly-defined system. His offenses have displayed components of the Pro-Style, Spread and Power Running attacks.

Like Louisville Wake Forest has used a few quarterbacks this season. Sophomore John Wolford was leading the ACC in passing yards before an ankle injury against Army in the 3rd game of the year knocked him out. He has thrown the ball for 1012 yards with 6 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Wolford is listed as the starter on their depth chart for Friday, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them also use Freshman QB Kendall Hinton who gives them a more mobile option. He is the team’s leading rusher with 330 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has also thrown for 812 yards with 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Of the two Hinton certainly looks to be far superior at evading pressure and making something happen out of nothing. The Louisville defense who recorded a season-high eight sacks last week and against Wake Forest the last time they played them will be bringing the pressure Friday night. A Louisville rush defense that ranks 27th in the country could also force Wake Forest to air it out Friday and that would seem to favor Wolford more.

There is only one Wake Forest rusher that is averaging more than 4.0 YPC this season (Kendall Hinton). Their next two leading rushers Tyler Bell and Matt Colburn are averaging 3.3 and 3.9 YPC respectively. Bell has 234 yards on the season with no touchdowns and Colburn has 204 yards with one touchdown on the season. While the Demon Deacons struggle in their rushing game they are much more effective in the passing attack. They are tied for second in the nation in the number of receivers with 22 or more receptions and spread the ball around. The Deacons are led in receptions by Cortez Lewis (35), Cam Serigne (35), KJ Brent (30), Chuck Wade (23) and Tabari Hines (22). Their top targets are K.J. Brent with 392 yards and 1 touchdown, Cortez Lewis with 390 yards and 1 touchdown, Cam Serigne with 372 yards with 3 touchdowns. Seringe is their Gronk type tight end who ranks third in the country with 35 receptions among other tight ends.

The Louisville Defense played arguably one of their best games of the season limiting Boston College to 79 yards of total offense and -14 yards rushing in the home win. It was the lowest total since limiting Wake Forest to just 100 yards last season. The Louisville defense is ranked 27th in the country in rushing defense allowing only 121.9 yards and are ranked 34th in the country in passing yards allowing only 193.6 yards per game. I look for Sheldon Rankins, James Burgess, Devonte’ Fields and company to have another big day up front while Trumaine Washington, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chucky Williams will hold things down in the Cards secondary. Shaq Wiggins is going to have to step up his game this week as fellow CB Jaire Alexander will not play Friday night. This Louisville defense has started to get on a roll and I think their dominance continues this week.

The Cardinals offense is still finding it hard to develop any consistency or any cohesiveness as a unit. I think this is due to all of the new parts this season especially up front on that offensive line. I do like how Coach Petrino has started to use Lamar Jackson and Reggie Bonnafon in tandem. Jackson completed 15 of his 25 passes for 230 yards with no touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Jackson also ran for 15 yards and a touchdown. As a running back Reggie Bonnafon carried the ball 10 times for 56 yards against Boston College. They kept a very good BC defense on their toes all day and I think they’ll continue to have that effect on every defense they play going forward. It really helps things open up with these two great athletes on the field together at times. Jamari Staples, who missed the first four games due to injury, has caught 10 passes for 174 yards over the last three games, including four receptions for a career-high 96 yards against Boston College. He is starting to get comfortable now and he is going to be big down the stretch. James Quick is another guy who has been gaining a lot of momentum and he should have another big night on Friday.

Much like their offense the Deacons defense is going through some growing pains but they are not too bad on this side of the ball. Wake’s Secondary has proven to be the real star section of this group ranked 17th in the country in passing yards allowed this season, while the team is very mediocre in rushing defense ranking 76th in the nation and allowing 172.5 yards per game. LB Brandon Chubb and S Ryan Janvion are both among
the top 40 players in the NCAA in active career tackle leaders. Chubb ranks 17th in the nation with 285 career tackles. He also ranks 19th with 127 career assisted tackles. Janvion is 31st nationally with 248 career tackles and 15th in the country with 8.0 tackles per game for his career. Wake Forest leads the ACC in conference games only in red zone defense, allowing points on just 10 of 15 attempts for 66.7 percent. This group should pose a good challenge for the Louisville offense.

