Aftermath: Louisville Vs Virginia Tech

It started out very scary, but Louisville Football fought back against the Hokies. However, they eventually succumb to Virginia Tech 42-35. It was far from a pretty performance, but it was definitely gutsy.

The game seemed doomed from the start as 9 players were ruled out before the game for reasons not disclosed. This included 6 defensive linemen that were starters or primary backups. Also, arguably Louisville’s best overall defender, Monty Montgomery, was out.

Louisville dug a 21-0 hole, but managed to claw its way out. Malik Cunningham completed 23 of 35 passes for 350 yards and 3 TDs. While he was integral to the comeback, he was also integral to the defeat as he threw 3 interceptions as well. Javian Hawkins proved once again why he’s one of the best RBs in the country, rushing for 129 yards and a TD while catching 5 passes for 42 yards and another TD. Dez Fitzpatrick had one of his best games as a Card with 5 receptions for 158 yards and a TD. TE Marshon Ford caught Cunningham’s other TD.

CJ Avery, Jack Fagot, and Marlon Character each had a sack for the defense. Avery keyed the defense with 10 total tackles and 2 tackles for loss to go along with his sack. Rodjay Burns added 9 total tackles and a half a tackle for loss. Russ Yeast contributed 7 total tackles and a half a tackle for loss. Jack Fagot had a good game as, in addition to his sack, he had 6 total tackles and a tackle for loss. Kei’Trel Clark had 1.5 tackles for loss, Jared Goldwire had half a tackle for loss, and Marlon Character added 1 tackle for loss as well.

Louisville was dealt a bad hand defensively. Offensively, the turnovers really hurt and put the Cards behind the 8 ball. However, the fight they showed is commendable and shows that these Cards won’t give up until the final whistle blows and the train horn calls them home.

Below, you can see the aftermath of the Cards loss to Virginia Tech. Game highlights, player quotes, Coach Satt quotes, and comments from Virginia Tech Coach Justin Fuente.


Coach Satterfield Postgame Quotes:

Virginia Tech at Louisville

October 31, 2020 | Cardinal Stadium

Postgame Quotes

Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield

“First of all, just give Virginia Tech a lot of credit. We knew they were a good football team coming in. I think their coaching staff does a really, really good job at what they do. They want to run the football and then be solid in everything else. I thought they came out tonight, and that’s what they did. They established the run and were able to get some big plays off of that run. We didn’t do much offensively at the beginning of the game and then they jumped out to a 21-0 lead. I told our guys I was really proud of them because of what they did. They easily could have just said ‘Man, this game’s over, we’re missing some guys’… Start hanging your head and start making excuses, but they didn’t do that. They continued to fight. I thought we got a big spark out of Hawk’s [Javian Hawkins] run right before the half – 90-yard touchdown run into halftime, there’s a lot of spirit there. You come back out in the second half and you’re just battling back and forth. I thought [Malik] Cunningham played a really good game today. One bad throw on the interception. The other two interceptions were a tipped ball by a receiver and then fourth down play where you’ve got to just throw it in the end zone. Thought he played outstanding there, particularly the last few drives there in the fourth quarter. A lot of fight, just came up a little bit short… didn’t get enough plays there at the end and had a hard time stopping them there on some of those drives right there at the end of the game. But again, I’m proud of our guys. Tough, tough way to end it, though.”

(When did you find out you were going to be missing so many guys today and with most of those absences COVID related?)

“We found out this morning on most of those guys. You are correct with that. We’re in the year of this virus we have to deal with. We’ve been doing a great job with it, really this whole time. Really got caught with it today, right now. This is the most difficult time really for all us coaches, because you’re dealing with all these parameters that we have with this, and the hand that you’re dealt, you’ve got to deal with it and move forward and that’s what we did.”

(Because of how depleted your defense was, what kind of adjustments did you have to make maybe even today in terms of personnel and alignment and strategy, trying to get some of the guys up front particularly some breathers?)

