Author Archives: Mitch Motley
Well, Louisville battled, looked inspired, and fought through adversity to defeat FSU 31-28 in Tallahassee.
It wasn’t pretty, at all. But it was a successful road trip that put this team in a much better position than they were in before the game clock hit zeros. Louisville started hot early, with Lamar rushing for an easy touchdown on the first drive of the game. FSU answered with a drive of their own, making the score 7-7. It took awhile for another score to happen, and that score came off a Lamar Jackson fumble that the Seminoles ran home for 6.
After allowing what I saw at PJCS yesterday to digest, I feel stable enough to finally write about it. Louisville entered yesterday’s game against Boston College as a 19-point favorite at home, but walked away with a 45-42 loss.
The talk all week had been, “I don’t think we’ll lose, but I’ll need to see something that shows me corrections have been made and glaring problems have been fixed to have hope on the road at FSU next week.” I don’t think you could find a fan yesterday that honestly believed we’d lose, let alone, allow the 114th ranked offense in the nation to put up 555 total yards and 45 points. But obviously, all of that happened.
Two weeks ago, the college basketball world was turned upside-down for a handful of schools. The FBI had uncovered 3 years of information into their investigation covering shoe companies, powerhouse division programs, and illegal benefits given to recruits. Some, like Arizona, Oklahoma State, USC, and Auburn, were named outright. Then, there were a few schools anonymously mentioned simply as “University 5” or “University 6”. Details were released about the anonymous schools, which led to speculation as to who those unnamed schools could be. “University 6” pretty obviously described the University of Louisville. We as fans knew that the description was frighteningly accurate, and while some of us (myself included) didn’t want to face the reality until it was confirmed, deep down, we all knew our beloved university was in turmoil, once again.
As we waited for some source of credible confirmation, Twitter and Facebook feeds filled with assumptions and jumped-to conclusions. Rationally thinking, my thought process was, “no way would our program be that irresponsible to try something so obviously wrong while on probation.” None of it made sense, but the writing was on the wall. As more information came to light, it became more and more abundantly clear that the UofL basketball program had put itself into a hole that even an “I had no idea” statement couldn’t get them out of it. When it was confirmed that Louisville was in fact “University 6”, the next questions that needed to be answered were, “who?” and “why?”. No way would Rick Pitino allow this to happen after being so adamantly against the monopoly shoe companies had on College Basketball. Our team was already set to be a top-10 team, why would we risk all of this just to add one player? It didn’t make sense, and it still doesn’t.
It has been a rough time for the University of Louisville over the past two weeks. Last night’s game, unfortunately, followed the same script. Louisville’s defense continued to struggle, the offense never appeared to establish a rhythm, and the same fundamental miscues, going back to last season, were once again painfully obvious. NC State was the better team last night, and the final score of 39-25 in favor of the Wolfpack clearly shows that.
Louisville allowed an abysmal 520 yards of offense (to Louisville’s 470). Once again, tackling was a huge issue, as was defending the pass (367 passing yards allowed). Lamar Jackson finished 26/47 passing for 354 yards with 1 touchdown and a pick-6 that put the game away for good. Lamar also rushed for 73 yards on 19 carries and 2 touchdowns. Dez Fitzpatrick reeled in 10 passes for 134 yards and his counterpart Seth Dawkins had 5 catches for 133 yards and the lone receiving touchdown for the Cardinals.
After the defense got a stop with about 3 minutes left to go, Louisville had an opportunity late in the game to put together a tying drive. As mentioned above, that’s when the most untimely of errors occurred and a tipped pass was hauled in by an NC State LB and returned for a touchdown, putting the game permanently out of reach. Linebacker Stacy Thomas went out with an injury, as did Running Back Malik Williams, sending thoughts to both of them.
Once you’re at the bottom, the only way you can go is up. The past 2 weeks for everyone involved with UofL have been weeks we wish we could move on from and forget forever. Keep the faith, CardNation, things will get better.
To no surprise, Louisville was able to defeat in-state FCS foe Murray State today. Louisville overpowered the Racers with a final score of 55-10.
Murray State’s lone touchdown came on the Cardinals’ opening drive of the 2nd half due to a fumbled snap that the Racers took to the house for 6 points. Their field goal came in the first half due to a string of penalties that brought them within range of their kicker.
Lamar Jackson fulfilled my pregame prediction of scoring 4 touchdowns and getting back to what works. He rushed for 100 yards on 7 carries for a touchdown and threw for 3 more. Dez Fitzpatrick caught 2 touchdown passes, but freshman Corey Reed was the Cardinals’ leading receiver with 4 receptions for 94 yards.