Like last week I must again mention special teams and a special kicker. Wake Forest has the best punter in college football in Alex Kinal and he owns the Wake Forest school records for punts and punting yards in a career. Kinal set the ACC record for career punting yards, and has had 104 punts fair caught, has 101 career punts inside the 20 and has 51 career punts of 50 yards or longer. Games are often won and lost in field position battles and Kinal is a good weapon to have.

On a Halloween week in Winston Salem the Demon Deacons will try to pull out all of their tricks to treat the Cardinals to their 5th loss of the season. But our Cardinals will have some tricks of their own and I look for them to keep their momentum going against the Deacons. Wake Forest has been very inconsistent while Louisville has shown signs of being a pretty good team. This game will be won by the team with the best athletes on the field.

The Beak Prediction:

Louisville 37 Wake Forest 10

Louisville Football is in Must Win Mode vs. Boston College

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Despite all of the basketball talk this week we are right in the middle of the college football season. Our Cardinals return to Papa John’s Stadium this week for another tough ACC game against Boston College. Louisville and Boston College will meet for the eighth time in school history, with the Cardinals owning a 4-3 series advantage. Louisville has won the last two games in the series, winning 38-19 in Chestnut Hills last season and 52-28 in Louisville during the 1998 season.

Coach Petrino and Reggie Bonnafon talk BC:

The Eagles have dropped three-straight games are 3-4 overall and 0-4 in the ACC after a 34-17 defeat at No. 5 Clemson last Saturday. The Cardinals are no strangers to the Eagles head man Steve Addazio as they also faced him when he was Temple’s head coach. He’s a very good coach who is affectionately referred to as “Vitamin A” because of his high-energy nature on the practice field, on game days and on the recruiting trail. He has the Eagles playing very good on defense. After seven games, Boston College is ranked fourth in the country allowing just 11.0 points per game and first against the run (51.7 ypg.) and first in total defense (196.1). The Eagles are also fifth nationally against the pass at 144.6 yards per game.

Through seven games, the Eagles have played three different quarterbacks this season, but freshman Jeff Smith seems to be the stand out completing 30.8 percent of his passes for 173 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Smith has 34 pass attempts in his last two games. His top targets Thadd Smith and Charlie Callinan have combined for 263 receiving yards and two touchdowns while Bobby Wolford has nine receptions for 80 yards. The Boston College Eagles ground game is averaging 206.1 yards per contest, and QB Jeff Smith leads the way with 270 yards and four touchdowns. RB Tyler Rouse has 249 yards with 5 touchdowns and RB Marcus Outlow has 241 yards with one touchdown.

Task with stopping a less than impressive Boston College offense is a Louisville defense that pretty much gave up during the second half last week against Florida State. There was talk of guys who just didn’t perform at the level they should have. I have to say that I’m surprised that the guys on the defensive side of the ball for Louisville didn’t perform to expectations as some of those guys are getting a second chance in college football with our program. Defensively, Louisville is allowing 23.7 points and 354.8 yards per game. James Burgess leads the Cardinals with 50 tackles, Chucky Williams, Trumaine Washington-and Josh Harvey have two interceptions and Sheldon Rankins has four sacks with 33 tackles. The former Big 12 defensive player of the year Devonte Fields was one of the players who appeared to lay down last week has 25 tackles and has vowed to give his best effort going forward. This Louisville defense has a lot of potential and they need to start living up to that during this final stretch of the regular season. If they don’t we will be staying home during bowl season.