“Very difficult to do. We were down to five D-linemen today, and we usually like to play seven or eight. And on top of that, you’re playing a team that wants to run the football and they’re one of the best in the country at that. And that’s very difficult. We tried to get a couple of linebackers, if we need to get some spells, let those guys come in there and play D-line, but we really ended up just rotating those five guys, trying to keep them as fresh as you can, which is difficult. Monty Montgomery was out at linebacker. He’s arguably one of our best playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. So you missed him Isaiah Hayes was out, starting safety, who is basically the quarterback of the defense back in the back end. What we did, we told the other guys ‘now’s your opportunity and your chance to come out and make some plays. Maybe you haven’t gotten as many reps in a game, so now’s your time. You’re training just like everybody else.’ Those guys went out and I thought played really hard, and gave everything they had tonight and at the end of it, it wasn’t good enough. But you’ve got to make adjustments the best you can and really, when you don’t have that many players on one side of the ball, there’s not a whole lot you can do. We don’t have a bunch of guys to go to anyway. So that’s all you have. That’s all we had to work with. So we were just rotating those guys in and probably got wore down a little bit there by the fourth quarter.”

(On the onside kick within a score late in the game, what was the thought process behind that?)

“It was a hard time stopping them, number one. You want to get the ball back. The one thing they can do when they occupied the ball is run the time out. Time was of the essence and we needed to score and we need to score quickly. The first time that we did onside with five minutes to go we were thinking maybe we can catch them off guard. And I think we did catch them off guard a little bit with that, though. Anytime on an onside kick you got to get the proper bounce. The first one, they ended up getting the ball on the 30-yard line, which was like it would be on a normal kick anyway. And so you’re trying to get the ball, maybe it bounces your way. The second one, we did have them outflanked on that one. And the ball’s just got to bounce, it bounced right over Hawkins’ head. It was just one of those deals, it’s bouncing and then all of a sudden goes right over the head and then last one there, it was a perfect kick, [Javian] Hawkins got it, they got us for the delay of game, so we’re one second past the delay of game. We’re trying to win the game. That’s why we onside kicked it. If you kick it deep and they melt out five minutes of the clock, you don’t even give yourself a chance, so we were just trying to win the game.”

(How would you evaluate how the offensive line played over the course of this game?)

“The first play we got sacked. And it was a play where they slanted the defensive end, all the way underneath the offensive line. It was a good move by them. It’s hard… we’ll have to go back and see how they actually really played. I thought during the second half when they knew we were going to throw in the fourth quarter. I thought they did a really good job with protection. I think it was a couple things early in the game that they were doing some stunts to be able to beat our offensive line and get in the backfield. And a couple others were coverage issues as well.  I think I have to go back and look. I thought we played okay. Was it great, probably not great. But it wasn’t bad either. I think they were just probably solid. As we go back and look at the film, we’ll have more idea about how they played.”

(On Javian Hawkins’ big run to end the first half)

“That’s a set that we like in third-down situations. A three-by-one with four wide and sometimes teams don’t load up the weak side and that’s where he ended up hitting. We run a play to the weak side and one of his great attributes is to be able to run fast once he breaks past the linebackers. He got a couple of good blocks down the field and was able to turn on the speed. He’s a great big play threat back and is one of the best in the country. If you go back and look at his numbers over the last year and a half, he’s one of those guys that’s probably got as many 20-plus yard runs as anybody. He showed that again that you’re never out of it when you give him the football. He’s got an opportunity to score, and he’s a special player and he competes his tail off. I love the way he plays. So that was a big spark for us right before halftime.”

(How do you prepare for Virginia going forward with so many defensive players out today?)