In an otherwise uneventful game, Louisville made the corrections to the mistakes from Kent State last week. The Cardinals didn’t turn the ball over today, except for the mishandled snap by the 2nd team. The defense still looked stout, and Jaire Alexander should be back for the Cardinals’ pivotal Thursday night game against the NC State Wolfpack.
All in all, today was very much expected. Louisville handled an inferior opponent without much trouble and focused on the issues that arose after the Kent State game last week. Louisville dives into a full ACC slate with a road game against the Wolfpack on Thursday. That game will surely be a test that lets everyone know what to expect from this team for the remainder of the year.
I still have faith that #8 and the rest of the Cardinals have all the ability in the conference, as well as, the nation. Can’t wait for Thursday.
Anyone with a rationally thinking mind knew the outcome of today’s game before the first kickoff, the only question was how much would Louisville win by. Louisville had just come off a disappointing home loss to Clemson and the unlucky team to get the bulk of the Cardinals’ wrath just happened to be 1-2 Kent State.
Louisville leaped out to a 21-0 lead by the end of the 1st quarter, Kent State hadn’t even picked up a first down yet. The 2nd quarter was unimpressive. With the exception of a late TD run by Lamar Jackson, Louisville failed to put together a successful scoring drive in the 2nd 15 minutes of the game. The halftime score read 28-3, but felt underwhelming after the first quarter performance.
Expectations were high, feelings were positive, and the environment was electric, then things got rough. There are plenty of reasons as to why they got that way, plenty of correctable mistakes, plenty of missed opportunities that have us here talking about a game that could’ve changed the entire landscape of college football going forward had things gone the way we as fans believed they might.
Last night, Louisville was outplayed and out-classed by the No. 3 Clemson Tigers. Clemson hoists one of the nation’s top defenses and that showed, but their offense surprisingly stole the show leading the Tigers to a 47-21 win over the Cardinals.
Louisville played a decent first quarter, Charles Standberry grabbed a touchdown from Lamar but the team wouldn’t score again until the 4th quarter. Lamar finished 21-42 for 317 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. Lamar also led the team in rushing with 64 yards on 17 carries.
There really isn’t much more to add here. Louisville came into this game with the opportunity to make a statement and take control of the ACC, but whiffed miserably on that opportunity. With that being said, it was only the third game, things will be improved, Lamar is still Lamar and Jaire will be back soon. It’s never fun lose, but keep it in perspective that this season can still be very successful. Also, while there weren’t many positives from the game yesterday, it was my girlfriend’s birthday so that’s enough of a positive right there. Happy birthday Chloe, enjoy your Jordan year!
Louisville Football has had many big games in the past. The ’06 West Virginia blackout game, the ’16 FSU dominance, Teddy’s Sugar Bowl dismantling of the No. 3 Florida Gators, and last year’s battle in Death Valley, immediately come to my mind. At the time, each of these games seemed to be the biggest game in the program’s history, and for good reason. However, none of those games will compare to the showdown we will see on Saturday.
The No. 14 Louisville Cardinals host the No. 3 Clemson Tigers with College Game day in attendance, the defending National Champs, and of course, the reigning Heisman winner. No game in the program’s history can compare to the magnitude that this game carries. Louisville joined the ACC’s elite conversation last season with their 63-20 shellacking of then No. 2 FSU, but the Cardinals have yet to get over the hump that is Clemson. Not that Louisville hasn’t had their chances though, losing on the road in their first matchup by 6 points despite not allowing a single offensive touchdown, then losing at home by 3 with two missed field goals, and of course, last season’s emotionally traumatizing loss by 6 points and a few yards. Their history may be shorter than most rivalries, but the drama and respectful hatred rival just about any others’ in the country.
Well, it may not have been pretty and there were certainly some head-scratching moments. But the #17 Louisville Cardinals went into North Carolina and took care of business, beating the Tar Heels 47-35.
Once again, it was the Lamar Jackson show. Jackson compiled 525 total yards (393 passing and 132 rushing) and added 6 touchdowns evenly split through the air and on the ground. We also saw the emergence of the running game in Malik Williams. Williams showed great vision, finishing with 149 yards on 13 carries, none bigger than his 74-yard burst in the 4th quarter. The receiving trio of Jaylen Smith, Dez Fitzpatrick and Seth Dawkins proved themselves once again. Smith finished with 9 receptions for 173 yards, including a 75-yard bomb for a touchdown. Fitzpatrick continued his breakout year with 78 yards on 4 catches and 2 touchdowns. Dawkins was quiet but reliable today, he finished with 3 catches for 45 yards and a mean stiff-arm.
