LEXINGTON, KY– As far as College Football is concerned, Louisville (3-0) is viewed as one of the best offenses in the Country. Quarterback, Running back, Wide Receiver; they have it all. The Cardinals have more talent at the Wide Receiver position, than most teams have in their entire arsenal. But on Saturday, against Kentucky (1-2), it was the Louisville Cardinal Defense who led the way. Standing up and symbolically saying: ‘We’re pretty good too’.
“Our defense, early in the game, was able to go out and get some stops,” Louisville Head Coach Charlie Strong explained.
With all due respect to Mr. Strong, that is perhaps the understatement of the season.
The Louisville Defense played a phenomenal football game.
They saw a Two Quarterback system and weren’t rattled.
They held the Wildcats to an eye-opening 0-13 conversion rate on Third-Down.
They forced Kentucky QB Jalen Whitlow into an interception by JR CB Charles Gaines, and took the ball away from the Wildcats rushing attack twice.
The much-heralded Cardinals offense was struggling in the First Half.
They tried to pass and Teddy Bridgewater – who finished 16-28, with 250 yards on 1 TD- just seemed a ‘bit off’.
They tried to run, the Wildcat five down lineman surprised them.
“They came out with some different fronts [in the first half] and we weren’t prepared for it,” RS Junior RB Dominique Brown stated. “We were pretty surprised. They pretty much had five defensive lineman down the whole game. We didn’t expect that.”
While Louisville was ambushed by the Kentucky Defensive looks, they turned to their Defense to carry them.
The [defense] kept coming in the locker room [at halftime] and said, ‘Offense, we’re waiting on y’all,'” Brown explained.
And they were.
They Kentucky Wildcat Defense held the second most productive offense in the Country to 10 points at halftime.
They gave the Wildcats starting position at their own 18, 25, 43, 46 and still held them to three points. They also left the Wildcats at halftime with only 116 total yards to show for their efforts.
“We always go out there and try to play our hardest,” LB Preston Brown noted. “We know that Teddy [Bridgewater] will get these guys right. We weren’t really focused on them not getting touchdowns in the beginning. We know that Teddy will get them started eventually.”
He did finally get things clicking and thrown for 85 yards right out of halftime in the third quarter.
While the Louisville defensive attack was impressive. It was hardly perfect. When Starting QB Maxwell Smith went down placing Jalen Whitlow into the game. The Alabama Sophomore was able to make several big plays with his feet, rushing for a total of 58 yards.
“On his scrambles, he really hurt us,” Brown said. “They run 4 wide and we all ran out coverage and he scrambled around and had fun.”
The Louisville Defense as gave up a total of 376 yards but held the Wildcats to 3 points for 45 minutes of play.
“It was alright, but we gave up too many big plays,” Brown explained. “They’d had a lot of drop balls that could have made the game closer.”
But they did drop those passes.
And make no mistake about it, the Cardinals Defense played a big part in that.
Whether it was intimidation-lead, or the talent-lead, the Louisville Defense impressed leading the way in a 27-13 win. Maybe soon, when people talk about the Louisville Offense being one of the Nation’s Best, they’ll consider the Cardinals Defense in that conversation.
For now, the University of Louisville Cardinals have made their 3rd consecutive claim on the Governor’s Cup. Dominique Brown said Coach Strong is keeping his promise: “Coach Strong said that we would never lose to them again, he’s keeping his word.”
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