The Louisville offense and offensive line put together their best effort of the season last week against Florida State. They need another solid performance and victory to climb out of a brutal 2-4 hole. Lamar Jackson is completing 54.5 percent of his passes for 905 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions on the season. Jackson has four touchdown passes in his last two games. In the receiving corps James Quick and Jaylen Smith lead the way for 523 receiving yards and four touchdowns while Micky Crum has 161 yards with 13 receptions. Devonte Peete has 150 yards with one touchdown, while Traveon Samuel has 136 yards and Ja’Quay Savage has 135 yards with one touchdown. The Cardinals ground game is averaging 152.8 yards per contest, and Jackson leads the way with 467 yards and five touchdowns. Brandon Radcliff has 265 yards with three touchdowns. This Cardinals offense is led by the youth movement as 52% of the all-purpose yards have been by freshmen, and 63% of the passing yards have been by freshman.

This Louisville offense will be facing one of their toughest challenges of the season as this Boston College defense is one of the best in the country. Defensively, Boston College is allowing 11 points and 196.3 yards per game. LB Steven Daniels leads the Eagles with 45 tackles, 3 sacks and one interception. LB Connor Strachan has 38 tackles, one sack and two interceptions and Matt Milano has 31 tackles with four sacks. They are really good up front and will pose a challenge for the Cardinals ground attack.

The Cardinals much like the fans were very dejected after last week’s disappointing loss to Florida State. A game like that can really zap the energy and the drive out of a football team. It is very hard to regroup after coming up short like that after a very good first half effort. I think that’s why a lot of folks are looking at the game Saturday against Boston College as one of those trap games. The outcome of this game will be determined by how these Cardinals come out of the locker room. Will they still have a hangover from a tough loss? I have total and complete confidence in our coaching staff and it is their job to make sure that doesn’t happen. I do think our guys will come out focused as they are still playing for a bowl game and still have a chance at finishing the season very strongly. This game will be a defensive slug-fest with our Cardinals winning a close one.

The Beak Prediction:
Louisville 23 Boston College 13

Frankie Hughes For The Win

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When I woke up on Tuesday morning I refused to become captive of the negative news swirling around Katina Powell’s media blitz. It’s obvious that we have had a few bad apples in the basketball program over the last four years and it appears that we had a rogue coach who let his dysfunction affect his job performance. But we’ve also watched a resilient Rick Pitino develop underrated kids and take the Louisville Basketball program back to the top. All I’ve heard for weeks is how this recent setback would kill Louisville’s recruiting efforts and that there was no way a parent or a promising player would be able to overlook the scandal. Then on probably the worst day of this sex scandal Coach Pitino gets a commitment from 3* 2016 guard Frankie Hughes.

Hughes said after his commitment to Louisville today “its two sides to every story. I want to go to Louisville and play for Coach Pitino and I believe in Coach Pitino.'” “I told him (Pitino) that I had his back,” Hughes said. “I said, ‘I’m a loyal guy, I’ll stay loyal to you.’” What a message this sends to those that think Coach Pitino won’t or can’t survive this latest setback. I’m sure once the NCAA has the final say that it may cost the basketball program some pretty stiff punishment. The one thing I don’t think it will cost them is a Hall of Fame coach. Today is just one example that some people still form their own opinions in this world and are not led by what the media tells them to believe. Kudos to Frankie Hughes and his family and thank them for shedding some light on this dark day. Can’t wait until they officially become a part of the Louisville family. Hughes coach told that he expects him to sign a letter of intent during the early signing period next month.

Frankie Hughes is Louisville’s second commitment in the 2016 class, joining five-star wing V.J. King. You can check out their profiles and see who remains a target for 2016 over on the 2016 Recruiting Page

Cardinals Looking for a Monumental Win vs. Seminoles

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It has been a season of ups and downs for the Louisville football team. Through the first part of the schedule the Cardinals have adjusted on the fly with injuries to key players, offensive line woes and inconsistent play overall. After a much needed bye week they head into the meat of their schedule and finally have some of those key guys back to full strength and seem to have some of the kinks worked out on offense particularly the offensive line. This couldn’t have come at a better time as the Cardinals prepare to play one of the biggest games of the season. This football team has their morale building win, had their momentum win and now it’s time for their monumental win.

