Louisville has been a major disappointment in 2020. Scott Satterfield took over as head coach and had them headed on the right track. However, despite all of the setbacks and disappointment, the offense has been the one thing going right for Satterfield. Here are three players to watch against Notre Dame.
#3 MALIK CUNNINGHAM, QUARTERBACK
2020 stats: 986 passing yards, 9 passing TDs, 5 INTs; 84 rushing yards, 3 rushing TDs
Cunningham has the tools to be a dynamic player, but he has been inconsistent this season. When he is on, however, he can be electric.
Against Georgia Tech last week, Cunningham finished with 279 total yards and four touchdowns. He's been flashy, but also susceptible to mistakes. Cunningham had five interceptions in all of 2019, a mark he has already reached through four games in 2020. Most of it comes down to trying to do too much.
With the struggles of the Louisville defense, which has given up 38 points per game in conference play, Cunningham and the offense clearly feel pressure to put a lot of points on the board. This has caused plenty of mental mistakes and turnovers all year, but for all the highs and lows of the season, Cunningham has a skillset Notre Dame has struggled with.
His rush yards are not impressive to this point in the season, but Cunningham has some rushing ability. Just a junior, Cunningham already has 1,063 career rushing yards and 14 rushing scores. Just looking back at the Florida State game last week, his running ability is something Notre Dame could have issues with.
#1 TUTU ATWELL, WIDE RECEIVER
2020 season stats: 25 receptions, 281 yards, 4 TDs
Atwell is the top playmaker in the Louisville pass game. Like Cunningham, he can struggle with consistency, but he's a dynamic playmaker when he's on his game. Atwell is one of the most explosive offensive weapons in the ACC.
Atwell finished last season with 70 receptions for 1,276 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also had his best game of the 2020 season against one of the better defensive backs in the country. Atwell faced off with Miami cornerback Al Blades. Blades is the son of a former NFL player and has his own NFL career ahead of him. Atwell torched Miami for eight receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns. The Louisville wideout had six catches for 142 yards and a score against the Hurricanes in 2019 as well.
Notre Dame was able to keep Atwell in check during the 2019 matchup. They held the talented receiver to five receptions for 47 yards in that meeting.
#10 JAVIAN HAWKINS, RUNNING BACK
2020 season stats: 85 carries, 468 yards, 3 TDs, 5.5 YPC
Hawkins is currently second in the nation in rushing yards and the leader in Louisville's two-headed rushing attack. He is arguably the most important player for the offense. Atwell rushed for 1,525 yards and nine scores last season.
While Cunningham and Atwell are the names everyone knows, Hawkins is the one that keeps the offense on track. He has averaged at least six yards per carry in three of the four games this season. This includes 164 yards rushing against Miami and 82 total yards against Pitt.
Shutting down Hawkins is the key to stopping the Louisville offense. The only problem is that has been difficult to do. As previously mentioned, Hawkins was able to find success against Pitt and their top 10 run defense.
Hawkins should be another name that Notre Dame fans remember. As a freshman last season, Hawkins rushed 19 times for 122 yards at 6.4 YPC against Notre Dame.
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