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Weekend that Was: Holliman for Heisman Edition

Its the first day of the week. So that means you’ll need a recap of whatever you missed over the past three days. That’s right, it is time for yet another Weekend that Was!

But before the shenanigans begin, let’s see how College Gameday went in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Courtesy of Twitter/@Murphy80Todd

Courtesy of Twitter/@Murphy80Todd

Cheers to you brave gentleman. Cheers to you.

  • The biggest news this weekend was Louisville’s triumph in its first meeting with Notre Dame in South Bend, 31-28. The Cardinals became only the 10th team to beat the Fighting Irish in their first game at Notre Dame Stadium. This victory is not only a fantastic signature on the season but also one of the biggest road wins in school history. Who would have guessed ten years ago that not only would Louisville play at Notre Dame, but they would win.
  • As for the actual game, it was an ugly win. But a win is still a win. Reggie Bonnafan was 8-21, 180 yards, 3 total TDs, and 1 interception that was a heave down field late in the second half. It was by no means a perfect performance, but Reggie made some very difficult throws look easy. Coming out of the half, it was clear he had somewhat psyched himself out. Thanks to the Louisville running game, the Cardinals managed to stay in the game.
  • Speaking of run game, Louisville really has something in Brandon Radcliff guys. Radcliff ran 136 yards on 17 carries, an average of 8 yards per carry. You just can’t teach how to find open space like he does. He’s shifty and hard to tackle, and he runs hard until he’s on the ground. He made several plays that were incredibly fun to watch.
  • As for the missed kick by Notre Dame to hand the game over, a lot of people wanted to blame the holder. But I really have to place blame on the kicker for these awful short pants.

Short Pants

  • The Louisville fans were incredible in South Bend, several reports saying that it was the best road crowd Notre Dame had seen in decades. Well done Card Nation.
  • Louisville basketball also played this weekend, with a 85-67 defeat of Marshall. It wasn’t exactly a dominating performance from Louisville who had foul trouble from Chinanu Onuaku and Montrezl Harrell. However, the great news is that New Wayne Blackshear is here and he’s awesome. Wayne had 16 points six rebounds and four steals. He just looks far more aggressive and its exciting to see.
  • Something I’ve noticed so far with Louisville basketball so far this season is a general inaccuracy from behind the arc. The team is shooting 21.9% from three so far this season. This is something that has to improve, as it will be a key to defeating the bigger and longer teams like Duke, UNC, and of course Kentucky.
  • Also…Free Throws…Let’s not make this an issue again.
  • Okay so before you ask: Yes there’s a decent chance that Louisville makes the Orange Bowl. Here’s how:

Louisville MUST beat Kentucky. That’s not too hard.

Florida State MUST make the College Football Playoff. This opens the Orange Bowl for an ACC team who isn’t the champion.

Georgia Tech MUST lose at Georgia next weekend AND lose to FSU at the ACC Championship. If Tech wins at Georgia its unlikely that they would fall below Louisville after losing to Florida State.

Clemson MUST lose at home to South Carolina. This is the toughest one, South Carolina has been pretty bad this season, hopefully the Ole Ball Coach can pull it off.

If all of this happens, I’ll see you in Miami for New Years Eve.

  • Seriously this is why Kentucky fans are the absolute worst. This woman drove hours and hours just to troll in South Bend:
Courtesy of Twitter/@jennyelizabethd

Courtesy of Twitter/@jennyelizabethd

#BeatKentucky always.

  • Its tourney time for Louisville men’s soccer who have moved on to the final 16 with a victory over St. Louis 2-1 on Sunday. Freshman Tim Kubel provided the late goal that moved the Cards on to the next round. They will host UMBC next Sunday at 6PM at Lynn Stadium. I highly encourage everyone to head out there and support the Cards on what is likely the final home game of the year.
  • I would love to take a second to thank the football gods for teasing us all season with non-noon kickoffs but hitting us where it hurts with the final game being a noon kickoff. Seriously that is the worst, I’ll see you at 8 AM for tailgate ladies and gentleman.
  • In your non Louisville related thing of the week. Odell Beckham Jr made the greatest catch I’ve ever seen last night, and if you haven’t seen it you absolutely must.
Courtesy of Deadspin

Courtesy of Deadspin

My New York Giants may not make the playoffs but we’ve guaranteed ourselves an ESPY for Best Play.

Finally, its #BeatKentucky week. So I’m sure we’ll be talking about everything this week. You should stick around the Cardinal Connect for all of the fun.

Clemson 23 – Louisville 17: Post Game Show

Clemson Webcast No Teeth

Losing to Clemson on the road usually isn’t anything to sneeze at, but the way it all unfolded on Saturday afternoon leaves Louisville fans frustrated. Myself and Shane Burris broke down the tough loss and the key areas that continue to haunt this team. However, we also noted the positives to take from the game.