On Saturday at high noon the Cardinals travel to play the #11 ranked Florida State Seminoles in the “Doak”. They aren’t the defending champs this season but are still arguably one of the best teams in college football. The Cardinals and Seminoles have played 15 times in their history. Florida State leads the series 13-2. Those two wins by Louisville came in the very first game between these teams and in a meeting back in 2002. The Cardinals won that game 26-20 in what was then the biggest win in the programs history. On Saturday the Cardinals will have another chance at getting another notch in their belt with what could be a season defining win. The Cardinals did win in Tallahassee on Oct. 4, 1952, 41-14. The great Johnny U led the way in that one with three touchdown passes. FSU has won eight-straight games at home versus the Cardinals since.

Florida State improved to 5-0 on the season after beating Miami 29-24 at home last weekend. They haven’t looked as dominate as they did a year ago, but they continue to find a way to win, and have a very deep football team with a lot of talent across the board. They have great players at all of their skill positions, offensive line, and defense. They are ranked 47th in the country in total offense with 2,162 yards and 19 touchdowns. They are ranked 22nd in total defense allowing only 1,551 yards and 8 touchdowns. The Seminoles have won 13 home ACC games, 17 consecutive home games and 27 straight overall matchups with ACC opponents. The Noles are also looking to go 6-0 for the third straight season.

The Seminoles have a pretty balanced offensive attack, and they do run the ball well and pass the ball with very good efficiency. Jameis Winston is now throwing touchdown passes for Tampa Bay, but the Seminoles still have a pretty good gun slinger in their backfield. Everett Golson is completing 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,077 yards, eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. Golson has a touchdown pass in five straight games, and also has 139 pass attempts without an INT this season. Florida State has gone 18 straight quarters without turning the ball over. Golson has a very good group of target to throw the ball to. They are all very rangy, fast and athletic. Jesus Wilson is their leader in receiving with 256 yards, and is tied for the team lead with two receiving touchdowns. Travis Rudolph has a team leading 23 receptions so far with 239 yards and 2 touchdowns. He torched Louisville last season in their comeback win with a 68 yard receiving gallop for a touchdown. Kermit Whitfield has 20 receptions and has recorded 531 all-purpose yards so far this season with 225 yards receiving.

The meat and potatoes of this offense going forward will be their ability to run the football. They are averaging 203.4 yards per contest, with RB Dalvin Cook leading the way with 792 yards and eight touchdowns. He is just the third Florida State tailback to have multiple 200 yard rushing games. He had the game-winning 38-yard TD run vs. Louisville last year with time running out. RB Johnathan Vickers will be their change of pace guy in this game and he is filling in for injured RB Mario Pender. Vickers has 2 touchdowns this season. Their bulldozing fullback Freddie Stevenson has 2 catches this season for 17 yards and 3 carries for 9 yards. This group has not lost a fumble on 177 rushing attempts.

Normally I wouldn’t mention a kicker in my game breakdowns but in this case I have to because Florida State has probably the best kicker in the country in Roberto Aguayo. He has made 97.4 percent 223-of-229 of his career kicks. He is 168-168 on PATs and his 168 straight PATs, set an ACC record. He is 55-of-61 on field goals for his career. When you have a guy like this who is pretty much automatic it makes a big difference in a game.

