Cunningham proves his progress


If it wasn’t known by now, Micale Cunningham has settled into the role of starting quarterback for Louisville football.

After getting injured in fall camp and beaten out by Jawon Pass, Cunningham dropped into the role of backup quarterback for the Cardinals’ first two games. When Pass went down with a season-ending foot injury, Cunningham assumed the role of starting quarterback.

He hasn’t relinquished the position since.

Cunningham has started nine consecutive games, completing 61.8 percent of his throws for 1,704 yards and 19 touchdowns.

“He has settled in and has played well,” Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said. “I’m proud him and the way he has developed because early on he was inconsistent. The one thing about it, which has been surprising for me, is how accurate he is. He’s an accurate passer and throws one of the better deep balls out of anybody out there.”

The redshirt sophomore has shown progress in recent weeks. After sharing possessions with freshman Evan Conley midway through the year, Cunningham has played exclusively in the past two weeks.

He completed 13 of 20 throws for 242 yards and four touchdowns in Louisville’s 34-20 win over NC State Nov. 16. Cunningham threw for 238 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 60 yards and a score against Syracuse last week.

Cunningham threw a 90-yard touchdown to Tutu Atwell, the program’s fourth longest completion, against Syracuse. He connected with Atwell for a 27-yard reception, along with a 29-yard score to Seth Dawkins and 28-yard touchdown to Jordan Davis.

On Atwell’s 90-yard reception, Cunningham lofted the ball around 30 yards downfield, allowing Atwell to run into the catch and break away from the defender.

“The defender’s behind Tutu and he lobs it out there and he goes and gets it, those are not easy throws,” Satterfield said. It was a great touch ball that you have to put the right arch on and throw it in the right spot so our guy can go get it. He [Cunningham] has done very well in that regard and I’m really proud of the way he’s playing. I think he’s fourth in the country in pass-efficiency, he just hasn’t had enough attempts.”

Cunningham wasn’t healthy in the first few weeks, but when he was thrust into the starting role, he needed practice time and game experience to adjust.

“It’s learn-on-the-job training for him,” Satterfield said. “Once he got in there, he played well, but then he was inconsistent and made some mistakes.”