CARDS ARE GOOD, BUT NOT GREAT
Teddy Bridgewater had another great game, continuing his Heisman Trophy campaign, but the University of Louisville football team’s 44-7 annihilation of Eastern Kentucky on Saturday wasn’t really anything to get excited about.
Sure the eighth-ranked Cardinals clocked the Colonels like they were supposed to, but they weren’t as dominant as they were in their season-opener against Ohio. Especially, when it came to running the ball. UofL couldn’t muster much of a ground game against EKU, rushing for just 78 yards.
In his post-game press conference UofL coach Charlie Strong lamented his team’s lack of “rhythm” on offense.
The Cards were definitely doing “The Elaine” on more than a few possessions. They settled for three field goals – which is like settling for a hug at the end of a date when you could’ve gotten to second base without objection.
“You always talk about raising the standards (of the program) and what you have just potentially on offense, and you know the weapons we have, and when you get the ball down in the red zone you like touchdowns instead of field goals,” Strong said afterward. “We missed opportunities there.”
That being said Bridgewater threw for four touchdowns and nearly 400 yards (after two weeks he’s the clearly in the driver’s seat for the Heisman, but it’s way too early to hand him the trophy). Two of those were to DeVante Parker, who looked like Peter Parker’s alter ego (i.e. Spiderman) as he went up high for his first TD grab.
UofL may, or may not, need its ground game Saturday at Kentucky, but it definitely will later in the season.
NAVY SINKS IU AGAIN
After scoring an FBS-best 73 points in its season-opener against Indiana State, I had Indiana penciled in for a 4-0 start heading into a game against Penn State in early October. Surely, I thought, they wouldn’t lose to Navy for the second straight season.
However, Paris Hilton on prom night this was not. It was no sure thing. The Hoosiers took it on the chin from the seamen, losing to the Midshipmen 41-35.
Navy looked more like the Army in Operation Desert Storm with its ground offensive (444 rushing yards). IU couldn’t stop the Midshipmen’s triple-option attack. Navy scored on its first three possessions to build a 17-0 lead.
The Hoosiers were taking a beating worse than Zack Mayo.
Strong-armed sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld came off the bench to rally IU, though. When will Kevin Wilson cave and just name him the starter?
The Hoosiers actually had a chance late, but they couldn’t recover their onside kick, although they should have, and they couldn’t stop Navy on fourth down, although they should have.
You aren’t going to win too many games, though, when your quarterback is your leading rusher with 35 yards.
UK REBOUNDS, MANHANDLES MIAMI
Kentucky bounced back from its embarrassing season-opening loss to Western Kentucky by mauling Miami (Ohio) 41-7 Saturday in Mark Stoops’ home debut.
The Wildcats rolled up 675 yards (413 passing, 262 rushing) of offense – third-most in school history – behind their dual quarterback threat of Max Smith and Jalen Whitlow. Of course that was against a Redhawks’ team that has lost eight of its last nine games dating back to last season.
Not to be outdone UK’s defense came to play too. Za’Darius Smith and Bud Dupree lived up to their preseason hype (where were they against the Hilltoppers?) and the Wildcats held the Redhawks to 122 yards of offense, including only 23 through the air. That after giving up 487 yards of O to Western.
The Wildcats’ only misstep was a muffed punt by Daryl Collins. You’re welcome Miami.
Suddenly UK fans are excited once again for Saturday’s Governor’s Cup game against archrival UofL. I’m guessing that’s going to be short-lived.
WKU’S TENNESSEE TERROR
Bobby Petrino’s second game in dress rehearsal for a BCS-school job (and after Texas lost to BY-who? Saturday night I’m liking his chances of being a Longhorn) wasn’t nearly as successful as his first. Tennessee walloped Western Kentucky 52-20 Saturday afternoon in Knoxville.
But really was it his fault? No.
After the Hilltoppers took an early 3-0 lead on the Volunteers they had five turnovers in six offensive plays…what in the name of Miley twerking Cyrus?! A team trying to shave points wouldn’t even do that, it would be too obvious.
WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty threw one touchdown pass in the Hilltoppers’ 35-26 season-opening victory over Kentucky. He threw three against UT. Unfortunately for he, and WKU, two of those were to the Volunteers. He also had two passes picked in the end zone. Ouch!
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Bridgewater. The UofL junior QB completed 23 of 32 passes for 397 yards and 4 TDs against EKU.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: Smith. The UK sophomore QB completed 15 of 23 passes for 310 yards and 3 TDs (of 48, 88 and 56 yards) in the Wildcats’ triumph over Miami (Ohio).
OTHER OFFENSIVE PLAYERS WORTH MENTIONING: Sudfeld (31 of 42 passing for 363 yards and 3 TDs); Whitlow (10 of 12 passing for 103 yards and 7 rushes for 48 yards and 1 TD); Parker (5 catches for 134 yards and 2 TDs); UK junior WR Javess Blue (6 catches for 114 yards and 1 TD); WKU senior RB Antonio Andrews (13 carries for 111 yards); IU senior WR Kofi Hughes (6 catches for 102 yards and 1 TD); IU senior TE Ted Bolser (5 catches for 56 yards and 2 TDs).
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Calvin Pryor. The UofL junior safety had 8 tackles, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble and 1 tackle for loss against the Colonels.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK RUNNER-UP: Smith. The UK junior defensive end finally lived up to the massive preseason hype, recording 3 sacks in the first half against the Redhawks.
OTHER DEFENSIVE PLAYERS WORTH MENTIONING: UofL senior LB Preston Brown (8 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 3 quarterback hurries, 3 tackles for loss); WKU senior LB Xavius Boyd (13 tackles, including 1 sack and 2 tackles for loss); UK junior DE Bud Dupree (7 tackles, including 2 for loss and 1 sack and 1 forced fumble); IU junior cornerback Tim Bennett (12 tackles, 1 pass breakup).
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: John Wallace. The UofL redshirt sophomore kicker booted three field goals (of 35, 39 and 22 yards) in the Cards’ victory over EKU.