By Josh Cook
Down! Set! Hike!
Here is quick look back at the weekend that was for the University of Louisville football team.
The Cardinals won their first Big East game of the season, clobbering Connecticut 26-0 Saturday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Bilal Powell rushed for 105 yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, but the real stars of the day were UofL’s defense and special teams. The Cards (4-3, 1-1) pitched their second shutout in three games, and their first of a Big East Conference foe since they joined the league, and held the third-leading rusher (Jordan Todman) in the Football Bowl Subdivision to a season-low 80 yards. Meanwhile Doug Beaumont returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown - after having an earlier one of 91 yards called back because of penalty - and Chris Philpott kicked four field goals after missing two in the previous week’s loss to Cincinnati.
TOP 3 PLAYS
1. Beaumont has had some bad luck in his career and after he had his first punt return TD called back because of a holding penalty that feeling continued. But then he did the unthinkable - he returned another punt for a touchdown...and this one counted.
2. Adam Froman’s 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cameron Graham completely fooled the UConn defense and gave UofL a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter. And oh by the way it was also the only offensive TD of the game.
3. Thirty-six seconds before halftime Philpott dropped in a tear-drop of a 42-yard field goal that gave UofL a 13-0 halftime lead.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND
“I say Bilal Powell is the best running back in the country,” UofL coach Charlie Strong said.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND II
“We got our butts kicked today pretty good. In all three phases of the game, especially special teams,” Huskies coach Randy Edsall said.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND III
“I told our guys to be physical and stop the run,” Strong said. “We couldn’t let Todman run the ball, that was the key to stopping them. We had to stop the run if we had to put eight in the box. We weren’t going to let him run the ball.”
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND IV
“It was kind of frustrating and it was kind of embarrassing,” Froman said of his team’s inability to score more than one offensive touchdown.
STATS OF THE WEEK
Louisville came into the game ranked last in the Big East in rushing defense, giving up 149.8 yards per game. However the Cards held the Huskies to only 108 yards on 25 carries. And the key to that was limiting Todman, who entered averaging 152.2 yards per game, 72 yards below his average.
Offensive Player of the Week - This is probably the only time I’ll be able to do this all year, so I’m giving it to Philpott. He shook off his two missed field goals from the previous week and nailed all four of his tries against UConn.
Defensive Player of the Week - Redshirt freshman safety Hakeem Smith led Louisville with 7 ½ tackles and also forced one of the Huskies’ two fumbles.
FIVE THINGS I THINK
1. The Cards have a very good shot at a bowl game. They have five games remaining, including two more at home, all UofL has to do is win two of those five to become bowl eligible.
2. If the Cards could’ve beaten Cincinnati they’d have a very good chance at winning the topsy-turvy Big East.
3. Doug Beaumont should go down as one of the most beloved UofL players of all time, just on his effort alone.
“Beaumont is special because he is so driven,” Strong said after the game. “I didn’t think he’d be back this quick, but he was relentless in the training room in the time he put in.”
4. I think true freshman Brandon Dunn, who got his first start Saturday against the Huskies, is going to have a great career as a run-stopper for the Cards.
5. The Cards have a very good chance to beat Pittsburgh next Saturday, but in the end I think the Panthers’ passing game will be too much for UofL. I’ll call it Pitt 26, Louisville 20.