Clemson 23 – Louisville 17: Post Game Show from The Cardinal Connect on Vimeo.

Louisville Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham Surpassing Expectations

Pete Cautilli - The Cardinal Connect

Pete Cautilli – The Cardinal Connect

When the news broke that Todd Grantham would be joining Louisville’s coaching staff and Georgia fans did everything short of helping coach Grantham pack his belongings into trucks.

Georgia was finished with Todd Grantham’s act merely two years after four of his defensive starters were taken in the first three rounds of the NFL draft.   Bobby Petrino needed a defensive mastermind to keep Charlie Strong and Vance Bedford’s painstaking labor from going to waste.

Todd Grantham was the most qualified man for the job, and he immediately brought the racks out to play once he landed in Louisville.  Grantham is one of the highest paid coordinators in college football today, and he has earned every penny of his contract so far.

A quarter of the season has passed us by and the Louisville Cardinals rank 12th in the nation in total defense.  Opponents average 273.7 yards against the Cardinals and Todd Grantham’s defense has not allowed 300 yards in a single game at Louisville.  The Cards have seven takeaways thus far in the season, with five of those being interceptions.

Gerrod Holliman has certainly played up to the level that was promised by Charlie Strong.  Holliman forced a fumble and has intercepted the ball three times in three games.

Louisville defense has not forgotten how to get to the passer.  Six different Cardinals have tallied six total sacks thus far this season.  Lorenzo Mauldin has fit in nicely to his new role of stand up outside linebacker in Grantham’s 3-4 defense.

Mauldin is fourth on the team in total tackles and has made three tackles for a loss to go along with his sack.  Louisville’s front seven has not allowed opponents more than three yards a carry this season.

There were many question marks about Todd Grantham and his system after his departure sparked a dixie stampede in Athens.  Louisville fans have nothing to complain about in terms of a Strong to Grantham drop off.  Grantham is working wonders with Charlie Strong’s defensive players as well as recruiting some stallworth’s of his own.

The thought of a Todd Grantham coached defense holding the opponent down for a Bobby Petrino offense is a scary one for ACC teams moving forward.

Louisville vs. Miami: Predicted MVP’s

Photo: David Manning - USA Today

Photo: David Manning – USA Today

New Coaching Staff, new Quarterback, new playbook, new defensive philosophy and a new conference. With all of the “new” around the University of Louisville Football Program, we’re still going to take a stab at the Offensive and Defensive MVP’s. Here are the predictions for the Cardinals vs the Hurricanes.

Defense

This time last year I took a gamble by going with a guy who some may have overlooked. Clearly the Ohio Bobcats did as James Burgess finished with a team high five tackles, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble to open the season.

I actually believe Burgess has the ability to lead this team in tackles this year, and the Canes could be his first victim. No chance I’m leaving him off the list to kick off this season.

Offense

Some may think this is a “no brainer” or a “gimmie”, but I look at more than just the guy lining up in the backfield for Head Coach Bobby Petrino who clearly loves to pound the rock. Dominique Brown is certainly capable, but doesn’t have a big history of catching the ball out of the backfield and turning it into big gains (averaged under two catches and 18 receiving yards per game last season).

Petrino’s offense however, may change that. During his lone season at WKU, Bobby Petrino’s lead running back Antonio Andrews finished second on the team in both receptions (41) and receiving yards (478). Look for Brown to develop another weapon to his arsenal and become a threat in the air to go along with his demonstrative ground game.

Taquan Dean Will Spend This Season In Spain

Photo: Air

Photo: Air Avellino

Former Louisville sharp shooter Taquan Dean will be spending the 2014-15 season playing professionally in Spain.

According to EuroBasket.com, Dean has signed with Gipuzkoa San Sebastian of Spain’s top professional league.

Since graduating from Louisville in 2005, Dean has played professionally in Italy, Russia, Spain, Greece and Turkey.

The former Cardinal spent the past two seasons with Sidigas Avellino of Italy’s top professional league. He left the club in January of 2014 following a coaching change.

Dean averaged 10.1 points and three rebounds per game during his time with the team.

He’s spent the summer in Louisville working out at the UofL basketball facility. Dean has been training with program assistant Tim Gray. He’s still the program’s all time leader in three point field goals with 159.

The Rundown: Atlantic Coast Conference

Twitter | @TheACC

Twitter | @TheACC

The Atlantic Coast Conference is a collegiate athletic conference in the United States in which its fifteen member universities compete in the NCAA. The ACC hosts 13 men’s division one sports and 14 women’s division one sports. The league was founded in 1953 by seven schools located in what are considered South Atlantic States.

The conference has added additional members in 1979, 1991, 2004, 2013, and 2014. The ACC has recently expanded beyond the coast and has stretched its branches of influence into the Midwest.

