Missed tackles plague Louisville

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Louisville football earned its seventh win of the season in a 56-34 victory over Syracuse Nov. 23, but its run defense disappointed coach Scott Satterfield. The Cardinals allowed 261 rushing yards as Syracuse average five yards per carry.

Orange running back Moe Neal finished with a career-high 163 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. His 45-yard touchdown run in the third quarter trimmed Louisville’s lead to two possessions.

Satterfield said it wasn’t a great effort defensively and his team didn’t tackle well.

“The missed tackles, no question about it was (disappointing), we didn’t fit particularly well either in the run game,” Satterfield said. “Guys getting out of their gaps and their guys were able to get some rushing yards.”

Linebackers Rodjay Burns and Dorian Etheridge each finished with 12 tackles. Marlon Character added 10 tackles.

Part of Louisville’s problem against Syracuse’s rushing attack was gap integrity. Satterfield didn’t think Louisville was in the right spots on particular plays.

“When you’re not fitting right it’s pretty easy to get some big yards,” Satterfield said. “When we didn’t fit right we didn’t make the tackle. We got guys right there at the point of attack, they got to get them down and we were not about to do that.”

Syracuse had problem running the ball on a drive midway through the third quarter. Neal went 33 yards on a carry and Jarveon Howard scored on a 16-yard run to cut Louisville’s lead to 42-27.

The missed tackles weren’t limited to Louisville’s run defense.

Jawhar Jordan caught a screen pass near the sideline and it appeared that the Cardinals had the receiver bottled up around the line of scrimmage. Jordan avoided several tacklers, going down the sideline for an 81-yard gain to bring the ball to the 3-yard-line.

After the screen pass that put the ball in the red zone, Louisville’s defense held firm. Burns had a tackle on third down while Yasir Addullah made a stop on fourth-and-goal at the 6-yard-line to end the Syracuse drive with Louisville leading 49-34.

“Our guys rose up when we needed to particularly in the fourth quarter with two big fourth down stops,” Satterfield said. “Obviously it preserved the game for us.” 

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