Archive for November, 2011

November 30, 2011

Cardinals in the NFL – Week 12


Former Louisville wide receiver, Harry Douglas, had a 27-yard touchdown catch in the win over Minnesota (photo courtesy of AP/John Bazemore).

The regular season is beginning to wind down. Here is edition No. 12 of Cardinals in the NFL from ‘Inside the Huddle.’ Ten Louisville letterwinners saw time on the gridiron in week four. Below is a breakdown of each player and their statistics:

David Akers (San Francisco, Placekicker) – Akers was the 49ers’ only source of points, as he hit a pair of field goals – 45- and 52-yarders – in a loss to Baltimore, 16-6.

Brock Bolen (Jacksonville, Fullback) – Bolen saw time off the bench in a 20-13 loss at home to Houston.

Deion Branch (New England, Wide Receiver) – Branch earned the start in a 38-20 victory over Philadelphia. He finished with six catches for 125 yards in the win.

Michael Bush (Oakland, Running Back) – Bush earned his fourth start of the season at running back, guiding Oakland to a 25-20 win over Chicago. He rushed for 69 yards on 24 carries, including a three-yard touchdown run and had four catches for 24 yards.

Harry Douglas (Atlanta, Wide Receiver) – Douglas came off the bench in a 24-14 victory over Minnesota. He had two catches for 45 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter.

Elvis Dumervil (Denver, Defensive End) – Dumervil earned the start at right defensive end in a 16-13 overtime victory at San Diego. He had a strong performance, recording five total tackles, including two solo sacks for a loss of 23 yards.

William Gay (Pittsburgh, Cornerback) – Gay earned the start at left cornerback in a 13-9 road victory at Kansas City. He had two tackles, including one for a loss, in the victory.

Breno Giacomini (Seattle, Offensive Tackle) – Giacomini earned the start at right tackle in a 23-17 loss at Seattle.

Brandon Johnson (Cincinnati, Linebacker) – Johnson earned time off the bench in a 23-20 win over Cleveland.

Amobi Okoye (Chicago, Defensive Tackle) – Okoye saw limited playing time in a 25-20 loss to Oakland. His lone stop was a nine-yard sack. He also had one pass defensed.

November 24, 2011

Cardinals in the NFL – Week 11


Elvis Dumervil had three stops, including one sack, in the win over the New York Jets in week 11.

Happy Thanksgiving, Cardinals fans! Here is edition No. 11 of Cardinals in the NFL from ‘Inside the Huddle.’ Ten Louisville letterwinners saw time on the gridiron in week four. Below is a breakdown of each player and their statistics:

David Akers (San Francisco, Placekicker) – Akers connected on three field goals and two extra points for 11 totals points in a 23-7 victory over Arizona. Akers’ long was a 43-yarder in the first quarter.

Deion Branch (New England, Wide Receiver) – Branch had two catches for 19 yards after earning the start in a 34-3 stomping of Kansas City.

Michael Bush (Oakland, Running Back) – For the third-straight game, Bush earned the start at running back, helping the Raiders to a 27-21 victory over Minnesota. Again, he led a strong attack on the ground, rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries. He also had two catches for 20 yards.

Harry Douglas (Atlanta, Wide Receiver) – Douglas earned the start at wide receiver in a 23-17 win over Tennessee. He had four catches for 51 yards.

Elvis Dumervil (Denver, Defensive End) – Dumervil earned the start at right defensive end in a 17-13 win over the New York Jets. He had three stops, including one sack, and hit the quarterback twice.

Breno Giacomini (Seattle, Offensive Tackle) – Giacomini earned the start at right tackle in a 24-7 victory over St. Louis.

Brandon Johnson (Cincinnati, Linebacker) – Johnson earned time off the bench in a 31-24 loss to Baltimore. He had one tackle and hit the quarterback once.

Amobi Okoye (Chicago, Defensive Tackle) – Okoye saw limited playing time in a 31-20 victory over San Diego. He had one solo stop in the win.

Bilal Powell (New York Jets, Running Back) – Powell made his NFL debut in a 17-13 loss to Denver. He rushed for 11 yards on seven carries and had one catch for seven yards.

Jason Spitz (Jacksonville, Guard) – Spitz was inserted as a substitute in the Jaguars’ 14-10 loss to Cleveland.

November 17, 2011

Thursday Report

November 17, 2011

In another must-win situation, the Cardinals head to Connecticut this weekend to face a Huskie squad that owns a 4-5 overall mark (2-2 in the BIG EAST) on Saturday at noon at Rentschler Field.

