As one of my favorite Youtubers Spencer Owen would say, “That was a misery compiler!” UofL once again came out and disappointed us against a subpar team who the Cardinals should have easily dispatched. Blame who you want, but at the end of the day a loss is a loss and that goes for the whole team.
With losses now to two unranked teams (thanks, Memphis), Louisville will surely plummet out of the top 15 and possibly out of the top 20. A team that started with so much promise and college football playoff hopes just a mere two weeks ago is now just another above average team. Where did it all go wrong?
First off I’d like to give Kentucky the credit they deserve. The Wildcats had every right to just accept the idea that losing this game was inevitable, but instead they came out guns blazing and took it to the UofL defense.
Last week I said we would have to watch out for the dangerous rushing attack of UK, and though they did rack up 243 rushing yards, no individual broke 100 yards on the day so that was a win for the defensive line. Unfortunately the secondary decided they didn’t want play football and gave up a whopping 338 yards on 16-27 passing from Stephen Johnson, who just last week against Austin Peay went 5-9 for 101 yards. Now one of the three bombs he threw for touchdowns was undoubtedly luck with Lamarques Thomas pulling up with a hamstring injury. This injury freed up Garret Johnson for a pitch and catch touchdown, but like they say sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Then, at the beginning of the fourth quarter with the game tied at 31, Dorian Baker should have been called for offensive pass interference but instead made a spectacular grab to take a seven point lead in the fourth. But these are just 14 of the 41 points that the Wildcats scored against the UofL defense.
The real culprit as to why the Cardinals lost this game are the Cardinals themselves. The big difference in this game was turnovers. UK finished with two and UofL had four, including a costly fumble by Lamar Jackson that eventually lost the Cardinals the game. And even though Lamar did throw for 281 and had 171 yards rushing, he had three interceptions to add to his costly fumble.
Jackson will still win the Heisman but this was definitely a game he will want to forget. But not all the blame can be put on Jackson, once again we saw a Cards offensive line that couldn’t keep pressure off the quarterback, though only allowing 1.5 sacks they disrupted the rhythm of Jackson and forced him to run more than he would’ve liked. And though Jackson did fumble and give Kentucky the last possession of the game, that possession started at their own 10 with 1:48 left in the game. Austin MacGinnis did have to kick a 47-yard field goal to win, that’s still no excuse for why the Louisville defense couldn’t get a stop on 3rd down and let Kentucky drive down the field and get into field goal range.
These last two weeks are a lot like saying, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” Houston fooled the Cards when they came out with more tenacity and never let the Cards in the game.
With UK the Cards have no one to blame but themselves, they knew it was a rivalry and still they just couldn’t get the job done. Petrino has some thinking to do to get this team sorted out before its bowl game.