Last season, we saw the emergence of a star and playmaker in Jaire Alexander. Alexander had 5 interceptions, 9 passes defended, and finished 11th on the team in total tackles with 39 (31 solo). Because of his breakout season, Alexander has received numerous preseason accolades and has been named to multiple award watch lists. While Alexander headlines the group that has appropriately named themselves the “Tax Boys”, his surrounding cast is full of elite players also.
The lone loss from the secondary was Josh Harvey-Clemons, who played both linebacker and safety last season. JHC was bitten by the injury bug at times last season, which called for, then Sophomore, Dee Smith to step in and play meaningful snaps, while earning crucial experience for this upcoming season. While he wasn’t lost from the team, there was another loss from the secondary that was announced recently, Cornelius Sturghill was removed as Cornerback and re-positioned at receiver.
All that being said, the Tax Boys are more than ready to collect. As mentioned, Jaire Alexander led the team with an impressive 5 interceptions. Senior Safety Chucky Williams also has a nose for the ball, he was second on the team in interceptions with 3, and first on the team in fumbles recovered with 4 and he led the team in total tackles with 107, 61 of those were solo and 46 were assisted, both also, team leaders. Zykiesis Cannon joins Williams as the other safety, he was fourth on the team in total tackles with 67. And the man who will be the opposite corner of Alexander is arguably the most under-appreciated Cardinal on the team, Trumaine Washington. Washington is a senior this season, and part of the criticism he receives is due to the impressive sophomore season we saw from him. He may have taken a step back last season, but his leadership and experience will certainly be crucial for this group’s success this season.
We will also see a lot of Dee Smith this season, probably in the heavier DB packages and rotations. Smith is a hard-hitting Safety, with a good nose for the ball and will definitely earn a solid amount of playing time. Another name to look out for is true freshman Russ Yeast. Alexander wowed us in limited capacity in his freshman season, and Yeast is definitely capable of the same type of season.
It’s hard to imagine any QB feeling good about airing it out against this group. If anyone dares to be so bold, best believe the Tax Boys will be collecting this season.
For much of last season, the Louisville defensive line was a force to be reckoned with. It is no secret that the end of the season collapse affected all aspects of the team, but the defensive line remained stout. Entering this season, Louisville will be without Devonte Fields and Deangelo Brown, both of whom were lost to graduation. However, the returns to this group far outweigh the departures.
Trevon Young had a monster 2015 season. The horrific injury he suffered in the Music City Bowl that season sidelined him for all of last year. Young and Fields were a 2 man wrecking crew that year, which left a spot to fill on the opposite of Fields. James Hearns was the man who stepped in, and he more than filled that role. Hearns stole the show, leading the team in sacks with 8 and forced fumbles with 5. Hearns enters this season as a rising senior with very high expectations. As mentioned earlier, Young had a terrific 2015 before his injury in the bowl game. He amassed 8.5 sacks and forced 2 fumbles. His healthy return this season keeps that front line dangerous on the edge accompanied by Hearns. Both players are seniors this year and will look to improve their draft stock, as well as, pursue an ACC crown.
Louisville enters this season with a void to fill at the Running Back position. That void is there because Louisville lost its leading rusher from the RB position in Brandon Radcliff. At one point in the season, Radcliff was at the top of the nation in yards per carry. He finished the season with 903 yards on 138 carries (6.5 YPC) and 6 touchdowns. Radcliff was a workhorse for the program for pretty much all 4 years and he has left big shoes to fill for the guys this year.
However, I’m very confident that the position is in good hands. Jeremy Smith showed a lot of promise last season, the now-Senior rushed for 382 yards on 57 carries (6.7 YPC) and 8 touchdowns. Smith is currently recovering from a Jones’ fracture, but is expected to play in the opener against Purdue. I believe Smith will have a monster year, he’s a big back with good speed and proven ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Last season, Cole Hikutini stole the show and the majority of the reps for one of Bobby Petrino’s favorite positional weapons. Hikutini actually led the entire team, not just Tight Ends, in receptions with 50, and receiving touchdowns with 8. Clearly, ‘Bobby Ball’ heavily involves using the Tight Ends as much more than just blockers. Hikutini is now in good position to make the 49ers roster, but who will step up in his place for Louisville this year?
