How the Hilltoppers starting QB decision will impact Louisville football

Western Kentucky named their starting QB for the matchup with Louisville football.

We are just nine days away from the kickoff of the 2020 Louisville football season, where the Cards will take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in their lone non-conference games. It’s been a long offseason and to finally get to talk x’s and o’s for a season that actually seems to be happening is a feeling I can’t even put words to.

Next week is where we’ll likely get the majority of the news from both Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield and WKU coach Tyson Helton, but yesterday’s announcement from the Hilltoppers may in fact be the biggest piece of news before next Saturdays game.

With Western Kentucky losing starting quarterback Ty Storrey to graduation and backup Steven Duncan to transfer, we knew that we’d be seeing a different quarterback at the helm than we did last year.

For the majority of fall camp the talk at the quarterback position centered on three names; Davis Shanley, who started for WKU two seasons ago against Louisville, Kevaris Thomas, and Tyrrell Pigrome.

Instead of going with the players who had been with the program longer, Helton chose to go with Pigrome aka “Piggy T” who transferred into the program following four years playing at Maryland. As a graduate student, Pigrome was immediately eligible which  allowed him to compete with Thomas and Shanley from the get go.

What Helton will be getting with Pigrome as his starter is a player who was a consistent playmaker during his four years as a Terp – doing so in a variety of ways. Playing in 34 career games, Pigrome totaled 1,777 yards passing to go along with nine touchdowns as well as another 630 rushing yards and eight touchdowns while also throwing 10 interceptions.

While Pigrome showed flashes he was never able to completely take over the starting job at quarterback, although he did become the first Maryland player to start at QB in four different  seasons since it was done from 1945-48. After starting seven games over his four years and playing in certain packages or coming in relief in others, Pigrome ultimately decided to transfer.

Now as the starter at WKU, the 5’10, 210-pound dual-threat quarterback will get a full season to be the guy. After his decision to name Pigrome the starter, Helton told the media:

“I think the maturity level’s there, I think he’s handled things – being the new guy, coming in, have to win the position – I felt like he’s handled that pretty good with maturity, so we just felt like, right now, he’s kind of the clear-cut starter. As you know, as we progress through the season, you never know what’s going to happen, so we’ll see. I’m just happy for him. I think he’s done a nice job and looking forward to seeing him play in Louisville.”

What can Pigrome do to give Louisville football trouble?

Consistency and turnovers were the biggest problem for Pigrome during his career at Maryland, but there’s belief that he could be far more dangerous knowing he will be the guy in 2020.

Against Louisville, Pigrome will give the Tops a dangerous dual-threat player who has the capability of hurting Louisville with both his legs and arms; with the latter being the one I’m more worried about.

Tyson Helton spoke about Pigrome’s game, saying:

“I do think he’s a little more athletic. He has the ability to scramble and create plays, but I think he’s handled our offense pretty well. I don’t think you’re going to see a dramatic change in us offensively with him back there. I think he’s a quality thrower, he’s a quality manager of the offense, and he has the athleticism to get out of trouble if need be. I don’t see us changing a lot from what we do.”

This will be a great test for Louisville’s defense, especially after what happened against the last-dual threat quarterback they faced. 500+ yards of total rushing were accrued by the Cats, with Lynn Bowden Jr. absolutely embarrassing Louisville’s defense, and if this group wants anyone to believe that they can be a dominant force in 2020 they’ll have to prove it against Pigrome and running back Gaej Walker.

Louisville seemingly had their way with Western Kentucky last season, especially when it came to shutting down the run, allowing only 43 rushing yards while keeping the Tops to just 21 points scored (most of which came in garbage time).

Western is really going to lean on the experience of Pigrome right away, and with weapons around him like Walker at running back as well as Jahcour Pearson at wide receiver and Joshua Simon at tight end, there’s going to be plenty of opportunity to make things happen.

Next: Louisville football game-by-game predictions for 2020

Louisville’s defense will specifically need to focus on the running game and attempt at all costs to force Pigrome to throw the football. The graduate transfer has a 56 percent completion percentage over the course of his career, and if Louisville wants to make sure WKU isn’t able to sneak away with an upset victory they’ll need to make sure Pigrome doesn’t have free reign to run.

 

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