Louisville football: Three instant takeaways from loss to Virginia

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Louisville Cardinals
Virginia Cavaliers

The Louisville football team dropped their second straight game as the Cardinals suffered a 31-17 loss to the Cavaliers. This game drops Louisville to 2-6 on the season. Yikes.

In a game where Louisville football was missing a multitude of key players, the Cardinals showed some life before coughing up the game due to their own issues. That’s an alarming season-long trend that the Cards refuse to shake.

Louisville has done nothing except beat themselves all year long.

Malik Cunningham played hero ball

Cunningham played like he needed to be the guy to carry the Cardinals to victory by himself in this game. He ran the ball 20 times for 197 yards and was looking to make big plays with his feet all day.

The problem with hero ball is that it is impossible to do it consistently in a team sport. Cunningham was trying to do too much when he extended plays.

It started late in the first half.

With less than a minute left in the second quarter, Cunningham just needed to throw the ball away to keep the possession alive and get some points going into the break. He took a sack instead. The team came away with no points on the drive. It’s simple fundamental errors.

Cunningham started to get some tunnel vision and went away from his receivers in the second half. While it’s not a guarantee guys are open down the field, we should expect more from Cunningham. In the past, we have seen more from him as a passer (especially in 2019).

He continued to dazzle with his legs. However, a fumble in the middle of the fourth quarter with the game in the balance turned the momentum completely against Cunningham and the Cardinals for the final time.

The positive components of the hero ball from Cunningham is that he looked more dynamic than I’ve ever seen him with his legs in the open field. He was putting linebackers on skates and was hitting home on huge plays all day. It was all for not because his inability to hold onto the ball showed up once again.

Cunningham is ridiculously talented as a runner. He has an excellent arm for a college quarterback.

These can both be true statements.

It is also true that he is stunting his own growth with boneheaded turnovers. That is something you hate to see out of redshirt junior.

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