After giving up 200 yards on the ground in the loss to Pittsburgh last week, a statistic the Louisville defense is not accustomed to seeing, the Cardinals understand the challenge at-hand against a Connecticut squad that excels on the ground behind a physical offensive line.

Sophomore defensive tackle Roy Philon knows his team didn’t perform last week upfront, the main reason why the Cardinals gave up 200 yards on the ground for the first time since a win over Arkansas State – a span of 18 games.

“It had a lot to do with our preparation as a defensive front,” Philon said. “We didn’t fit up a lot of blocks right. We prepared for it well all week, but we didn’t recognize a lot of their formations. It’s all about preparation for us as a defensive line. We have to go out there and fit our blocks. We have to do what we have to do, and come off the ball and play. We have go out and handle the run. We know they are going to run the football.”

The Cardinals have given up that kind of yardage on the ground only three times in 23 games under head coach Charlie Strong, so there is a strong likelihood the Cardinals will respond.

“We are going to come back”, Philon stated emphatically. “When you talk about the run game, you talk about the defensive front. The run game is dependent upon the defensive front and how we play. If we don’t perform well, the defense isn’t going to play well. We were embarrassed to give up that much yardage. We have to come out and play better. I think we will have a better week this week.”

Strong called out his football team this week, blaming the loss on a lack of focus all week in practice, which has plagued the Cardinals this year, especially after big road wins. Louisville fell to Marshall after defeating Kentucky and lost last week to Pittsburgh after winning at 21st-ranked West Virginia.

“We have made people come in this week,” Philon commented. “You have to want to do it. You have to want to do it, but as the defensive line, we are a unit. It’s about us and how much work, time and effort we put into it each day. It’s all about preparation. Whatever we put into it during the week is what you are going to get out of it. I felt last week we got complacent on what we were doing and we might have let up a little bit instead of putting our foot on the throttle.”

November 16, 2011

Wednesday Report

November 16,2011

Coming off a disappointing 21-14 home loss to Pittsburgh, the University of Louisville hits the road to face Connecticut on Saturday, Nov. 19, at Rentschler Field. The game will be televised by the BIG EAST Network (WHAS-TV in Louisville).

Louisville had its three-game winning streak snapped with a seven-point loss to the Panthers at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The Louisville offense was stifled all afternoon, amassing just 280 yards of total offense and was shut out in the first half. Freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was 18-of-26 for 165 yards and one touchdown and was the team’s leading rusher with 54 yards on 10 carries. Collectively, the Cardinals rushed for just 115 yards and were victimized by two turnovers.

Red-shirt freshman Michaelee Harris led the Cardinals with four receptions for 38 yards.

Trailing 14-0 in the third quarter, the Cardinals got a break when they received the football on the 11-yard line after a seven-yard punt. The Cardinals needed just two plays to answer on a three-yard run by senior Victor Anderson — the 16th rushing touchdown of his career. With 49 yards on the day, Anderson moved into 10th all-time for career rushing yards with 2,176.

However, the Panthers scored on a four-yard run by Tino Sunseri to go up 21-7 with 1:53 to play. Louisville scored when Bridgewater hit Scott Radcliff with a 25-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds remaining. Louisville recovered the on-side kick, but couldn’t do anything on the game’s final play.

Pittsburgh was able to control the line of scrimmage rushing for 200 yards on 45 carries. Sunseri was extremely efficient, going 16-of-22 for 196 yards and one score.

Louisville gave up 396 yards of total offense in the loss, but Hakeem Smith did finish the game with 13 total tackles. The Cardinals forced three sacks on the afternoon, but allowed Pittsburgh to go 7-for-14 on third down.

Connecticut is 4-5 and 2-2 in the BIG EAST after a 28-21 win over Syracuse on Nov. 5. The Huskies are coming off a bye week after the win over Syracuse.

Last Time Out Versus Connecticut (Louisville 26-0, 2010): Doug Beaumont returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown and Chris Philpott kicked four field goals to lead Louisville to a 26-0 victory over Connecticut. Adam Froman completed 18 of 30 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown for the Cardinals. Bilal Powell rushed for 105 yards on 27 carries for the Cardinals. Powell entered the game fourth in the Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing, averaging 149.7 yards per game. Jordan Todman, came into the game third in rushing (152.2 yards per game) in the FBS, and was held to a season-low 80 yards on 19 carries for the Huskies. The Cardinals posted their second shutout in their last three games. Froman threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Graham in the first quarter for the only offensive touchdown of the game. Philpott kicked field goals of 39, 42, 26 and 24 yards.