Task with stopping this Florida state offensive attack is a Louisville defense that will be coming off their best game of the season against NC State. They have gotten better every game and I look for them to take another big step forward on Saturday. The Cardinals are allowing 20.2 points and 323.8 yards per game and are ranked in the Top 20 nationally in fourth down defense (19th), first downs allowed (18th), kickoff return yards (14th), net punting (13th), punt defense (19th), and turnovers gained (20th). Keith Kelsey leads the Cardinals with 44 tackles, Sheldon Rankins has four sacks. Chucky Williams, Trumaine Washington and Josh Harvey-Clemmons have two interceptions and Louisville ranks 12th in the country and first in the ACC with nine interceptions total. Devonte Fields who has been gaining momentum since the season opener has 24 tackles on the season and I think he will play a big part of Louisville stopping the very good FSU rushing attack. This defense is giving up an average of 40.5 yards per game on the ground in their last two wins. And shut down a NC rushing attack that had been rolling. They need to continue this pattern to beat the Seminoles. Folks this Louisville defense has a lot of new faces this season and like a good chili it just had to simmer for a while. They are becoming a pretty solid unit.

This Louisville football team has found its offensive identity. It took Coach Petrino a few games to figure out how to best utilize all of his talent but I think he’s found something pretty good. Lamar Jackson has quickly made a name for himself rushing for 487 yards with five touchdowns and is just 69 yards away from breaking the rushing record for a true freshman at Louisville. He is also completing 53.6 percent of his passes for 598 yards, and three touchdowns which isn’t too shabby. This kid has been a difference maker and will once again be one of the fastest guys on the field Saturday. With some adjustments made on the offensive line they also seem to be moving in the right direction and that has got things moving in the Louisville ground game rushing for 288 yards versus Samford and 203 yards in the win over NC State. It’s the first time Louisville had 200 plus yards rushing in consecutive games since the third and fourth game of the 2013 season against Kentucky and FIU. Jackson will have all of his wide receivers healthy and ready to go on Saturday. Jaylen Smith and Micky Crum have led the way with 375 receiving yards and two touchdowns while James Quick has 11 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown. I look for Quick to really have a big day Saturday and for Jamari Staples and Ja’Quay Savage to start getting more involved.

Task with stopping Lamar Jackson and the Louisville attack will be a very athletic and sound Florida State defense that is allowing 14 points and 310.2 yards per game this season. Leading the Seminole defense up front is LB Reggie Northrup with 33 tackles. Northup sealed last year’s win over Louisville with his late game interception. DE DeMarcus Walker has 14 tackles along with 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles over his last two games and he will really challenge the Cardinals lateral game with how well he attacks the edge. Leading the way for them in the secondary is CB Jalen Ramsey who leads the team with six pass deflections. He ranks 37th nationally with 1.2 passes defended per game. They also have two very good safeties. Nate Andrews is one of their most versatile guys in pass coverage, and Lamarcus Brutus is third on the team with 23 tackles. If Louisville has a shot at winning this game they’ll have to grab the momentum from this group early.

It is going to take a very good effort from our guys and things like turnovers, penalties, and mishaps will have to be kept to a minimum. We will really need Lamar Jackson to step up and lead the offensive unit and I think he could be the biggest key if our Cardinals can pull off this upset. This would be a monumental win for this group and for this season. Got a good feeling…

Louisville 34 FSU 31

Coach Pitino Gave Inspiring Speech at Tip-off Luncheon

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There are some speeches that make you wish you were there to witness them first hand. Today Coach Pitino gave one of those speeches. I was able to be there at the Tip-off Luncheon with my son and was able to feel the emotion circulating in the ballroom at the Marriott. Coach Pitino is a guy who has been humbled by life and because of that he is able to speak with a genuineness and sincerity that is very engaging. Today Coach Pitino had the 1200 Cardinal supporters hanging on every word as he spoke about the recent accusations against the Louisville basketball program.

I saw on that stage today a man that loves his friends, respects the importance of family and loves the University of Louisville. He spoke with great resolve and vowed to not let this recent news take away all that he has accomplished in his career and all that he has accomplished at the University of Louisville. I believe that Coach Pitino will get his players, his program and the fans through this with the grit and determination we’ve seen from him during his career. Today Coach Pitino gave us all the reassurance we needed.

