Defensive Breakdowns Critical in Loss vs. Miami
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - One week removed from having a relatively solid outing against Western Kentucky, Louisville's defense took a major step backwards in their conference opener against Miami.
After giving up only 248 yards to the Hilltoppers to kick off the season, the Cardinals' (1-1, 0-1 ACC) defense allowed the Hurricanes (2-0, 1-0 ACC) to gain 485 total yards of offense - which played a key factor in their 47-34 loss.
"This is a disappointing loss for us, obviously," head coach Scott Satterfield said after the game. "We made too many mistakes. Not good enough on third down on both sides of the ball and we committed too many turnovers. We didn't create any turnovers and gave up too many big plays today. Those two plays in the second half, there were two, one-play drives that went for six. You have to make offenses drive the ball."
The two, one-play drives in which Satterfield was referencing was arguably the turning point of the night and set the tone for the remainder of the game. Trailing 20-6 at halftime after a pedestrian first half by the Cardinals, the offense looked much more poised and came away with touchdowns on their first two drives of the half.
The problem, however, was that Miami also scored on their first two drives of the half - but on their very first plays. Cam'Ron Harris rushed up the right side to find pay dirt, while RB Jaylan Knighton flew past the UofL secondary out of the backfield for an uncontested catch and run - both for 75 yards.
"We were short-handed on the boundary on the touchdown run. We did a stunt up front, and we looped inside where we didn't have an edge to the defense. He took it to the sideline and outran everybody on defense," Satterfield said.
"The second one was a running back out of the backfield," he continued. "That was bad on our safety (Isaiah Hayes). He has that guy in man to man coverage when he comes out of the backfield. It was a play action pass with the quarterback stepped up. He outflanked the defense down the right side."
Both times Miami ran unbalanced looks on offensive, as they had done for a majority of the night. Satterfield knew two crucial offensive game plans for the Hurricanes, but also admits they looked a tad different than what they had seen on film.
"They had a few wrinkles in the game tonight. Probably a little bit more unbalanced than what they had shown," he said. "We knew they wanted to run the football. Obviously, we knew they wanted to get the ball to number nine (Brevin Jordan). He's one of the best tight ends in the country."
Speaking of Jordan, he would also get in on the action late in the game. Miami's final score of the night came via a 47-yard strike to the All-ACC tight end to put the game to bed. He finished with seven catches for 120 yards, Harris totaled 134 yards rushing on just 9 attempts, and QB D'Eriq King accumulated 325 yards & three touchdowns on 18 of 30 passing.
By the times the clock hit all zeroes, the Canes had run just 60 offensive plays but averaged 8.1 per play, 18.1 yards per completion and 5.3 yards per rush. While inside linebacker CJ Avery believes the defense is moving in the right direction, he know they have to work towards containing the big plays.
"It's extremely frustrating and something that we have to get fixed," he said. "Each man has to do their job and that's all it comes down to. We have to come back to work tomorrow and focus on that."
Louisville is set to embark on their first road trip of the season next weekend, traveling to face the Pitt Panthers. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26 at 12:00 p.m. on the ACC Network.
(Photo of Mike Harley: Atlantic Coast Conference)
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