“In this world we’re living in this year 2020, you take everything day by day. So, we’ll look at it tomorrow and we’ll figure out where we are with everybody and see what we need to do personnel-wise. When it gets thrown to you on a Saturday morning before you get to play, you really don’t have much time to change anything that you’ve already worked on that whole week. The only positive is now where you actually know, so you can have a little bit more time to kind of game plan to figure out where we need to put guys with your personnel to see what we need to do. We’ll assess it tomorrow, and we’ll figure out what we need to do as far as, is there anybody we need to move around. Are there any young guys that haven’t played a whole lot and now we need to get some reps. That is what ends up happening, trying to get guys reps throughout practice so they know what the game plan is. We will know more about that tomorrow, probably Monday and kind of give you an update on that.”

(A large majority of the players out today were on defense, have you done any contact tracing for a specific issue like a party or a meeting where all these guys were?)

“No, I don’t think it was any of that. I think it’s really an issue where all it takes is one. One person, and then all of a sudden, maybe it’s one other and one other. It’s really not anything we can link it back to. It just came on to us this morning. We haven’t had a ton of great time to investigate but I don’t suspect it’s anything like you mentioned there as far as parties or any of that kind of thing. Our guys have been outstanding this whole time since they’ve been back. They understand the ramifications of when you’re out and about and what could happen. We’re on a college campus, where there’s a lot of people. So you never know.  I don’t think anybody truly knows where they come in contact. But I think our guys do a really good job with it.”

(Clemson announced that Trevor Lawrence will not play next week, do you know if these guys will be out for next week’s game?)

“I don’t know. We will address it tomorrow and by Monday we’ll have a pretty good update. We’ll see where everybody’s going to be located with that. Obviously, there’s protocols and there’s certain days everybody has to wait. For some, they will be out next week and for others they may be back, so we’ll have to see.”

Postgame Player Quotes:

Virginia Tech at Louisville

October 31, 2020 | Cardinal Stadium

Postgame Quotes

Louisville Players

Malik Cunningham, Redshirt Junior, QB

(When you look at the defense with all the guys missing, give me your thoughts on their performance. They had to battle a lot of things this week.)

“Defense, they played good. We were short-handed, so we knew as an offense we had to score a lot of points because [Virginia Tech’s] running back is pretty good. Their running game is pretty good. We just fell short we missed a couple opportunities that we would like to have back, but we can’t dwell on it. We have to come back to work tomorrow and get ready for Virginia.”

(What did you think offensively worked so well later in the game that didn’t work earlier in the game?)

“We decided to throw the ball. The running game wasn’t really there. It opened up a little bit for us, but we know we have a lot of weapons on the side, and we were able to see that in the second half. Those guys got the ball and got it in their hands, and we let them do what they do. We tried our hardest, but those losses like that kind of hurt.”

(When did you find out that so many of your teammates were not going to play? What was your reaction as a team when you heard it?)

“This morning. We knew that this was eventually going to hit us at some point. It has hit a lot of teams, and it was us this morning. We found out at about 9 o’clock that a couple guys on the defensive side were going to be out. It was another challenge for us as an offense. I told those guys before that game that we were going to have to score a lot of points today in order for us to win. Like I said, we fell a little short of that.”

(You heard about 9 o’clock. Have you had any communication with any of the guys who were out? What was their reaction?)

“I haven’t talked to any of those guys that are in quarantine. I was focused on the game this morning.”

(Can you give me a general reaction from you guys when you found out you were going to be missing that many guys today? It’s a shocking thing to learn the morning of the game.)

“All of our coaches preached that ‘so what, now what’?’ mentality. It’s just next man up. A lot of those young guys stepped up on the defensive side. A lot of the guys who rotate made some good strides today, and we have to grow from it tomorrow in practice.”

(You guys got behind by three scores. Coach Satterfield said it was an opportunity that you guys could’ve hung your heads, but you didn’t. What does that continue to say about this team’s will and drive to stay in games like that?)

“That we’ve just got so much fight in us that I wasn’t going to let anyone on the offense give up. There was a lot of ball left. We’ve seen it done… Last year, there were plenty of games where we were down and came back to come out on top, victorious. Like I said, we just fell short. And those losses like that, those hurt bad.”

(What did you see out of [Javian] Hawkins’ 90-yard touchdown run? What was your reaction?)