I brought my son with me today and at 3 years old his Louisville program has a very solid foundation and is thriving in a very competitive landscape. His Louisville Cardinals are really miles ahead of where mine were in 1975, and I don’t have any doubts that it will do just what it has for me and provide many great memories for him in the future.

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Here is Coach Pitino’s speech at the Tip-off Luncheon:

Luke Hancock Defends His Coach

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If there’s anyone who knows how to overcome adversity it’s Luke Hancock. Luke is a guy who propelled himself from humble basketball beginnings to winning the most valuable player award during the 2013 Final Four and leading Louisville to a national championship. We’ll all be telling stories for years about Luke’s beard that became a symbol of great superstition during the Cards 16 game winning streak and Championship season. Other players and fans including myself decided to grow out our beards in solidarity with Luke because we started to believe in the power of that magical facial hair.

He was also a player that was recognized by the New York Times for his genuine act of compassion when Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome injury in the Elite 8 game against Duke. While the initial reaction of nearly everyone on the Louisville team was to cover his face and keep his distance, one player went to Kevin Ware’s side, knelt down, and comforted him “Luke Hancock”. There hasn’t been a player more deserving of the title “Louisville Man”. He always represented himself and the University of Louisville with class.

Luke Hancock was living in Billy Minardi Hall during the supposed peak of the recently accused sex scandals. Today Luke went on air with Howie Lindsey to defend his coach and his college program. There’s no way that a guy like Luke Hancock would have allowed something like that to go on and not tell his coach. And during the culture of the program at that time I don’t see any of those guys allowing it. This whole thing has been hard for me to believe and guys like Luke being there at that time is one of the biggest reasons why.

Here’s Luke’s appearance on Howie Lindsey’s show today:



A Great Louisville Sports Weekend Quiets the Storm

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Chances are that if you are a sports fan then there are moments in your life where sports have transcended the competition on the field of play and provided defining moments in your life. Sports have healed relationships, created long lasting bonds, brought nations together, brought communities together, and sports have inspired people for generations. In some way or other sports will impact a person in some way in their life’s journey.

I will always cherish those moments shared with my friends over the years going to basketball and football games. The high fives, the hugs, and the chest bump when our favorite player made the big play. All of those laughs I’ve shared before and after the games have been great times indeed. I got to share time with my best friend just a few weeks ago at the Clemson game. We hadn’t hung out for a year and a Louisville football game provided a platform for that to happen.

My son is only three years old and I have already had immeasurable joy taking him to his first Cardinal basketball game, and watching that big smile come on his face when he seen the mascot for the first time. I’m certain that the feelings a father has at that moment can only come from that experience. Recently he shared a moment with Louie at the Football Luncheon and I smiled so big it made my face hurt.

With all of the positive moments that sports brings to our lives there are times that the cruel world in which we live creeps in to the thing that serves as our escape. This week money, greed and the morally corrupt put a dark cloud over that which we all hold dear to our hearts. As great as escape as college sports are from the real world sometimes it to become captive to the grind.

I can’t lie I was very disheartened to hear of the allegations brought against the program for which I dedicate so much of my life to and a program that gives me my escape from the daily grind. Heading into the weekend there were clouds in the sky and clouds over the Louisville athletic program. But just as it has done so many times over the last 40 years of my life the Louisville athletic program was able to rise above the distraction and put a smile on my face.

“We Are Still Here”

Louisville football kicked off a great weekend with a big win on the road over conference foes and undefeated NC State. Our Louisville football team has faced a lot of adversity this season. They’ve taken their knocks and on Saturday it paid off. I have to mention the Louisville freshman first. From a freshman QB to the freshman wide receivers and offensive lineman these youngsters have been thrown to the wolves and they are responding. Freshman QB Lamar Jackson had 121 yards rushing and a 68-yard touchdown in the game against NC State. Through five games, Jackson already has set a single-season school rushing record for a quarterback at Louisville with 435 yards and sky’s the limit for this young man. Freshman Offensive lineman Geron Christian and Kenny Thomas blocking the way for the Louisville rushing attack to have their way with 203 yards against a defense that came in ranked third nationally allowing just 205.8 yards. And a freshman wide receiver DeVonte Peete who caught his first college touchdown pass to help seal the deal.