Institution Location Founded Enrollment Nickname Colors Joined
Atlantic Division
Boston College Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 1863 13,906 Eagles 2005
Clemson University Clemson, South Carolina 1889 21,303 Tigers 1953
Florida State University Tallahassee, Florida 1851 40,337 Seminoles 1991
University of Louisville Louisville, Kentucky 1798 22,293 Cardinals 2014
North Carolina State University Raleigh, North Carolina 1887 35,767 Wolfpack 1953
University of Notre Dame South Bend, Indiana 1842 11,733 Fighting Irish 2013
Syracuse University Syracuse, New York 1870 21,029 Orange 2013
Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, North Carolina 1834 7,432 Demon Deacons 1953
Coastal Division
Duke University Durham, North Carolina 1838 14,591 Blue Devils 1953
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, Georgia 1885 21,557 Yellow Jackets 1979
University of Miami Coral Gables, Florida 1925 15,657 Hurricanes 2004
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, North Carolina 1789 29,390 Tar Heels 1953
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1787 28,766 Panthers 2013
University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia 1819 23,907 Cavaliers 1953
Virginia Tech University Blacksburg, Virginia 1872 31,087 Hokies 2004

 

Only two schools have left the ACC while nine have joined since the conference was founded in 1953. Maryland recently bolted for the Big 10, while South Carolina set sail for the SEC back in 1971. The University of Louisville was voted into the ACC in November of 2012 as Maryland’s replacement.

Notre Dame is currently the only member of the ACC that is considered a “non-football member.” Only two schools (UNC and Duke) can boast all 13 men’s varsity sports, only Boston College and UNC can claim all 14 women’s division one sports.

The ACC has been yielding their annual rendition of Athlete of the Year since 1945. The Anthony J. McKelvin Award was given to the conference’s best athlete, regardless of gender, until 1990. The female version of the award is known as the Mary Garber Award, and has been won by some of the biggest names in women’s athletics.

The Atlantic Coast Conference knows nothing but spectacular athletics and blinding star power. The Anthony J. McKelvin award was awarded to James Worthy in 1982, Ralph Sampson in 1983, Michael Jordan in 1984, and then Len Bias in 1986.

Tim Duncan was prestigiously honored in 1996 and in 1997 and was preceded by Antawn Jamison in 1998 and Elton Brand in 1999. Mia Hamm took the women’s equivalent of the hardware home in 1993 when she dominated the pitch for UNC.

ACC football programs are eligible for the newly generated college football playoff. The 2013 National Title was won by Florida State, an established ACC power. The ACC’s football structure is divided into two seven team conferences, Atlantic and Coastal. The University of Louisville will compete in the Atlantic Division with Clemson, Florida State, and former Big East Rival, Syracuse. The ACC Coastal division is home to teams such as Duke, UNC, and The Steady Snitching University of Miami. Louisville is the seventh school to make the leap from the Big East to the ACC.

I feel like I need to get this out of the way early. Doesn’t Atlantic and Coastal sound like the same thing?

Video: Russ Smith Discusses Being Draft Process & Becoming A New Orleans Pelican

Instead of throwing himself a watch party of heading to Brooklyn to take in the sights and sounds of the Barcaly Center, Russ Smith took the non-traditional approach to draft night. Smith spent the evening shooting hoops at the KFC Yum! Center with friends and family.

Following the draft, Russ spoke with the media discussing the draft process and shared his excitement to join the New Orleans Pelicans. Although he maintains that he’s overjoyed to be in the NBA, I’m sure I’m not the only who can tell that Russ is more than eager to prove those wrong who passed on his in the draft.

Video courtesy of TheCrunchZone.com.

The Louisville Baseball Club’s Season Comes To An End

Nati Harnik — Associated Press

Nati Harnik — Associated Press

For the second consecutive season, the Louisville baseball program’s College World Series appearance was very brief.

The Cardinal Nine’s season came to an end on Monday afternoon as they fell to Texas 4-1 in an elimination game.

This was Louisville’s second loss in the double-elimination tournament. They fell to Vanderbilt 5-3 on Saturday evening.

“We had a two-inning lapse where we made it a little too easy on them,” Dan McDonnell said. “They got the momentum, and we let them roll with it.”

Unfortunately, Monday just wasn’t Louisville’s day as very little seemed to go right. Texas’ Parker French and Travis Duke limited the Cardinals to four hits, as the Longhorns produced runs in three straight innings.

“It’s the eight best and eight hottest teams in Omaha, so when you don’t play clean, it gets magnified out here,” McDonnell said following the game. ”

The value of scoring a run is so important that you do your best to try to score a run and you do your best to try not to give up a run. Unfortunately, we just gave them a few too many opportunities early.”

Losing four consecutive College World Series games will leave a bad taste in the mouth of fans, but Dan McDonnell and his team deserve a ton of credit for a spectacular season. This group has been a part of something very special that we may never see again. Back-to-back CWS appearances doesn’t happen too often.

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