5 Bold Predictions for the second half of the season
1. Monty Montgomery will keep up his sack pace and finish the year with 8 sacks. Monty has arguably been the best player on the UL defense this season and it seems like the more playing time he gets the better the defense plays as a unit. He also is 2nd on the team in tackles (33) despite being considered the “backup” to Etheridge and Avery. If this defense is going to keep improving the way it has the past couple of weeks, I think one of the ways to ensure that keeps happening is to let Monty see the field more and more.
2. The secondary is able to step it up in the turnover department and gets 6 INTs in the second half of the season compared to just 2 in the first. Coach Satterfield and Coach Brown made a tweak to the coverage and as a result the corners are playing a lot tighter defense and getting around the ball more and more. Honestly, they should’ve had about 4 INTs over the last couple of weeks, but I think as the season goes on those dropped picks and missed batted balls will become less frequent and you’ll start to see this secondary cut offensive drives short.
3. The Cards go on to win 4 of their last 5 games to become bowl eligible (if there are bowl games). Obviously, this is a lot easier said than done, but I think this team can definitely pull it off. This season hasn’t gone the way we hoped as a fanbase, but it’s not over whatsoever. I don’t want to say this defense is necesarilly good yet, but after the tweak to the coverage and the change of pace in practice it seems like this defense is more of what we were asking for as fans before the season. This mixed with the fact that, if last week is any indication, the offense is back in full swing should make the chances of us getting to 6 wins this year pretty good. Also, the second half of our schedule is a lot more favorable than the first half as far as the talent we’ll be going up against so that’s another reason to be hopeful.
4. I think Cunningham will get 15 TDs in the air during the second half of the year bringing his total up to 27. Outside of the game against Pitt where he threw 3 of his 5 picks on the year, Malik really hasn’t been too careless with the football which is what we’ve come to expect from him. He has 12 TDs through the air right now, but he’s had at least 3 embarrassingly bad dropped TDs that I can think of off the top of my head. We also finish out against some pretty average at best secondaries with Syracuse’s being the highest rated pass defense at 55th and they’re down to 3rd string players in their secondary now.
5. Marshon Ford will, again, lead the ACC in TDs for a TE. He currently sits in 2nd place both overall for any position and 2nd place for TEs with 4 TDs. He still isn’t compiling a whole bunch of yards, but he gives the team a true recieving threat out of the backfield once the offense gets to the red zone. My prediction is he will finish the year with 9 TDs topping last year’s mark of 7. Ford is showing that last year wasn’t just a fluke and he is, in fact, one of the best red zone threats in the entire conference as a former walk-on.