“Actually, they gave us the look. And I was reading him. It was crazy – right before the play, I had told Hawk he was going on that play on the backside end. He stayed with me, and he hit it up on the backside gap. I knew nobody on their defense was fast enough to catch him.”

Dez Fitzpatrick, Redshirt Senior, WR

(What was it like today? You had a big day with a big touchdown. What was clicking for you today?)

“Nothing more than just another game. You start throwing the ball a little bit more when you get behind a couple scores. The pass game looked good.”

(That big touchdown catch that you had – take us through that moment and the spark that it provided you guys.)

“The play called for me. It was another route, but the DB was so far off that I kind of just put my hands up and Malik [Cunningham], just quarterback/receiver timing, he knew what I was going to do. He saw the DB behind me, so just kind ran our own route right there. Big play in the game. Momentum-changer, but we’ve got to execute more after that.”

(How would you describe the challenge you guys faced today of missing nine guys and just finding out this morning that was going to be the case?)

“Everybody’s going through it all over the country at every college. We got our little taste of it on game day. Little surprise to us, but we have that so what, now what mentality. That’s what Coach Mike and Coach Satterfield preach to us all the time. You can’t look in the past. You’ve got to just move forward. You’ve got to step with your best foot forward.”

(You guys have been pretty good and safe from COVID for most of the season, and even through fall camp. Now that it has hit you, does that heighten your worries or your awareness of everything that can go on?)

“No. Matt Summers and his staff have done a tremendous job since corona even started. It’s probably just a couple of little slip-ups that just happen. I feel like we’ve done everything that we could do to prevent it. Sometimes it just finds people. That just happened to us, and so we’re just moving forward.”

Jared Goldwire, Senior, DL

(Obviously you guys were pretty short-handed up front. How do you get prepared when missing so many guys?)

“Next man up. We practice how we practice. The coaches prepared us despite the situation.”

(When did you find out about everybody being out? How did that change the game plan for what you guys might be expecting up front?)

“I found out right before pregame. Like I said, it’s just next man up. Clearly, it did change a little bit about what we were doing… we figured it out.”

(You were out there for a great majority of the snaps. Did you get any rest tonight? How much more trying was that as the game went along? Did you feel yourself wearing down?)

“No. We have a great nutrition staff, so they were keeping me hydrated and eating on the sideline. They helped me out throughout the game, so I felt energized.

(It looked like you were on the field almost the entire fourth quarter, and probably most of the game. Did you get any breaks?)

“Yeah. Dezmond Tell came in and relieved me on some drives.”

(Because of the guys out, did you feel a little more weight on your shoulders as one of those guys who was a senior up front trying to help the guys who were less experienced? Did you feel a need to show some leadership out there?)

“I just felt like keeping a positive mindset. As long as I kept that positive mindset, all we needed was the five men who played today. That was the mentality we all had.”

(Obviously, you played on short notice, and now you have a week to prepare to probably play on short notice again. “Does it help you to have that week? How do you think you are going to prepare with a small amount of guys?)

“Really that’s up to the coaching staff about how we’re going to prepare. I just know that we’re going to come out each and every day ready to practice and ready to work hard. They’re going to set a game plan and we’re going to follow it to the best of our abilities.”

(Coach mentioned that you guys this season have been safe and haven’t really had to deal with this personally yet. But now that you are dealing with and it has hit you, has it changed your view on the situation at all? Does it make you want to be that much safer and that much more careful?)

“Like Dez said, Matt and his staff have done a tremendous job up to this point. Whatever protocols they put in place, we’re going to follow.”

(Even though you were short-handed, you seemed to have battled pretty well today defensively. Were there any guys up front that maybe didn’t play in the past that you thought stood out today?)

“Derek Dorsey and Ramone [Puryear]. I thought they did tremendously on most of the plays. They haven’t really played a lot, especially Derek. I thought they did a tremendous job for being short-handed and short notice.”

