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September 2, 2014

Coffee: Louisville dominates Miami, again

I was ready for some football and I got it, Petrino style.

It wasn't a work of art, but I'll take that kind of win every time. It didn't look good at times, but at the end it was a 31-13 shellacking of a program that has won multiple national championships, five to be exact.

The University of Louisville that for many years until the arrival of Howard Schnellenberger was known as a "small college" has now defeated the once haughty, boisterous and supercilious University of Miami three times in a row (and it should be four if not for a concussion to Stefon LeFors, a dropped interception and an errant punt).

The three wins over Miami were by a combined score of 97-29.

In 2006, the Canes came to the Ville ranked No. 15 in the country and left with a 31-7 drubbing, in the Russell Athletic Bowl in 2013, the Cards won 36-9 and in yesterday's game on Labor Day, the odds makers made them a 4-point underdog and they ended up losing 31-13.

In all three games between UofL and UM the Vegas folks whiffed badly. Some astute Card fan could make a living betting on the games between the schools, although I am not suggesting that anyone gamble.

Despite some opening-game foibles, the Cards were dominant in the game. They had almost 100 more yards of total offense and held Miami to 244 total yards. The defense was better than expected and the offense will get better with experience.

Louisville fans should be excited about this season. The defense seems capable of holding teams enough to allow the offense to develop and work out the kinks. Three dropped passes in the Miami game is unacceptable and Petrino the perfectionist could put some upperclassmen on the bench if it continues.

One graphic on ESPN that grabbed my attention when I watched the game on replay was the third down conversions of the Miami offense. In the Russell Athletic Bowl they converted zero third downs. On Monday Miami converted on 1 of 13 third downs to go 1 of 24 for the two games. That is a remarkable statistic and could be unprecedented in two games between top programs.

I expect the offense to get much better. On a few occasions the offensive line seemed confused about their assignments and missed blocks, but there was only one procedure or offside penalty against the line and that is exceptional for the first game.

Will Gardner took some lumps, especially when he didn't protect the ball and made two fumbles. His desperate grasping of the Miami defender that picked up his fumble reminded me of many kiddie ball players that are trying hard but don't really know what to do except hold on. He stopped a Miami touchdown, and the Cardinal defense held the Canes to a field goal.

Gardner can throw the ball. He was 20-28 in the game after starting with some first-game jitters. I wish Charlie Strong had given Gardner more reps last season. It would have paid off this year. In the second half Gardner was 10 of 11 passing which should warm the hearts of all Cardinal fans.

The performance against Miami was a joy for all Cardinal fans, the most ever gathered in one spot. It looks like we are going to have a good time together this season.


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