Louisville Football: What the Cardinals Learned After the Win over Kentucky

Jon Hancock@@JonKYSportscoSenior Analyst ISeptember 3, 2012

Picture by Jon Hancock
Picture by Jon Hancock

Louisville came out with dominance against Kentucky Sunday, winning big against their rivals 32-14. The Cardinals started the game with a 99-yard drive ending with a one-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Wright.

Although the game was in Louisville's favor the entire afternoon, there were a lot of lessons that the Cardinals can take away from this game.

1. Teddy Bridgewater is the Face of the Program

Bridgewater showed why he received so much national buzz during the preseason. The sophomore quarterback went 19-for-21 on the day for 232 yards. Bridgewater was replaced by senior Will Stein late in the third quarter and didn't play the rest of the game.

At 6'3", 230 lbs., Bridgewater moved around the pocket with ease. Compared to last season, he seemed to have a lot more composure and focus.

"He is a game manager now," Will Stein said about Bridgewater after the game. "He isn't just an athlete back there play quarterback."

2. The Cardinals Can Run the Ball

The Louisville Cardinals had two running backs that ran for over 100 yards against the Wildcats. Head coach Charlie Strong showed he will really heavily upon his backs throughout the season and has confidence that his team can have success on the ground against any team in the country.

Jeremy Wright got the bulk of the carries as he ran for 105 yards in 22 carries, Wright also had three touchdowns on the day. Senorise Perry had 16 carries for 108 yards. Perry had the play of the game when he flew past the Kentucky defense in the second quarter for a 47-yard touchdown run.

The Cardinals had most of their success running on the right side behind Jake Smith and 6'6", 340 lb. Jamon Brown. Louisville had 219 total rushing yards against a very talented defensive line, 150 of the Cardinals yards came from the right side.

"Our offensive line goes against the best defensive line in the country everyday at practice, so we were not expecting anything less," Senorise Perry said after the win over Kentucky.

Louisville played without Dominique Brown, who is expected to get a lot of carries this year. Brown was nursing a leg injury but is expected to play Saturday against Missouri State.

3. Louisville's Pass Coverage Needs Work

Kentucky's Maxwell Smith had a very decent game, even though his team lost by 18. The sophomore QB threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns in the game. The Cardinals defense seemed to struggle guard the Wildcat receivers, especially in the middle of the field.

Louisville's defense put a lot of pressure on Smith in the first half. As the game went on and Kentucky began to run their hurry up offense, the pressure stopped and the Louisville linebackers and secondary found themselves out of position several times.

The Cardinals have a fantastic secondary led by Hakeem Smith and Adrian Bushell. Louisville must come together as a unit before playing a very good passing team this Saturday in Missouri State.

4. Louisville's Kickoff Coverage Needs Work

Coming into the game Louisville knew that they had a lot of questions when it came to their special teams. Most college teams do not give much attention and practice time to the special team units until the beginning of the season.

Kentucky was able to find some big holes on kickoff return. Both Kentucky returners CoShik Williams and DeMarcus Smith were able to get returns for over 30 yards.

The Kentucky Wildcats had good field position throughout the game, mostly due to great returns.

5. Louisville Fans Are Behind Their Team 100 Percent

Cardinal fans broke the attendance record Sunday as they packed out Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium with 55,386 fans.

The game started with pouring down rain and a tornado watch, but fans came in force with their ponchos.

There isn't any doubt that as Charlie Strong has changed the culture in the football team, Cardinal fans have gotten on board and are completely behind their team.


Jon Hancock is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.