After starting the 2014 season 2-0, the Cards stumbled last week in Charlottesville as Virginia beat Louisville 23-21. Today, Bobby Petrino and the Cards will try to get back to their winning ways as they face Florida International in Miami. The perfect medicine for a team that struggled so much last week could be a game against the Panthers, who Louisville beat 72-0 last season at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Can the offense get going?
The main thing that people will pay attention to today will be the offense. Louisville turned the ball over 4 times this week and only managed 282 yards of offense. Virginia leads the country with 13 takeaways so their defense is good, but we just aren’t used to that kind of performance from a Bobby Petrino offense. Will Gardner only completed 14/34 passes for 164 yards and about 7 of those passes were batted down at the line of scrimmage.
FIU does not have the defense that Virginia does, that is obvious. So these flaws from last week need to be ironed out today. The offensive line needs to hold their blocks longer, as former Card Eric Wood tweeted during that game last week.
I'm about sick of all these batted balls for Louisville. Stay engaged with your block and hit the throwing lanes!
— Eric Wood (@EWood70) September 13, 2014
Will Gardner needs to look off defenders and not stare at the receiver he is going to throw the ball to. It is a collection of things, and you just hope to see a more fluid offense today against the Panthers. This isn’t a big named ACC opponent with a great defense, so the Cards need to execute and look sharp. They pretty much have two games to improve on these issues before the schedule starts to pick up. (a bad Wake Forest team visits PJCS next week before the Cards play at Syracuse and then at Clemson)
I look for the defense to have another great game. FIU will start a freshman quarterback, Alex McGough, and I don’t think he really knows what kind of speed the Cards will be bringing. You can watch it on film all you want, but until you see it in a game, you don’t really know how fast the guys really are. He is a kid that doesn’t lack confidence, and said that if they just play their game, they can beat Louisville. You like the confidence if you are an FIU fan, but I think he will try to do too much today and the Cards will force him into mistakes.
Michael Dyer finally?
Will this be the game that we finally see Michael Dyer play? I certainly hope so. If you know me or have read my posts in the last year, you know how highly I think of Dyer and his abilities. I think that when healthy, he is the best running back on the Louisville roster. So far, L.J. Scott has been a good backup to Dominique Brown, but that is asking a lot of the freshman. If you can get a veteran like Dyer to take some pressure off of Brown, it adds a whole new weapon to this offense that it could really use.
If Dyer is close to being able to play, I think he needs to play. Yes it is just FIU, but he needs to knock off some rust from not playing in so long. With this game and then Wake Forest next week, I hope that Dyer can get some carries and game action to get back into the flow. After these next two games, the schedule gets more difficult with road games at Syracuse and at Clemson (as said earlier).
Last game of the series
This is the last in a 4 game series between Louisville and Florida International. FIU won the first game in PJCS by 7 points, you know, the T.Y. Hilton game. The Cards won the next game by 7 in Miami, and of course they won again 72-0 last season. With the spread around 27 points, this game should be decided by more than just 7 points. Although they aren’t a big name, playing FIU is big for recruiting. Remember, FIU is located in Miami, a huge recruiting spot for UofL. The coaches can pretty much get in some bonus recruiting time while down there for the game. Recruits can come see the Cards play in person. So while the opponent may not always be the best, it is a pretty important game each year for the Cards. It would be ideal if they can schedule other teams in the south in the future.
To summarize everything, I think the offense does get going today. We won’t really know how good they are for a couple more games, but they just need to look good doing it. The defense keeps playing great and they continue to lead this team. The Cards leave Miami with a 45-10 victory and improve to 3-1 on the season.
Go Cards! Go Krogering!