The Coaches
Louisville: Louisville head coach Charlie Strong is 12-11 in his second season with the Cardinals.
Connecticut: Paul Pasqualoni is 4-5 in his first season as head coach of the Huskies and 145-81-1 in 20 seasons as a collegiate head coach.

  Categories   Louisville   Connecticut
  Rushing Offense   120.50 (94)   127.78 (88)
  Passing Offense   206.10 (80)   191.00 (89)
  Total Offense   326.60 (104)   318.78 (107)
  Scoring Offense   19.30 (108)   22.67 (93)
  Passing Efficiency   134.65 (53)   116.66 (97)
  Rushing Defense   110.20 (19)   89.89 (6)
  Passing Defense   219.20 (57)   282.56 (112)
  Total Defense   329.40 (23)   372.44 (52)
  Scoring Defense   18.60 (12)   22.33 (38)
  Pass Eff. Defense   132.94 (69)   133.43 (71)
  Turnover Margin   -.20 (77)   .22 (45)
  Sacks   2.90 (t-14)   2.56 (24)
  Tackles for Loss   7.60 (10)   6.67 (34)
  Sacks Allowed   3.20 (114)   3.78 (119)
  National rankings are in between the parentheses.
November 15, 2011

Cardinals in the NFL – Week 10


In nine games played, Michael Bush has tallied 490 yards on the ground and four touchdowns along with one receiving touchdown.

Alas is edition No. 10 of Cardinals in the NFL from ‘Inside the Huddle.’ Twelve Louisville letterwinners saw time on the gridiron in week four. Below is a breakdown of each player and their statistics:

David Akers (San Francisco, Placekicker) – In a game where the first six scores were field goals, Akers booted four through the uprights and finished with 13 points in a 27-20 win over the New York Giants. His long of the game was a 52-yarder.

Deion Branch (New England, Wide Receiver) – Branch earned the start at wide receiver in a 37-16 victory over the New York Jets. He finished the game with five catches for 58 yards, including an eight-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter.

Michael Bush (Oakland, Running Back) – Bush earned his second-straight start of the season in a 24-17 victory over San Diego. He torched the Chargers for 157 yards on the ground on 30 carries, including a long of 44 and one touchdown. He also had three catches for 85 yards.

Harry Douglas (Atlanta, Wide Receiver) – Douglas saw time off the bench in a 26-23 loss to New Orleans. He exploded for 133 yards on eight catches along with one three-yard rush.

Elvis Dumervil (Denver, Defensive End) – Dumervil earned the start at right defensive end in a 17-10 victory over Kansas City. He recorded one assisted sack and had three quarterback hits.

William Gay (Pittsburgh, Cornerback) – Gay earned the start at left cornerback in a 24-17 victory over Cincinnati. He had one interception that he returned for 12 yards to with three tackles and four passes defensed (one led to an interception).

Breno Giacomini (Seattle, Offensive Tackle) – Giacomini saw limited playing time in a 22-17 victory over Baltimore.

Brandon Johnson (Cincinnati, Linebacker) – Johnson earned time off the bench in a 24-17 loss to Pittsburgh. He had one tackle on special teams.

Amobi Okoye (Chicago, Defensive Tackle) – Okoye saw limited playing time in 37-13 victory over Detroit. He tallied two solo stops in the win.

Johnny Patrick (New Orleans, Defensive Back) – Patrick saw limited playing time in a 26-23 victory over Atlanta.

Jason Spitz (Jacksonville, Guard) – Spitz was inserted as a substitute in the Jaguars’ 17-3 victory over Indianapolis.

Eric Wood (Buffalo, Center) – Wood earned the start at center in a 44-7 loss to Dallas.

November 14, 2011

Monday Report

November 14, 2011

Coming off a 21-14 loss at home to Pittsburgh, Louisville (5-5, 3-2) returns to action this week at Connecticut (4-5, 2-2). The game can be seen live on the BIG EAST Television Network on WHAS TV at noon.

The Huskies are coming off a bye, but defeated Syracuse 28-21 on Nov. 5. 
 
“So, we have a good matchup on Saturday against Connecticut, a very physical football team,” said head coach Charlie Strong at his weekly press conference. “That is going to depend on how we approach this game, how our players approach this game and then on how well we go play on the road.”

Running back Lyle McCombs leads the way for Connecticut, running for an average for 109.0 yards per game, which ranks second in the BIG EAST and 17th nationally. The Huskies are a run first offense that has relied on McCombs’ 224 carries in nine games.

The Huskies defense ranks sixth in the country against the run, yielding 89.89 yards and have allowed just seven rushing touchdowns.

The Cardinals are trying to get bowl eligible for the second straight week. Louisville is 1-3 when trying to become qualify for a bowl under Strong.

