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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Louisville football
Jordan Watkins #80 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

New faces make big plays

The uniforms were not the only big change in this Friday night matchup for the Cardinals. Starting on the game’s very first drive, it was the case of the mysterious No. 0 for the Cards on offense.

Turns out, that was actually redshirt junior receiver Josh Johnson (listed on the roster as No. 11). He had not gotten any offensive snaps in recent weeks this season before tonight. That was a big change. And Johnson made his presence felt putting up four receptions for 40 yards.

Young true freshman receiver Jordan Watkins was also a big part of the game plan for Louisville. He showed off his speed a multitude of times and finished with four receptions for 34 yards.

Braden Smith played the Tutu Atwell role as Atwell was limited in his playing time (likely due to his recent back injury). Smith looked explosive on the jet sweeps he received and caught a couple of more balls against the back half of the Syracuse defense. Smith had seven grabs totaling 65 yards on the night.

Smith showed some nice presence sitting down in soft spots of Syracuse’s defense when they were in zone looks. He looked impressive and he will likely be a featured piece even more when the 2021 season kicks off next year.

It was nice to see some new faces totaling 15 catches in this one. The future is bright for Louisville at receiver.

Dez Fitzpatrick did not play a single snap in the first quarter for unknown reasons before playing much of the rest of the game

As the Cards ease Hassan Hall back into action, Jalen Mitchell and Maurice Burkley once again assumed a bulk of the carries. Combined, the two finished with 21 carries for 102 yards. Mitchell added a score as well.

It was a decent day for the two-headed backs as Hall works back into the lineup. It should be noted that Mitchell and Burkley were in and out of the injury tent all evening long.

Freshman outside linebacker Marvin Dallas got in on the act as he recovered a fumble on special teams in the first half. It was nice to see him back and making a play after a thumb injury suffered earlier this season sidelined him for several games.