And enough can’t be said about the Louisville defense that stepped up big time, holding the Wolfpack to 228 yards of offense while forcing two turnovers and racking up 10 tackles for loss. The Cardinals defense also did another great job at getting off the field on 3rd downs only giving up 5 of 16 conversions. The bash brothers James Burgess and Keith Kelsey led an inspired defense to one of their best performances of the season. Josh Harvey Clemmons, and Shaq Wiggins have established themselves as a consistent threat and former Big 12 defensive player of the year DeVonte Fields had his best game of the season and appears to be getting back to his old self. Coach Petrino was captured at the end of the game Saturday telling his defensive coordinator Todd Grantham “Great Job” and it was. Defense has become a staple of Louisville’s success over the last four years and will continue to be a vital part of success going forward.

The Louisville football team has had a modest start to the season, but on a soggy Saturday afternoon in Raleigh North Carolina this team came together and showed the ACC that they are still in the mix and that they will contend for an ACC title.

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“A Lot of Positive Energy in the Yum Center”

After the football team took care of their business it was time for Cardinal Nation to turn their attention to Yum Center for the first look at the 2015-16 Louisville Basketball team at the first Red & White scrimmage. There was a great crowd that filled the lower bowl on Saturday and you could tell that Louisville basketball fans are ready for another season and that they aren’t going to let themselves get distracted cheering for the team they love.

As far as how the team looked there isn’t much you can take away from the first scrimmage as the guys had only practiced one day in advance. Here are a few assessments: Deng Adel really stood out and he is going to be a special player. He’s got a great basketball IQ and his potential is off the charts. Matz Stockman and Anas Mahmoud have been labeled as projects and I could see that they have gained a lot of confidence in the off season and both looked much more comfortable on the floor. Chinanu Onuaku is the most physically transformed player on the team. He must now work to put that towards his game. He should have a great season. Really excited about our freshman class and I think they could be one of the best ever after it’s all said and done. Trey Lewis and Damion Lee are still trying to figure out how to best help this team, but both are great individual talents and have great attitudes. They will be difference makers when they settle into their roles.

There was also another thing I noticed on Saturday evening inside the Yum Center. This is a special group of young men. Their chemistry with each other and positive energy was very apparent. I think the trip to Puerto Rico really helped them achieve some of this cohesiveness but I also think that this group just fits together. Great leadership and a great respect for one another. It’s a good thing to see with guys this young. They are all wise beyond their years.

The Red & White Scrimmage was the perfect ending to a great Louisville sports day. Amidst all of the negative allegations our student athletes just went out and performed. Saturday was a much needed distraction and it did quiet the noise. There are always going to be some who try to tear down that which we all hold sacred but we can’t let them win. I refuse to let them win. The weekend started out gloomy but Sunday the sun was shining bright. Go Cards!

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Cards Will Try To Keep Momentum Going Against WolfPack

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Last weekend’s win against Samford was a great morale building win and it has our Cardinals headed in the right direction. They will attempt to keep that momentum going against the NC St Wolfpack. These teams don’t have a long history of competition but they aren’t strangers either. They have played five times and the Cards lead the series 4-1. The Cardinals won the very first game as ACC opponents against the Wolfpack last season 30-18 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The Wolfpack’s only win in this series was in the 2011 Belk Bowl. They came out victorious against the Cards in that one 31-24. Ironically the Cardinals started a freshman QB by the name of Teddy Bridgewater in that game and will also start a freshman QB Saturday. Louisville’s last trip to Carter-Finley Stadium came in 2007 when the Cardinals took home a 29-10 win.