Virginia Tech Head Coach Justin Fuente Postgame Quotes:

Virginia Tech at Louisville

Cardinal Stadium | Louisville, Ky. | 10/31/2020 |Post Game Press Conference

Virginia Tech Head Coach Justin Fuente: “Awfully proud of our guys. Congratulations to our players and staff, great response today. It wasn’t always pretty, but we found a way to get the job done. Except for one play, I was really proud of our run defense and this is a team that really prides itself on running the stretch and can really run it. I thought we defended it really well except for one play right before the half. We weren’t as good in the passing game as we’d like to be, offensively. I liked our response, we were efficient in the passing game, ran the ball, decently well, and found a way to get a win. I think the coolest part of it was just seeing our response after that gut punch we took at the end of the first half with the big, long run right at half. I’ve never seen anything like it. I was really proud of the way our guys were in the locker room at halftime in terms of being really anxious to get back out there, it could have gone in the tank pretty easily there because we had dominated most of the half and found ourselves only up by seven.”

(That seemed like a very invested sideline from the start, compare tolast week. How much did you enjoy that and how much do you think that helped you today through some of those tough times.)

“This is a game that is played with emotion, and it’s more so the guys that aren’t in the game, continuing to help support the players that are on the field. I think what disappointed me the most was, that’s something that we harp on in practice, and actually practice doing it. When we scrimmage and when we practice it’s something we do all the time and we didn’t do a very good job of it last week. I think our guys listened to the message this week, which is encouraging and took the coaching, went out there and put it on display. Now it’s difficult to do all the time but, when we do those things we have a chance to be a much better football team and if we want to be a good football team then we will have to do those things week in and out.”

(How pleased were you with how (Hendon) Hooker responded from last week, 10/10 passing today, a couple touchdowns in the ground?)

“We were much more efficient. I didn’t know it was gonna be 10 for 10. I didn’t know we only threw it 10 times until I just sat down, but he certainly was efficient and played well. Just operated on a much quicker basis I felt. The tempo and the pace of his operation and his play was sharp and on point, and it was a really good response for him.”

(With the onside, about recovering two onside kicks … how worried are you when those plays happen and how much confidence do you have in your hands teams on those.)

“Well, I feel great about our special teams coordinator, I make no bones about it. When it comes to details and technique, he is the best I’ve ever seen at coaching those things. We have a hands unit that has some experience. Now, not just from this year but many of the guys on there are experienced players. It’s always a nerve-wracking play because there’s 15 or 20 different formations and motions and things that can happen really quickly. Teams are getting really good and Louisville is very good at scheming those things up. What makes you really uneasy is when there’s six minutes to go in a game, and to try to figure out whether to put your return unit out there or the hands unit out there. That’s why we burnt that time out, just to put the hands unit back out there. I thought they executed at a really high level today which is really impressive.”

(With the big run, Alan Tisdale and (Rayshard) Ashby kind of crashed down. Were they supposed to drop back in coverage? What happened on that play with the ninety yard run right before halftime.)

“I’m not really positive to be honest with you. It hit and broke, and the safety and the boundary couldn’t make the play. Obviously, we were playing just short of prevent defense there, and it creased and he can run, really run, and outran us. They have enough people to block our guys in the box. It should get to the safety and get it tackled and go into half and that didn’t happen.”

(The response to the long run there at half, coming out in the third quarter and immediately get behind the chains with the sack and you’re second and 17. How big was that subsequent pass from Hooker to (James) Mitchell down the seam?)

“It was pretty big. We came out and busted the stinking protection on first down. It put us behind the chains. We should at least been hatted up, we may have gotten defeated on the blitz but, we should have been hatted up. To come back and respond and throw what amounted to basically four verts to James off play-action on second and long to either get the first down or get us really close to it, I thought was a big momentum play there.”

(About only throwing it ten times but 51 rushes and 10 passes, that’s quite the ratio. Is that kind of what you thought coming in would be the story today?)

