Saturday, September 7th will mark the 357th day since the University of Louisville football team notched a win. That came (barely) against a Western Kentucky team that the Cardinals will face next week in Nashville. Saturday will also be the 364th day since UofL battled against an FCS opponent in the guise of Indian State. That contest was far more harrowing, and damp, than many in Card Nation had anticipated. But that game in bad weather would prove to be a bellwether for the season to come. So the question is, what’s the forecast against the FCS Colonels of Eastern Kentucky University?
First, your pal Tom Farmer grew up a little place called Powell County. If you graduate from PCHS you generally either go straight to work or go to EKU or Morehead. Therefore I feel it’s well within my rights to complain that Eastern Kentucky University is not, in fact, in Eastern Kentucky. So I move that this entire farce be suspended under the pretense of false branding and a forfeit win be awarded to the Cardinals.
That’s not likely to happen, however right I may be, but many in Card Nation should feel validated in thinking this one will be a runaway given the Cards’ performance against the Irish on Monday. Get prepped for the Cards vs. the Colonels with your pals from The Crunch Zone.
Weather, whether, and bellwether
Tailgate Forecast: 77°F – partly cloudy with no chance of rain with a light breeze from the north.
Kickoff Forecast: 77°F – mostly sunny to clear with a light breeze from the north.
Game Forecast: Temperatures dropping to 70°F by end of game, calm with clear skies
Drink water; wear sunscreen!
Those familiar with EKU know that it’s long been a bastion of hard work and tough play. While they’ll never be pushovers, things haven’t been stellar in Richmond over the past decade. The Colonels last had an OVC title in 2011, and in four years under rookie head coach Mark Elder are 15-19 including losses to all four FBS opponents in that time. But things are looking a bit more bright in Madison County as last year’s 7-4 season may be a bridge to future success.
- R-So. RB #34 Alonzo Booth busted an 86 yd. touchdown against Valpo in EKU’s first game of the season, totaling 128 yds. on seven carries
- R-Sr. DL #44 Aaron Patrick is on the FCS-I defensive player of the year watch list and was a pre-season all-OVC team member.
- #44 Patrick notched a sack against Valpo and is now in the top-5 all-time sack list for EKU
- The last time EKU defeated an FBS opponent was in 2014 against Miami (Ohio)
- The last time EKU defeated Louisville was in a 45-21 rout of the Cardinals on Nov. 23, 1985
Coaching Them Up
If you want to get fired up then be sure to check out the video of Coach Satterfield in the post-game locker room. While it’s often thought that football requires a firm, if not violent, hand to guide players it’s refreshing to see a coaching staff that is just as focused on building back the confidence of the Cardinals. And while there are assuredly marshal elements (having seen them in-person at practice) the key to this season seems to be cohesion and camaraderie.
- Jawon Pass and his ball handling gave many a reason to pause on Monday night, but he has the confidence of his coaches and the next two weeks are a great opportunity lock down that element of what is sure to be a season of impressive runs. Expect to see drastically improved ball management.
- With depth issues ever-looming it feels a bit risky to put all the eggs in the baskets of Javian Hawkins and Hassan Hall, but if they’re going to serve up those kinds of huevos then have at it. Avoid the injury bug against EKU and WKU and great things can happen.
- While penalties were nowhere near as egregious as 2018’s debacles, they did hamper the Cards at all the wrong moments. A lot of that can be chalked up to fatigue and frustration, but getting behind the sticks is apparently a bad thing if you believe Scott Satterfield.
- Defensively there is so much to be excited about, but Monday’s performance served to draw a sharp contrast between the highlights and the remaining low-lights. Running to the ball is not a problem, but running to where the ball isn’t might be. Hustle can make up for mental mistakes but eventually it will cost you as your legs go out from underneath you or, heaven forbid, you catch an injury.
- While the rotation of centers is disconcerting to the football doctrinaires, Scott Satterfield feels both of his centers deserve an opportunity over the ball at this point. At some point that will likely evolve into a more permanent center with someone rotating to guard, so hopefully EKU and WKU present good opportunities to sort that out. But you’d be crazy to not be thrilled with the O-line’s performance against a top-rated Irish defense.