Rapid Reaction: Louisville offense overwhelms Syracuse

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A balanced offense secured Louisville football’s seventh win. The Cardinals defeated Syracuse 56-34 at Cardinal Stadium Nov. 23 on senior day as Louisville’s offense finished with 608 yards.

“That was huge for our guys, we talked about sending these guys off as winners,” Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said. 

Run Game

Louisville finished with 370 rushing yards as Javian Hawkins had a career night. The redshirt freshman finished with 233 yards and a touchdown.

“It’s trusting in the boys up front, they trust in me,” Hawkins said. “It’s getting the job done.”

The Cardinals averaged nine yards per run. Hassan Hall added 71 yards while Micale Cunningham ran for 60 yards from the quarterback position. 

Satterfield said the offensive line had the mentality to run the ball against Syracuse. 

“Our offensive line felt really good coming into tonight,” Satterfield said. “We felt like we needed to grind it out a little bit more.”

Defensive woes

Syracuse had no problem moving the ball. The Orange had 510 yards of offense, scoring on four consecutive possessions in the second half. 

Moe Neal rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns last season against Louisville. He got right back to where he left off on Saturday. Neal had 163 rushing yards, setting a new career high as Syracuse finished with 261 yards on the ground. 

Satterfield didn't think it was fatigue that plagued his defense. He attributed misalignment and missed tackles to Louisville's struggles. 

“It seemed like we missed some tackles in those drives,” Satterfield said. “We have to do a lot better job with that.”

Big Numbers

Hawkins set a program single-season rushing record for a freshman in the first quarter with a 1-yard carry. Hawkins surpassed Victor Anderson’s mark of 1,047 yards set in 2008.

Hawkins finished with 233 yards, going over 100 yards in a game for the sixth time this season. He is the only freshman in program history with six games of 100 rushing yards or more.

Tutu Atwell had a 90-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter to give Louisville a 28-10 lead. The catch put Atwell over 1,000 receiving yards, making the sophomore the first receiver to surpass 1,000 yards since Harry Douglas in 2007.

Hawkins and Atwell are the first runner and receiver for Louisville to surpass 1,000 yards in the same season since 1999.

Atwell’s 90-yard touchdown reception from Cunningham was the fourth longest pass in school history.

Kick Coverage

Louisville’s kick return coverage struggled slowing down Jawhar Jordan. The freshman had two returns that setup Syracuse in good field position, which led to points.

Jordan returned a kickoff 48 yards on Syracuse’s opening drive, starting an Orange drive that ended in a field goal. Jordan returned the second half’s opening kickoff 35 yards, which helped Syracuse produce another field goal.

What It Means

After going winless in conference play last season, Louisville finishes second in the ACC Atlantic Division with a 5-3 record. The Cardinals were picked last in the preseason ACC media poll.

Up Next

Louisville finishes the regular season against in-state rival Kentucky in Lexington Nov. 30. The annual rivalry is set for a noon kickoff. 

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