“If you would have asked me on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning if we were only going to throw the ball 10 times, I would have probably said you’re crazy, but that might be a good sign. No we didn’t intend to have it look like that. It did, and the10 passes were really efficient and I’m glad we had them.”

(About Tisdale being on the outside has been considered largely more of a cover first linebacker. What’s allowed his growth, as a run defender, knowing his background coming out of high school was more as a safety, who grew into that linebacker position?)

“First of all, he’s talented. He can really run. I think what’s helped him continue to improve has been his attention to detail and improvement in learning the system and learning how to play linebacker instead of just being a guy that can run that’s out there running around. He’s spent extra time. Mentally and emotionally he’s in a great place right now to develop his skill set there and he’s reaping the benefits by playing pretty well.”

(It seemed like your defense was a fraction of a second away from making a play on a lot of snaps today. How tough is that offense to defend and how much does it kind of scare you when the ball is even in their hands?)

“It seemed like there were half a dozen plays where we’re right there and just couldn’t get the guy on the ground and then he breaks a tackle and throws a touchdown or whatever. Their quarterback is a really good player and then you throw the tailback on top of it, and No. 1 (Tutu Atwell) and then some of the bigger guys on the outside and the tight ends in the play action game. We succeeded in my opinion. You look at the stats and see the yards rushing and that’s really one big rush, and the rest of the day I thought we did a really good job, against the run. We didn’t make as many plays defending the pass, either in pass rush or pass coverage, as I would have anticipated that we would have. But our guys kept fighting and battling and playing the next play but they are an explosive, dangerous offense.”

(Is that the kind of offense where you feel like you need to get points on every drive or it kind of ratchets up the pressure on your offense?)

“You come into the game knowing that they’re going score. We created a couple turnovers in the first half that were huge but you know you need to be efficient on the other side of the ball in order to give yourself a chance because they are so dangerous offensively and can put you in a bind so quickly with their ability to run the stretch play and the, play action off of it and the quarterback that’s just really probably I would say he throws the ball pretty darn well, much better than you want him to, I can tell you that much.”

(About defending Micale Cunningham)

“It is brutal. In the pass game, it is rush the passer but don’t run past the quarterback because he can run. In the run game, it is chase the dive or chase the stretch but also defend the bootleg. That is the crux they have you up against. It makes it very difficult because you have to mix up your calls and your responsibilities to help that stuff out to a.) get a pass rush or b.) the quarterback gets out on you and it is a nightmare. He is outside the pocket or he is running the quarterback draw right down the middle and you are way up the field. It was really a difficult thing. I thought our guys played really well and were effective. I thought the guys on the inside played well against the run. They certainly make it difficult. We were down a couple guys and really hadn’t anticipated bringing Ty until late in the week. We obviously going to be down two guys so we just wanted to give a guy a spell every ten snaps I would be happy with it.”

(About Tre` Turner)

“It was good to see him play well. It was good to see Keshon play the big play on the post route. It was good to get Tre` back going and feeling good. Those guys and James on the outside are our three guys and we continuing to bring other guys along. It was nice to see them be productive and have fun out there playing.”

(About halftime talk)

“I was formulating what to say because that is a gut punch. We are up 21-7 and basically are up 14 going into halftime and then – boom – that happens. My intention walking into the locker room was to remind everyone that we are up by seven and that there is nothing you can do about that play (TD right before the half) and that we played really well and we need to play a little bit better. But when you walk in the locker room, you immediately fill better when you hear the conversations that you hear in the locker room. Guys are fired up to get back out there and although they aren’t happy about what happened, they are saying the same things that the coaches are saying. I addressed them real quick with what I just said. I felt like they knew what I was going to say before I said it.”

(About Hooker going 10 for 10)

“He was really efficient and what we needed him to be. That is what he has done in basically every game he has played pretty well except for one game. He went out there today and played like the Hendon Hooker we have all become accustomed to and we won so he will get more credit than the quarterback usually deserves. Just like last week when he probably got more blame than the quarterback deserves. He was really good.”

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