By: Kris Carr
There were a lot of lessons to take away from Saturday's loss to the Pittsburgh Panthers.
The Panthers were clearly the bigger, faster, stronger team on both sides of the ball. The Panthers showed that Dave Wannstedt has benefited from getting the Big East's top recruiting classes year in and year out. We also saw how inept the Cardinal offense was without superstar tailback Bilal Powell. Powell, who hopefully is not hurt seriously, left the game with a knee injury and the offense left with him.
I did like how UofL competed in this game though. The defense played tough for four quarters. Even though Pittsburgh clearly had more talent, they just as much trouble moving the ball as the Cardinals did in the first half. If you had told me at the beginning of the year that at an away game in Pittsburgh (the preseason pick to win the conference), UofL would be tied at halftime, I would have told you you were nuts.
I truly believe this game come down to depth and Powell's injury. UofL didn't have the numbers on defense to win the war of attrition. This was made even worse by Powell leaving the game and the offense stalling out. Continual three and outs did not give any rest to the Cardinals' thin defense. At the end of the game you could see Pittsburgh's big offensive line having their way with UofL's defensive front. Game, set and match.
Moving forward, it is not an understatement to say the rest of the season could rest on the health of Powell's knee. If he is healthy, the Cardinals might be able to steal three games and go bowling. If he is not, games against surprising Syracuse and always strong West Virginia do not look so winnable anymore.
Game prediction for this weekend: Powell sits out a game and the Orangemen pull it out 24-14.
I'll see you all later, I have to help Bilal with his knee rehab.
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