Gameday Recap: Cards Stifle Pittsburgh In Homecoming Victory

Tonight’s game pitted a Louisville team desperate to capture momentum for a second half of season run against a Pittsburgh team with slim hopes of getting into the ACC championship. After a bye week, the Cards entered the game as healthy as they have been since the first game of the season. The back half of the schedule is daunting with a number of ranked opponents standing in the way of a winning record and a bowl game. The hope entering tonight’s game was this would act as a springboard to a successful end to the 2022 season. It turns out, it could be just that. The Cards defense was like a swarm of angry bees who had their nest kicked by Pittsburgh and the offense found enough of a rhythm in the 4th quarter to grind out a 24-10 victory.

What the game came down to, was UofL’s defense playing like a pack of wolves. They mauled Pittsburgh’s offense for most of the game. Early on, they did have some missed tackles and there were other spots in the game they gave up chunk plays both on the ground and in the air, but the defense was stellar for the most part. Yasir Abdullah and Yaya Diaby were arguably the standouts. Diaby had two huge tackles for loss and a half a sack he shared with LB Monty Montgomery. Abdullah had 7 total tackles, including a strip sack that led to a fumble return for a TD by CB Kei’Trel Clark. He also had an interception in the first quarter at the 3 yard line that stopped a Pitt drive in the red zone. MJ Griffin also picked off a Slovis pass.

Offensively, it wasn’t the prettiest game. Malik Cunningham made his return from injury and had a rough first half. While he did throw a 25-yard TD pass to Marshon Ford in the second quarter, Malik was not consistent. He was missing receivers that were open and making some questionable decisions. Malik suffered an injury in the second quarter that sent him to the sideline for a play. It was a potential targeting that was never reviewed. Despite not having his best game and being replaced by Domann in the 3rd quarter for a drive, Cunningham was able to get UofL the lead in the 4th quarter and win the game. Cunningham finished with 10-21 for 122 yards and 2 TDs. He had one interception as well. He contributed 46 yards on the ground and caught a 33-yard pass on a trick play pass by Braden Smith that was arguably the biggest play on offense of the game. It led to Malik’s second TD to little used TE Josh Lifson, a Louisville native.

Trevion Cooley was the hot hand in the backfield this game. Cooley had 11 carries for 75 yards. He averaged 6.8 yards a carry on the night. He narrowly missed breaking a huge run a few times and was very consistent for UofL. Cooley was able to provide some consistency for the offense. Tyler Hudson was the go-to receiver on the night with 5 receptions for 71 yards. Chris Bell had a nice 29-yard catch as well and is slowly getting more playing time.

In the end, this UofL game could’ve ended like so many others in the Satterfield era: a close loss where there were multiple opportunities to win, but mistakes and inability to come up with a big play on either side of the ball did the Cards in. However, the opposite happened. UofL made plays late in the game on both sides of the ball that secured a homecoming victory. It’s a much-needed victory. UofL now sits at 4-3 with a very good Wake Forest team coming to town next week. Coach Scott Satterfield needed to follow up his victory at Virginia with this home win and he did just that. This could be the springboard to a strong finish to this season. A finish many couldn’t even begin to imagine just a couple of weeks ago. However, a real test approaches next week. If the Cards find a way to win against the Demon Deacons, all the goals of the preseason are alive and well.

Below, you can see all the postgame pressers:

Coach Scott Satterfield

LB Yasir Abdullah

RB Trevion Cooley

QB Malik Cunningham

LB/S Ben Perry

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