Miami vs. Louisville: Game Grades, Analysis for the Hurricanes and Cardinals

David KenyonFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 1, 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 01:  Crovin Lamb #4 of the Louisville Cardinals runs for a touchdown on a kick off return during the game against the Miami Huricanesat Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 1, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Despite the fact that Louisville's best receiver, DeVante Parker, was sitting on the sideline, the Miami Hurricanes were overpowered in a 31-13 loss to the Cardinals.

Some players had noteworthy individual performances, but how did collective units perform during the final game of Week 1?

Miami Hurricanes Game Grades
Positional UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseBC+
Run OffenseCC-
Pass DefenseC+B-
Run DefenseB+B
Special TeamsD+C-
vs. Louisville in Week 1

Pass Offense

True freshman Brad Kaaya looked decent in his college debut for Miami. He displayed adequate power, accuracy and touch while progressing through reads quite smoothly. Kaaya showed he can be a really special quarterback, but inexperience was an overwhelming factor.


Run Offense

Great things were expected from Duke Johnson, but the Miami offensive line didn't help out its highly touted running back. Taylor Gadbois was dominated by Lorenzo Mauldin, and Danny Isidora wasn't reliable, contributing to a team average of only 2.6 yards per carry.

Sep 1, 2014; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals linebacker James Burgess (13) tackles Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson (8) during the second half of play at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Louisville defeated Miami 31-13.  Mandatory Credit:

Pass Defense

Though Parker was sidelined, it didn't matter for Will Gardner and Louisville. Zone defense often stung the Hurricanes, and the team left open receivers in vacated spaces for catches that resulted in first downs.

Granted, Anthony Chickillo, Denzel Perryman and Ufomba Kamalu each tallied one sack.


Run Defense

Plain and simple, Perryman was a tank. However, the senior linebacker cannot do it alone. The Miami defensive linemen definitely improved at shedding blocks and entering the backfield, but they still missed chances to register important tackles for loss.

Special Teams

Matt Goudis nailed both 24-yard field goals he attempted, and summer transfer Justin Vogel averaged 46.8 yards per punt.

For some bizarre reason, Stacy Coley fielded a punt at the one-yard line. Other than that mistake, he was one tackle away from breaking a long return on two different kicks. Plus, the sophomore had a stellar punt return negated by an illegal block in the back.



This was a forgettable game for the Miami coaching staff. Al Golden, who doubles as the special teams coordinator, was not thrilled after a kick-return touchdown. Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio made some questionable decisions, such as putting five men in the box in obvious running situations.

But the biggest negative of the day was offensive coordinator James Coley. The Hurricanes threw five screen passes that gained fewer than 10 total yards, and they consistently attempted to run through a surprisingly stout Louisville defensive line.


Louisville Cardinals Game Grades
Positional UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseC+B-
Run OffenseB-B
Pass DefenseB-A-
Run DefenseC+B+
Special TeamsAA
vs. Miami in Week 1

Pass Offense

While replacing Teddy Bridgewater is not an enviable task, Gardner showed he is capable of picking up much of the slack. Yes, his two fumbles should have turned into 14 Miami points, but Gardner was saved by a dropped lateral and tough defense from his teammates.

The sophomore completed 20 of 28 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns, finding eight different receivers on the night.


Run Offense

Dominique Brown was a major factor in running out the clock and sealing the victory for the Cardinals. The senior scampered for 143 yards and one touchdown, accounting for eight first downs with his legs.

Then again, despite all the success Louisville appeared to have on the ground, it still managed just 3.0 yards per attempt.

Pass Defense

Louisville silenced the Hurricanes' overused screen game and their playmakers, limiting Coley to three receptions for nine yards. Additionally, 59 of Kaaya's 174 passing yards came on the final drive, and he tossed two interceptions.

Overall, Miami made a single reception between the hashmarks, so the Cardinals effectively contained a work-in-progress air attack.


Run Defense

Holding Johnson to 4.5 yards per carry is enough of an achievement anyway, but Louisville left no doubt which team won the battle of the trenches.

Not including his 32 yards on back-to-back carries, Johnson was held to a mere 3.2 yards per attempt. That is a fantastic—and extremely unexpectedmark by by the Cardinals.


Special Teams

Speedster Corvin Lamb returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, giving his team a lead it never relinquished. John Wallace connected on four extra points and a 28-yard field goal, and punter Ryan Johnson recorded 44.4 yards per kick.


Perhaps the Cardinals' coaches looked better due to the ineptitude of Miami's, but the Louisville staff consistently had its athletes in the proper positions to succeed.

The two most glaring mistakes were completely player error, so Bobby Petrino's return to the program was satisfactory.


Follow Bleacher Report college football writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.