“You look at it, and once out of the least four seasons, which was last season, we were in the same position and we were able to go get bowl eligible,” said Strong. “Now, you’re on the road for two games. If it is important enough to our guys, then they’ll go get their mindset and get ready to go and try to get it done. I just think that it will be a huge step forward in this program to get to a bowl game this season when you were sitting there this season thinking how many games you could realistically go win. Now, you’re going to place yourself in a position to get to a bowl game.”

Connecticut Leaders
Rushing

Lyle McCombs 224 for 981 (4.4), 5 TD

Passing
Johnny McEntee 124 of 236, 1,515 yds, 9 TD, 6 INT

Receiving
Isiah Moore 32 for 436 (13.6), 0 TD

Scoring
Dave Teggert 14-20 FG, 22-22 PAT, 64 pts

Tackles
Jory Johnson 74 tackles, 4.0 TFL

November 10, 2011

Thursday Report

Dexter Heyman Audio | William Savoy Audio

Senior Day is an emotional time for a football team, especially for those seniors who will play on their home field for the last time.

The gamut of emotions that runs through the player’s heads is difficult for most of them to hold until that final whistle blows.

Saturday afternoon, 17 seniors on the University of Louisville football team will walk off the field at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium for the final time, hopefully as victors. The Cardinals haven’t won a Senior Day contest since Louisville pulled off a 41-38 come-from-behind win over Rutgers in 2007.

For senior linebacker Dexter Heyman, Saturday will be an emotional day for him. He is playing his final game in the city he grew up in and adored for many years. A standout from Male High, Heyman has seen his Louisville team experience many highs and lows, but loves the direction the program is headed and wishes he could be around to be a part of the continued climb to prominence. He can assist in that climb by guiding the Cardinals to their fourth-straight win and keeping them in the race for the BIG EAST title.

“My senior class is really something,” said Heyman, the team’s top tackler. “It’s really important to me as a player, and it’s really important to me as a person. This young talented team that we have, coming in here and really buying into coach Strong and what he’s really trying to accomplish here, and (is great and it’s) helping us seniors along the way. Just seeing Calvin Pryor get his first interception on the first play of that Rutgers game, that was huge. Certain things like that. You have a good time with guys that you’ve known through the years like Greg Scruggs, Josh Chichester and Victor Anderson, who I’ve known for several years. There are just fine memories of those guys, and knowing this is the last time we’ll be able to strap on a Louisville helmet and go out here in this ballpark for one last time, it’s going to be huge, and we expect to put on a good show.”

One senior who won’t get that opportunity to strap on the helmet for the last time will be senior Anthony Conner, who broke his neck against Rutgers and was lost for the year. Conner can only dream of playing again and that hurts senior defensive tackle/end Greg Scruggs, who knows how bad Conner would love to be out on the field again.
“It hurts so hard that he can’t be out there with us to win,” said Scruggs of Conner.  “At the same time, it motivates us. It gives us a drive to make the most of every opportunity because, in the blink of an eye, it can be taken away from you. I think everybody in the stadium who’s ever seen him play or been a part of Louisville football knows that we lost a good one. We really did. I think they will be emotional not only for what he’s given to the program but also for the fact that he’s so fortunate and so lucky to be able to be out there standing and walking on his own two feet.”
Senior defensive tackle William Savoy, who came here as a walk-on and earned a scholarship, is also experiencing a wide range of emotions, but is also looking toward the future of this program and is jealous he won’t be around to see when this program takes off, possibly by next season. He continues to help these young players develop and is also there for his young freshmen.
“We are always acting like father figures, coaching them up,” said Savoy.  “I don’t want them to make the same mistakes that I made, especially the young defensive linemen like B.J. Dubose and Deointrez Mount. It’s fast for them out there. They’re having to do their freshman year what I didn’t to until my junior year. I’m jealous of them boys, at the same time I’m glad I’m here. They’re going to win a lot of games, and I’m proud of them.”
For the 17 seniors, who are playing their final home game, their focus isn’t on the final play Saturday but rather what they’ve set out to do all year – win.
November 9, 2011

Cardinals in the NFL – Week 9


San Francisco 49ers’ placekicker David Akers is third in the NFL with 19 made field goals this year.

Below is version No. 9 of Cardinals in the NFL from ‘Inside the Huddle.’ Eleven Louisville letterwinners saw time on the gridiron in week four. Below is a breakdown of each player and their statistics:

David Akers (San Francisco, Placekicker) – Akers outscored the Redskins himself, leading the 49ers to a 19-11 victory. Akers was a perfect 4-of-4 on field-goal attempts, including a game-high 52-yarder. He also chipped in one extra point.

