(Photo Joel Auerbach/ Getty Images)
Our Cardinals moved to 3-1 on the season after beating FIU 34-3 today in a game that seemed to last forever. It really was like watching paint dry at certain points. Nothing new in this series as all of the games have been some of the most uneventful I’ve ever seen. Good news is that today will be the last time these teams meet for the foreseeable future and hopefully forever. The Cards end the series leading 3-1.
It’s really hard to take anything away from games like this sometimes but it is pretty obvious that our offense needs some work. I know that there is a lot of blame being placed on the shoulders of Will Gardner. And yes he does have 7 of the 8 turnovers on the season including two fumbles today. While I do agree that Will could clean some things up he also needs his offensive line to do a better job. The batted down passes, the missed targets, the fumbles how much of that has to do with the fact that our offensive line isn’t getting it done in pass protection. They are allowing teams to penetrate and aren’t doing a very good job of holding their blocks. Missed assignments, not blocking the right person it all has a serious effect on the passing game. Coming into the game today Louisville ranked 96th in the country in Sacks allowed with 8 on the season for 55 yards. Today the offensive line allowed 4 sacks for 41 yards. That’s just not acceptable and you can’t expect your passing game to get into any type rhythm when your QB is running for his life. The offensive line was a concern for Coach Petrino coming into the season and now he finds himself scrambling to fix it.
Even though we got to finally see all of our running backs get involved in the game the rushing attack was not very effective today. The Cardinals had a net of 12 yards in the ground game… Yup 12. The highlight of this day was the passing attack and regardless of the deficiencies of the offensive line the Cardinals had a net of 324 yards through the air. The star of that show was James Quick. He had 7 catches for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns. I think this is what we all envisioned when the 5* stud from Louisville signed with the Cardinals. He is going to be fun to watch over the next couple of years and will be a nice complement to Devante Parker when he returns in October. Good luck to defensive coordinators trying to stop both of them.
What else can you say about our defense other than thank you. They have been the highlight of the early season for this team and were the highlight again today. Coming into today the Cardinals ranked 12th in the nation in total defense allowing only 273 yards a game. They only gave up 205 yards today and have yet to allow a 300 yard game this season. They also had 5 sacks today for over 50 yards. The star of this solid defensive effort was Gerod Holliman who had 2 interceptions today and one for a touchdown. He leads the country with 5 on the season. On defense it’s all about playing fast, physical and with an attitude. The Cardinals defense is doing all three. They have really adjusted well to the new coaching staff and have answered the call every time out. Again what more can you say besides thank you.
I would be lying if I said that I haven’t lowered my expectations a bit for this season. I think when it’s all said and done if we can make it to a decent bowl game and chalk it up to a transition year I will be happy. Bobby Petrino will get the offense rolling according to his standards soon enough, but it just may take longer than the rest of this year to do it. I’m as excited as I was day one of this season, but am now seeing things clearly and with a sense of reality. My advice to those who are turning into Chicken Little’s is to do the same. The easy games and the learning games are over. It’s going to be a grind for the rest of the way. Go Cards!