I have said before that if Louisville can win games against EKU, WKU, BC and Wake, then they would be 4-2 and have a new sense of confidence. With that confidence, there is no telling where the season could end up. Those remaining 50/50 games could be more like 60/40.
But let us not get too far in front of ourselves because I believe the most telling sign of how the season plays out is game number three of the season. Yes, the WKU game could be the barometer of just how much better this team is than last years team. If we beat WKU handily then there is cause for optimism. If it’s another close game then there is cause for concern. If Louisville loses to WKU, it could potentially be another 2 win season or worse.
Let’s take a look back at last years game against WKU at Cardinal Stadium. Louisville was a three touchdown favorite. Jawon Pass was benched after only 3 pass attempts. Two of those attempts were dropped by his receivers and the other was intercepted. I wasn’t happy as I felt that Jawon needed to be left in and work through his struggles. It was the perfect game for him to learn and improve.
But that was the least of my worries. I stood there and witnessed WKU’s offensive line push the Louisville defensive front back about five yards on almost every snap. WKU outgained Louisville 428 to 292 in total yards and Louisville had negative yards after the first quarter. Western controlled the time of possession holding the ball for 35:24 of the game. They also ran 81 plays to Louisville’s 59 and was 9-of-17 on third down. WKU had four different players that caught at least four passes while Louisville had Jaylen Smith lead the team with 3 receptions. Two other players caught 2 passes as Louisville had a total of 10 receptions.
I don’t believe that Louisville had thrown in the towel on the 2018 season until after the FSU game so I think we saw close to Louisville’s best last year vs WKU. Did they overlook a team they had beaten 9 straight times? Maybe.
Another troubling fact is that most of Western’s key players were freshman or sophomores. Including quarterback Davis Shanley, who completed 22 of 33 for 240 yards and a touchdown against Louisville last season as a freshman.
While Western finished 3-9 last season, they either played really well against Louisville or just fell apart after the crushing 20-17 loss to Louisville.
Regardless, This Western team will be better than last year because they have more experience. Also, it’s basically a home game for them but I expect a large number of Louisville fans to make the trip.
If Louisville has not improved then this could be a very long night for all of the Card fans… again. I believe Louisville has improved and should be close to a two touchdown favorite. Louisville definitely has more talent than WKU and talent usually wins out.
This game has the potential to be the first big test for the Satterfield era. There are no expectations of a win in the opener and Louisville, no matter how improved, should handle EKU easily.
The WKU game is the key to the season. Win big and the hope of a 4, 5 or 6 win season remains alive. A loss or really close game is a predictor of 2 or 3 wins.
I think Louisville wins but it’s closer that we would like.
As Always, GO CARDS!