Louisville football: Three instant takeaways from Syracuse romp

Malik Cunningham #3 (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Malik Cunningham #3 (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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The Louisville football team took it to Syracuse under the bright lights.

The Louisville football team left no mistake on Friday night as they rolled the Syracuse Orange by a score of 30-0. The game was never really in question as Louisville jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and never let it go.

The Cardinals out-gained Syracuse 413-136 on the day and it really could have been more lopsided than that had both sides of the ball kept their foot on the pedal into the fourth quarter.

There were some typically bad Malik Cunningham turnovers in the first half. But there were more positives to take away this week than previous as he kept the ball out of harm’s way in the second half and did some nice things through the air.

The defense absolutely dominated allowing zero points for the first time in a long time.

That’s a very impressive stat for the Cardinals to hang their hat in what has been a disappointing season. The defense has improved all year and finally got the result every defense craves: a shutout.

With all of that being said, there were three takeaways that were the most important to note from this game. The Cardinals put on a dominant showing on Friday. Let’s enjoy it by diving into what we learned.

Turnovers were aplenty on both sides

There were a combined six turnovers in this game (all in the first half). Three by each team. Malik Cunningham threw two interceptions and inexplicably fumbled the ball trying to break the pocket once late in the second half.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals picked up an interception from Kei’Trel Clark as well as a couple of fumble recoveries when the Orange were attempting to return kickoffs.

It was more of the same for Malik Cunningham as he continued to not value the football. He is now up to 11 interceptions on the season as well as three fumbles. That’s 14 turnovers accounted for this year by himself alone in 9 games. That might not have prevented the Cards from getting it done against depleted Syracuse. But it will not get it done against almost anyone else in the country.

In the second half, Cunningham did take better care of the ball in an effort to shut down any comeback attempt from the Orange. The ball was not in his hands too much despite a touchdown toss to Tutu Atwell midway through the third quarter. Cunningham did not play in the fourth as the Cards led by an insurmountable 27-0 when the third quarter closed.

The difference in this one was the Cardinals taking full advantage of their opportunities Syracuse gave them on turnovers while Syracuse quarterback Jacobian Morgan (before injury) had trouble finding any receivers down the field throughout the entire game. Morgan left the game in the second half after taking a big shot on a sack from Louisville outside linebacker Yasir Abdullah.

It’s hard to overlook how bad Malik Cunningham’s turnover issues really are. But, for one game, we can say that the turnovers did not totally cripple Cunningham and the Cardinals. That likely won’t be the case from here on out.