Louisville football: Grading the Cardinals’ performance against Syracuse

Kei-Trel Clark #13 and Chandler Jones #2 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Kei-Trel Clark #13 and Chandler Jones #2 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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The Louisville football team put on a show in a throttling of Syracuse on Friday night. How did each position group fare in the win?

The Louisville football team put on one of their most impressive performances of the season on Friday when they rolled to victory 30-0 against Syracuse. Every facet of the Louisville team took the game by the horns and never relinquished it for a second.

This performance was so refreshing to watch. It was not always pretty, but it was one of the only times this year where you never really feared that the game was in any danger of being lost by the Cardinals.

The Cards really took their foot off the pedal in the fourth quarter as most of the regular starters were pulled from the game. That’s the only thing that prevented the score from being even worse than the final one indicated.

The team won and there were some awesome performance by some position groups in this game led by some new names.

Let’s take a look at how each position group for Louisville fared in this matchup against Syracuse.


Malik Cunningham was very up-and-down once again. He had another three turnovers accounted for in this game (all of which were in the first half).  Luckily, none of those turnovers came back to bite him (obviously).

The first interception came as Cunningham tried to make a play with three Syracuse defenders in his face. He threw a decent ball, but it was a bit of a 50-50 situation that Tutu Atwell lost while Syracuse defender Garrett Williams made a wonderful play on the football.

Then, Cunningham was not careful with the ball in the red zone and simply had it poked out as he tried to scramble for yardage.

Finally, as the second half was winding down, Cunningham just chucked a prayer towards the end zone and it was intercepted with less than 10 seconds remaining in the half as the Cardinals were driving.

Cunningham did not put the ball in harm’s way in the second half (which was a big positive). In fact, he made some big time throws including a dime to Tutu Atwell on a crossing route as pressure mounted in the pocket.

It’s fair to critique Cunningham’s performance. The numbers do not jump out, but he was an efficient 19-for-28 and 219 yards through the air. He added one passing and rushing touchdown.

Cunningham still offers up himself as a guy who has moved the football very consistently this year. If Cunningham’s turnovers were not so severe, he would be known as one of the better quarterbacks in the ACC to fans and the public eye alike.

Puma Pass and Evan Conley got some run in the fourth quarter and played decently. They combined to throw 5-for-6 and 60 yards. It’s always a sigh of relief to get Cunningham off the field healthy as he has dealt with a fair share of injury issues throughout his career.

Overall, it was not pretty for Cunningham in the first half. But, he pulled himself together and put together a decent game overall. It seems to me that Cunningham still gives this team the best chance to win despite his turnover troubles.

Overall Grade: B