Bobby Petrino started Malik Cunningham expecting to get the same spark that he has been providing off the bench in recent weeks.
Unfortunately, the complete opposite occurred on Saturday for the Cardinals as Louisville finished with the lowest point total in Bobby Petrino’s 169 games as a head coach.
The offense was egregious as the group totaled 214 yards. Bryce Perkins of Virginia by himself had more totals yards with 275.
The offense scored zero points in the first half, as the unit couldn’t run the ball or throw it. Cunningham only completed six passes for 35 yards with an interception in the first half. The Cardinals managed only 88 yards on 30 plays and were shut out in the first half for the second time this season.
Louisville continued the game of musical chairs at quarterback as Petrino went back to Jawon Pass to begin the second half and that decision didn’t infuse any difference in offensive production. Pass went 10-for-19 for 113 yards but threw an inexcusable interception into triple coverage along with a lost fumble.
All things considered, the Louisville defense played fairly well. Brian Van Gorder’s group was far from perfect and appeared to run out of gas, but they did their part in limiting Virginia’s potent offense to just 27 points.
One sequence of events that was deflating and indicative of the offense was the Rodjay Burns interception that was returned for 34 yards down to the Virginia three yard line.
The offense follows up with a Jeremy Smith run for a yard.
Jeremy Smith run for no gain.
Trey Smith run for a loss of a yard.
Blanton Creque kicks a 20 yard field goal for three points.
Following that pathetic showing, the defense looked psychologically defeated as the unit gave up three touchdowns in four offensive possessions not including the final possession that concluded the game.
Each week the offense has regressed significantly. The offense was supposed to be a position of strength going into the season. The production from the quarterback position has been deplorable at best. The season totals apprise of 652 yards for three touchdowns with six interceptions and 55% completions. It has been a combination of poor play-calling, coaching decisions and mediocre execution.
Petrino looks lost and his decision-making is questionable at best. The quarterbacks’ production has been abhorrent. The receivers are talented but look disengaged because of inept play from the quarterbacks. The running backs are running as if they are carrying weights in their pads.
Petrino’s benching of Puma against Indiana State and Western Kentucky was a gigantic blunder as it has sent the offensive into a downward spiral.
Pass is playing with zero confidence knowing his coach doesn’t believe in him and his play reflects it.
Cunningham appears to be limited as passer. He isn’t explosive enough as an athlete to run an offense similar to the style that suited Lamar Jackson.
The offensive hasn’t been able to develop any continuity which shows as the offense is averaging 303 yards per game which ranks 119th in total offense out of 129th teams. The passing attack is averaging 168 yards per game, which is ranks 112th in the country. The running game is ranked 97th respectively in the country averaging 137 yards per game.
What is most frustrating about the state of the offense is, there is NFL talent at every unit on offense. The receivers have NFL talent, the running backs have potential and Pass is a former four-star quarterback.
Maybe losing a Heisman winner in Jackson causes a regression of epic portions.
I wish that was the case, as Oklahoma also lost their Heisman winner and their offense is 12th in the country averaging 551 yards per game along with averaging 50 points a game. That is on coaching.
The coaching staff laminated how the offense could be better than it was under Jackson but it has been nothing short of a laughingstock. The coaches are who to blame for this epidemic.<