The depth chart that was released in July has No. 80 Charles Standberry, 6-3, 241 lb, Senior listed as the starter. Standberry has been used in the passing game before, and he has proven to be effective when the ball is thrown his way, however, to this point in his career he has been used as mainly a blocking Tight End. Throughout his 3 year career, Standberry has recorded 17 receptions for 174 yards (10.2 YPC) with 2 touchdowns. I do believe that Standberry will be a bigger fixture in the offense this year, but I also think him being listed as the starter is a last ditch effort to wake up the man listed as his back-up, Micky Crum.
The 2015-2016 Louisville Basketball season left fans of the program with broken hearts and dreams of next season. The fans also exited the college basketball season with a new motto that some “fans” seem to have forgotten, “I got your back.” That is all that could truly be held onto after Louisville’s season was cut short due to the self-imposed postseason ban by former-President, James Ramsey. The decision wasn’t popular, but after time to think and console ourselves, it became clear that the self-imposed punishment was the right thing to do, right? Wrong.
Former-Louisville standouts, WR James Quick and Safety/LB Josh Harvey-Clemons have signed their rookie contracts with the Washington Redskins for the upcoming NFL season. Harvey-Clemons was drafted in the 7th round, while Quick was later signed as an Undrafted Free Agent.
Harvey-Clemons’ contract is for 4 years and $2,484,306 total, with $84,306 as the signing bonus. The Redskins look like they will be playing the former-safety/LB hybrid as more of a Linebacker. Harvey-Clemons will be an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
James Quick’s contact is for 3 years and $1,665,000 total, with no signing bonus. Quick will look to add a much-needed spark to Washington’s WR corps. He will be a restricted free agent in 2020.
While there weren’t as many Louisville players drafted as originally thought, that isn’t stopping the former-Cardinals from making deals. Congrats to James and Josh and best of luck going forward.
Since the playoffs started, the news and media have flocked to Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas and it’s no secret why. Any NBA fan can tell you Isaiah Thomas has been Boston’s best player since he arrived a little over 2 years ago. His breakout, MVP-like season had everyone in the league talking about the 5’9″ bulldog point guard that scores at will. Sadly, just before the opening round of the Celtics-Bulls series, Thomas’ younger sister passed away. His performances since then have been nothing short of spectacular.
Facing an 0-2 deficit against the Chicago Bulls, the Celtics needed more than just what Thomas was giving them. They needed help from role players, and no one has been more of a help than former-Cardinal Terry Rozier. Boston won 4 consecutive games to eliminate the Bulls. Terry scored 27 points in those 4 games and was often times Boston’s biggest contributor off the bench. Currently, the Celtics are up 2-0 on the Washington Wizards. Isaiah Thomas has dominated headlines scoring 33 and 53 points in games 1 and 2, respectively. Still, it was Terry’s solid all-around play that aided Thomas’ efforts.
Louisville’s 2017 4-star incoming Guard Darius Perry was asked about his decision to join the Cardinal Basketball Program. The soon-to-be freshman was asked about his reasoning for committing to Rick Pitino. His response was one most would agree to be true, he loves the development and improvement for which Pitino is widely known. He made comparisons to players from other programs that hadn’t seen the same development as those in the Louisville program, one of those players being Isaiah Briscoe.
By now, you’ve probably heard about the rant about athletics that board member John Schnatter spewed during the University of Louisville Board meeting this week. If not, I’ll provide a brief summary of the complaints from the pizza entrepreneur against Louisville AD Tom Jurich.
Simply put, Papa John stated his concerns over the lack of leadership within the athletic department, calling the leadership “invisible”, and saying the university’s problems will not be solved until there is a “handle on athletics”. First things first, to say the university’s problems stem from the athletic department is outrageous. John wasn’t referencing the NCAA investigation, he simply challenged Jurich’s ability to successfully lead the department in which he, Jurich, has brought to fruition since his arrival.
After seeing an overwhelming amount of freak outs about NBA Draft entries, I’d just like to clear the air and hopefully provide some calming insight on Louisville’s current situation.
Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel, Jaylen Johnson and what could likely be others, have decided to enter the NBA Draft. While reading that sentence may cause a panic, I can assure you that is very premature. With the NBA’s new rule, implemented only last year, undergraduates are allowed to “enter the draft” and still come back. “How can this be?”, you might ask. As long as the player doesn’t sign an agent, and pulls his name out before May 24th, he will not lose eligibility.