Louisville missed players you would not expect
Yes, Scott Satterfield and staff would have liked to have had the likes of Javian Hawkins and Tutu Atwell out on the field for Saturday’s game. However, you cannot argue with the eight yards per play the Cardinals put up (even if it only resulted in 17 points).
Louisville struggled to throw the ball down the field in this game and the blow of not having Atwell in this one was certainly felt. However, the offense found ways to move the ball even without a high quality passing game.
Players like Maurice Burkley and Jalen Mitchell overachieved on the day considering the conditions. Mitchell broke a big run for 50 yards. That’s a positive development for the future.
The true players Louisville missed were defensive ends Yaya Diaby and Tabarius Peterson.
The Cardinals could not get pressure all day on Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong. The Cards were limited to playing former walk-ons like Ramon Puryear and Dayna Kinnaird. Those guys work hard for the team and can be solid contributors in certain spaces. However, playing them a high volume of stats is going to get you into trouble.
Diaby and Peterson could have helped the team in a lot of ways today. Most of all, rushing the passer would have been different with Diaby and Peterson.
Whether Diaby and Peterson are dealing with Covid issues is not known. What is known is that Louisville desperately missed them against Virginia.
Overall, I wish I had a better answer for why Louisville lost this game. If the game were played over with the same yardage totals, Louisville would likely win nine-out-of-ten times. It’s hard to overstate how backbreaking turnovers and a loss of significant players has been to this team in the last couple of games.