In its 45 years of existence, Carter-Finley Stadium has earned a reputation as one of the most exciting venues in college football. It is an off campus facility located about 15 minutes from all of the things Raleigh NC has to offer. People that have visited this venue say Wolfpack fans are the type that come early and stay late. I expect this to be the loudest crowd that Louisville faces all season. The Wolf Pack has positioned themselves as a dark-horse in the ACC and their fans have bought in.

NC State had one of the most balanced offensive attacks in college football last season and they are off to a pretty good start this season with 1036 yards rushing with 878 yards passing. They’ve had 20 rushing touchdowns and 6 receiving touchdowns. The Wolfpack are looking to get a 5-0 start and the guy leading this offense is Jacoby Brissett. He is a heady veteran quarterback who is dangerous passing and running, completing 77.9 percent of his passes for 809 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions. Brissett has a passing touchdown in 11 straight games. He also has 65 rushing yards with a rushing touchdown.

Brissett also has plenty of support with all-star candidates like Jaylen Samuels and Jumichael Ramos who have combined for 398 receiving yards and four touchdowns while Matthew Dayes has 15 receptions. Dayes also leads the way with 454 yards and nine touchdowns in the rushing attack. At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, David Grinnage looks like a prototypical tight end. But he’s much more a deep threat and consistent pass receiver who has been quiet this season with 38 yards but has that big game potential. Shadrach Thornton who has 203 yards with 3 touchdowns this season has been kicked off the team. This guy played an important role in their rushing attack but Reggie Gallaspy II who has 110 yards with 2 touchdowns is more than capable at filling this gap.

The Cardinals defense is tied for #1 in the nation in pass interceptions with 9 in the first four games and now has 17 straight games with at least one interception. Chucky Williams (2 INTs), Trumaine Washington (2 INTs), and Josh Harvey-Clemons (2 INTs) are 3rd in the ACC in this ball hawking category and they will have to keep up their great defensive effort on Saturday for the Cards to have a chance in this one. The Cards who were giving up 3rd down conversions at almost a 50% clip did improve on this statistic last weekend giving up 3 of 11, but will have their work cut out for them this week with a NC state team that is ranked 2nd in the ACC converting on 28 attempts at a 53% average through 4 games.

The Louisville offense started to develop an identity in the last game and it is one that will see both Lamar Jackson and Reggie Bonnafon used in the Cardinal backfield. The athleticism and speed of this duo will be on display in full force against the Wolfpack. The Cardinals will also look to get their rushing attack moving forward as they still rank 9th in the ACC with 615 yards and 10 touchdowns. I look for this part of the Louisville offensive attack to keep getting better as Brandon Radcliff is a gamer and one of the most physically transformed Cardinals on the depth chart. I also think that the Louisville offensive line is showing improvement. The Cardinals receiving game has been pretty consistent over four games with 1019 yards and 4 touchdowns. They ranking in the top 5 in the ACC in most receiving categories and will only continue to improve especially with the return of James Quick. I look for him to have a big game in this contest.

Defensively, NC State is allowing 12 points and 205.8 yards per game. Experience and depth are abundant on N.C. State’s defense. Eight starters and 23 players who lettered last season return, including the entire secondary. Safety Josh Jones leads the Wolfpack with 17 tackles, while senior defensive end Mike Rose has 12 tackles. Other Defensive players stepping up for the Wolfpack this season are defensive end Darian Roseboro has 4 tackles with two sacks and Mike Stevens who has four tackles with two pass deflections. This NC State team is getting a lot of attention for their offense but their defense is legit and one of the best in the ACC.


It is going to be a rain soaked day for this game and that will have an impact. It will all come down to which group wants it more. Our Cardinals are in serious need of that signature win of the early season to continue to build that momentum and the Wolfpack are in desperate need of that reassurance win to show that their dark horse pick has some legitimacy. It looks to be a wet and wild day in Raleigh North Carolina and I think our Cardinals are the more battle tested group and that will pay off.

The Beak Prediction:
Louisville 27 NC State 17