THE LOUISVILLE DEFENSE IS PUTTING ON A CLINIC

Maybe this is something we didn’t learn over the weekend, but it sure was made even more evident on Saturday. The Cardinal Defense broke a 22-year old record held by the Louisville Team that won the Fiesta Bowl for fewest total yards allowed in a game on Saturday. They held the Panthers to 30 yards, the previous record was 58 vs. Murray State in 1990.

The Louisville Defense has been quite spectacular this season. In fact, it’s been good enough to be the best in the Country. After three games the Louisville Cardinal Defense ranks #1 in the Country for points allowed, allowing just an average of 6.8 per game. The Louisville Defense has publicly noted many times that they are very prideful group and leading this category is another sign that pride is justified.

The efforts have been led in the interior by Brandon Dunn and on the outside with Lorenzo Mauldin & Marcus Smith. Dunn, who is a Senior, has taken on an extremely vocal role on the Louisville Defense. He’s started to build some very positive momentum and has put solid performances together including his 3 tackle, 2 TFL game on Saturday, but remains focused on improving.

“I have [got to where I want to be]. But, I always feel like I can continue to get better,” Dunn noted. “That’s the thing. They may say I’m crazy because they say ‘B Dunn making all these plays’, but I look myself and I can take myself as far as I’d like. I could have made more plays. Me being out front, I have to stay out front and continue to be vocal.”

LOUISVILLE’S BYE WEEK MAY FEATURE THEIR BIGGEST GAME OF THE SEASON

It’s no secret, Louisville needs a statement game. The growing noise about Louisville’s schedule grows by the decibel each week. It’s terrible, It’s bad…really bad…You don’t need me to tell you that. Yet, there still is hope. There still are chances on this Louisville schedule to get wins that will be Nationally recognized. A huge one could well be an undefeated Central Florida. The Knights are just outside of the Top 25, ranking 28th right now. They travel to Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium on a Friday night to meet the Cardinals in three weeks. There are two things that will stop them from being undefeated when they arrive: South Carolina and Memphis.

Frankly if the Knights can’t beat Memphis they don’t deserve to be in the Top 25. But the  match-up with the Gamecocks this weekend has sprung some serious intrigue. If the Knights pull the upset, you’d have to expect them to be Top 20 when they face the Cardinals. A Top 20 match-up featuring two undefeated teams on ESPN, is the perfect National Showcase for Louisville. First things first, Central Florida must beat South Carolina. They open up in Vegas as an eye-opening 7.5 underdog. Can they pull of the upset in Miami?

THE AAC STILL HAS A PULSE

How bad has the AAC been? Bad enough for three teams to lose to FCS schools. So far, the AAC has actually probably been worse than most could have expected. But the Conference finally rebounded with a solid performance this weekend. The American went 5-2. The two losses were both expected, SMU against Texas A&M and Connecticut choking away a huge upset of Michigan.

Nothing was very special about the weekend for the AAC. The only notable win from Rutgers who brought the AAC record against the SEC to 2-1. But even the Scarlet Knights were a -1 point favorite against the Razorbacks. The best thing though, was that no surprises happened. There are three undefeated teams in the AAC in Houston, Louisville and Central Florida. There are two more one loss teams Rutgers and Cincinnati. If this conference wants any shred of respect, it will have to look upon these teams to get it.

BILAL POWELL IS TRYING TO GET PAID

Former Louisville Cardinal Bilal Powell still has it. He rushed for his first 100+ yard day in the NFL against the Bills, and to make things even better, the Jets defeated the Bills 27-20. Powell finished with 149 rushing yards on 27 carries along with 2 catches for 9 yards. It was third largest rushing output of Former Louisville Cardinals currently in the NFL, and it was the most yards Powell has rushed for since November 15th, 2010 in a loss against Cincinnati.

A lot of credit could go to Charlie Strong for the success that Powell is now having in the NFL. It was Strong that called Powell the ‘face of the program’ during his first year at Louisville. At the time, Powell was said to be suffering from a confidence issue. After Steve Kragthrope and being overshadowed by Victor Anderson, who could blame him? But, it was this decision that helped Powell gain full belief in himself. He answered the bell that season with a 1,405 yard season which more than tripled any of his previous outputs while at Louisville.

The Jets have essentially split carries with Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory. I’d say he did more than show that he is deserving of the majority of the carries going forward.

Here’s this:

 

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL IS BAD…REALLY BAD AT FOOTBALL

Well perhaps we’ve already know that. I’m pretty sure that was quite clear after the double-digit loss that Florida International took at the hands of FCS Bethune Cookman. But, there’s nothing quite like it hitting you square in the face. Hearing about how poor the Panthers team was isn’t one thing, seeing it in person is entirely other.

From, top to bottom the Panthers team is quite awful. It was almost hard to watch at times. At one point on Saturday, Florida International had a fairly convertible third-down until they couldn’t handle it. They preceded to follow this opportunity up with three consecutive false starts. I couldn’t help but chuckle.

Yes, I know that first year Head Coach Ron Turner is trying to set up a new culture after Mario Cristobal was relived from his duties. He’s had to send several players off the team due to them not living up to his standards, couple that with the amount of injuries the Panthers have had this season, and it’s bad news. However, after seeing the product on the field, and talking with Turner following the game, I have to wonder why Cristobal was relived in the first place.

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Chris Hatfield

Residing in Louisville, KY (via Bardstown, KY). I write things about Louisville Sports. Sometimes you'll like them. Follow me @_ChrisHatfield Email me at chatfield60@gmail.com

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