Deion Branch (New England, Wide Receiver) – Branch earned the start at wide receiver in a 24-20 loss to the New York Giants. He had two catches for 21 yards.

Michael Bush (Oakland, Running Back) – Bush earned his first start of the season in a 38-24 loss to Denver. He tallied 96 yards on 19 attempts on the ground and had two receptions for 33 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown catch.

Harry Douglas (Atlanta, Wide Receiver) – Douglas saw time off the bench in a 31-7 victory over Indianapolis.

Elvis Dumervil (Denver, Defensive End) – Dumervil earned the start at right defensive end in a 38-24 win over Oakland. He had a strong game, making a combined three stops, including 1.5 sacks, two quarterback hits and one pass defensed.

William Gay (Pittsburgh, Cornerback) – Gay earned the start at left cornerback in a 23-20 loss to Baltimore. He finished the game with six stops, five of which were solo tackles, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery.

Breno Giacomini (Seattle, Offensive Tackle) – Giacomini saw time off the bench in a 23-13 loss to Dallas.

Brandon Johnson (Cincinnati, Linebacker) – Johnson earned time off the bench in a 24-17 victory over Tennessee. He had five solo stops and one pass defensed in the win.

Amobi Okoye (Chicago, Defensive Tackle) – Okoye saw limited playing time in a 30-24 victory over Philadelphia. He finished the game with two tackles.

Chris Redman (Atlanta, Quarterback) – Redman was inserted as a substitute in a 31-7 victory over Indianapolis.

Eric Wood (Buffalo, Center) – Wood earned the start at center in a 27-11 loss the New York Jets.

November 8, 2011

Audio Interviews Following Nov. 8 Practice

Josh Chichester | Mario Benavides | Teddy Bridgewater

Senior tight end Josh Chichester, junior center Mario Benavides and freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater were among the selected Cardinal football players who spoke with the media following practice on Nov. 8, previewing Saturday’s noon BIG EAST contest against Pittsburgh. It is the final home game of the year for the Cardinals, who will honor their 17 seniors prior to kickoff.

Louisville, coming off a 38-35 victory at then-No. 24/21 West Virginia, enter Saturday’s game with a 5-4 overall record, going 3-1 in the BIG EAST. Pitt, meanwhile, stands at 4-5 overall, 2-2 in the league. The game will be televised on the BIG EAST Network (WHAS-TV in Louisville). Fans also can listen to the game on either WHAS 840AM or WKRD 790AM, or via satellite radio: SIRIUS Channel 134 and XM Channel 204.

November 8, 2011

Tuesday’s Report

Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8

How do we handle success? That’s the message this week that head coach Charlie Strong is going to deliver to his team after a 38-35 win over West Virginia last Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va. It was Louisville’s first win in Morgantown since 1990 and the first victory over the Mountaineers since 2006.

This is the exact same position the Cardinals were in about six weeks ago. Louisville defeated intrastate rival Kentucky 24-17 at Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 17, snapping a four-game losing streak to the Wildcats. It was one of the biggest wins in years for the Cardinals, and certainly put the squad on an emotional high.

After a bye week following the UK win, the Cardinals dropped a 17-13 decision at home to Marshall, where they wasted several opportunities late to win the game.

This time, the Cardinals are hosting Pittsburgh (4-5, 2-2 BIG EAST) on Saturday at noon. The Cardinals are looking to become bowl eligible with a win on Saturday and aren’t looking for a repeat performance that followed the Kentucky win.

It’s also the exact same position the team was in a year ago when, at 5-4, it played host to South Florida, only to lose 24-21 in overtime and then fell the following week at home to West Virginia.

“I haven’t even said anything about becoming bowl eligible,” said Strong. “I think our players are reading into it. But, I just want to make sure our focus stays on Pitt. Yesterday, what I said to them was, ‘We were in this position last year. We go lose to South Florida. Let’s just make sure we handle our business at home. It’s the last game for our seniors here at home, so let’s make sure we send them out the right way.”

The Cardinals will be looking both to avenge last year’s loss to the Panthers, where they were whipped on both sides of the football in a 20-3 loss.

Pittsburgh Leaders
Tino Sunseri (175-278-8, 1,841 yds, 8 TD)

Zach Brown (52 att., 183 yds, 4 TD)

Devin Street (33 rec., 471 yds, 2 TD)

Series
The series is tied at 7-7, but the Panthers have won the last three meetings in impressive fashion, winning by an average of 25 points per game, including last season’s 20-3 victory at Heinz Field.