A new year brings a new coaching staff and new hope for the Louisville football team, but they faced a difficult first test against #9 Notre Dame.
And while the Card’s ultimately lost 35-17; fans, coaches and players have plenty to be encouraged about as the season continues.
The Fighting Irish went undefeated in the 2018 regular season before getting smoked by Clemson in The Cotton Bowl Classic. They return a lot of starters from that squad and are looking to return to the College Football Playoff again this year.
Last season for the Cards couldn’t have gotten any worse, with historic losses and poor performances in every phase of the game. Preseason reports from Coach Scott Satterfield’s new regime have been positive, but the truth can only be revealed through the crucible of football.
Things did not start brilliantly for the Cards, as the Irish marched quickly down the field and scored a touchdown on their first series.
Louisville fans who were used to last year’s squad virtually rolling over and quitting after getting socked in the beak, Satterfield’s Cards responded by going 88 yards in 12 plays on their next series and scoring on an eight-yard run by Jawon Pass.
On the Cards next possession, the Cards put up another drive that ended in a 17-yard Pass touchdown run to give Louisville a 14-7 lead.
Notre Dame responded easily though, scoring on a 11-yard touchdown run to tie the game back up.
The score remained 14-14 for most of the second quarter. Until a bizarre sequence that saw the teams swap fumbles for three straight possessions before the Irish recovered a Cards’ fumble on the Louisville 20-yard line, running it into the end zone a few plays later to gain a 21-14 halftime lead.
Notre Dame scored again halfway through the third quarter on a 26-yard pass.
Louisville put their only points of the second half on the board with a Blanton Creque field goal early in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 28-17.
The Irish put up another touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to take the lead to 35-17.
The Cards seemed to have a new energy that was sorely lacking most of last year. But several mistakes, including fumbles at crucial moments, and a probable lack of depth lead to Notre Dame wearing the Cards down and ultimately winning comfortably.
The Cardinal defense showed up to play, picking up two sacks in the first quarter alone. They also sacked the quarterback 11 times all last year. They also forced an Irish turnover.
Pass completed 12 of his 27 passes for 134 yards. He also rushed for 67 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns.
Javian Hawkins led the Cards in rushing with 122 yards on 19 carries.
Tutu Atwell was the team’s leading receiver with five catches for 47 yards.
Louisville will try for their first win of the season when they host Eastern Kentucky on September 7.