3 predictions for Louisville football vs. Notre Dame

Javian Hawkins #10 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Javian Hawkins #10 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Louisville football receiver Justin Marshall sends big stiff arm
Louisville wide receiver Justin Marshall (18) catches a pass and stiff arms Mississippi State safety Jaquarius Landrews (11) during the second half of the Music City Bowl at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday, Dec. 30, 2019.At7i5298 /

Jacob Lane: Someone other than Dez Fitzpatrick, Tutu Atwell, or Marshon Ford catches a touchdown

The statistics of Louisville football’s receiver show that 95 percent of the production in the passing game has come from three players; Tutu Atwell, Dez Fitzpatrick, and tight end Marshon Ford.

The three have accounted for 49 of the 73 completed passes this season, for a combined 643 yards, which is more than HALF of the total production in passing yardage, and seven (of nine) touchdowns through the air.

That means if you take away their production, the rest of Louisville’s pass catchers have produced just 24 receptions for 343 yards and one touchdown. We’ve talked for so long about the depth at receiver and the talent level there for Gunter Brewer, yet this season we haven’t really seen that.

This weekend I believe that Louisville knows Notre Dame is going to follow the game plan laid out by the schools before them on how to stop Tutu Atwell, while doing their best to keep Dez Fitzpatrick from making big plays down the field, and Ford from scoring in the red zone. That should mean they’ll do their best to get other players involved in the offense (or at least you’d hope) including Braden Smith, Justin Marshall, Jordan Watkins, and others.

In order for Malik Cunningham to get other receivers involved he’ll need a much improved effort of their offensive line and the other receivers to step up and take advantage of what’s in front of them.

With an offense that has the home run hitting ability of Louisville, Notre Dame is going to throw extra blitzers at Cunningham, while likely doubling either or both Atwell and Fitzpatrick. That’ll leave ample opportunity for others, and as long as the quarterback can get the ball there, Louisville has the playmakers to make a difference.

**Crowd shouts: “What receiver you picking to score?**

Great question, crowd. I’m going with Jordan Watkins catching his first touchdown, with Javian Hawkins second most likely to catch a TD.