Louisville football: Cardinals can throw the Virginia Tech game results away

Louisville Cardinals head coach Scott Satterfield (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Louisville Cardinals head coach Scott Satterfield (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Louisville football team was beyond depleted against the Hokies on Halloween.

The Louisville football team suffered a very tough loss to Virginia Tech Saturday. With the loss, the Cardinals drop to 2-5 on the season and just 1-5 in the ACC.

Despite the rough start to the season, fans should feel comfortable in the knowledge that the Cardinals are a good 2-5 football team. This Louisville football team has competed in every single game this year and has not lost a game by 20 points or more in any of the five losses.

It was reported in the early afternoon in the pregame Saturday that Louisville would be without nine players due to COVID reasons. The players that the Cardinals would be missing were the most crippling part of all.

Satterfield confirmed that the team had only found out that Saturday morning that he would not have six of his defensive linemen. That list included Yaya Diaby, Dayna Kinnaird, Tabarious Peterson, Ja’Darien Boykin, Malik Clark, and Micah Bland.

Key players like Isaiah Hayes and Monty Montgomery were also held out due to COVID protocol. It was simply a massive blow to the team and left the Cardinals with just five total healthy defensive linemen, including just three defensive ends.

That is not ideal. The Cardinals likely lost the game because of it, as Virginia Tech attempted just ten passes all day. The Hokies ran the ball 51 times for a whopping 283 yards. Khalil Herbert is one of the better backs in the ACC. Having five active defensive linemen on game day and missing your best linebacker was not a great key for success.

The reserve linemen got driven off the ball consistently and the Hokies just ran down the Cardinals as the second half wore on. It was just a doomsday situation for Louisville in this one.

However, there were certainly some things that the Cardinals could have done to prevent the loss. The turnover margin was an absolute backbreaker, both in terms of not getting any on defense and the offense giving too many up.

Malik Cunningham threw three more interceptions on Saturday in what was (mostly) a good day at the office. One of those interceptions was a drop by Dez Fitzpatrick that resulted in quite the wacky play and an interception for the Hokies. Another interception was simply Cunningham trying to make a play on 4th down deep in Hokies territory.

Cunningham was not perfect. But he was good on Saturday. That sounds odd to say given a three-interception day. However, it only seems fair to knock him for one of those that occurred on a bad overthrow late in the first quarter.

Louisville now has the second-worst turnover margin in the country at -11. Only Mississippi State has a worse margin at -12. Not good… not good at all.

The coach-speak is always to “take care of the football.” It seems obvious, but the Cardinals do not do that. They also do not generate turnovers on defense. There is a very real correlation between turnover margin and wins/losses.

On the day, Louisville turned the ball over three times while obtaining no takeaways for themselves.

As a positive, this team does play inspired ball all four quarters. They seem to be a very unified team that does not give up despite a tremendously disappointing season as a whole. However, the awful turnover margin surely has sunk the team this season.

In all, the Cardinals lost a seven-point game that went to the wire against a team that was ranked in the Top 25 just a couple of weeks ago. That is a tremendous effort by a decimated football team. They are certainly a mentally strong group. However, the wins are not coming right now. Hopefully, the Cardinals are back to full strength soon so that we may see the team’s full potential.