Thumbs UP: Having difficulty keeping with this UP/DOWN format, cause I'm so damn proud of this team.
Thumbs DOWN: The Syracuse "key waggling". I know other schools do it, more often in basketball, but Syracuse seems to have tried to turn it into their "thing". It's really stupid, especially when busting it out while losing 21-20. Really, you want us to go home now? OK, but I think that means you lose.
Thumns UP: YAK. Or yards after catch. Or Katch. The Cardinal receivers had the back of backup QB Justin Burke on Saturday, fighting for key yards after snagging the ball. Two plays in particular stick out. One, Josh Bellamy pulling out some backyard-style juke moves to will his way past the 1st down marker in the 3rd quarter. Second, tight end Cameron Graham's incredible stiff-arm on a Syracuse linebacker that sprung him for another 9 yards are so. Among the numerous things the Cards did better that day, they simply wanted to win more. You could see it in the way the receivers ran with tenacity.
Oh, three plays, actually. Doug Beaumont also had a slippery move where he ducked under a tackler and then scrambled to move the chains. It almost looked choreographed, like ducking under the clothesline of a wrestler.
Thumbs DOWN: Our gunners on punt coverage. Nitpicky, I know, but could be important down the road. I've been impressed with the steady improvement of our special teams, and our guys are doing well getting down the field and getting in position to make a play. But it doesn't do much good if you continue missing the first tackle and let the returner slip to the second level.
Thumbs UP: Justin Burke. He overcame some hitches in his 2nd quarter giddyup, and continued to make plays. The toughest throws to make for a backup, one trying desperately not to make a mistake, are the clutch passes. Burke didn't let any fear of failure overcome his duty of making the necessary passes for his team, and came through in the clutch. And he's a tough sonofabitch too, shaking off one of the more hellacious hits I've seen put on a QB this season. But...
Thumbs DOWN: Justin Burke. Let's not let our jubilation cloud our minds too much. I didn't see anything Saturday that would make me rethink putting Froman back there as soon as he's ready. Burke's arm strength is evident, but all too often he throws off his back foot, negating that advantage. He also seems much more comfortable only throwing to the right side of the field. I think Froman has more field vision at this point, and doesn't have his mind made up of where he wants to throw before the play unfolds. Several times it seemed like that was the case with Burke. A fine performance. But a fine performance from our backup, still.
Thumbs UP: Jeremy Wright. Whispers from those that have watched him dominate in practices have swirled around Wright for awhile. We finally got to see it in action. He was a blur once he powered past the first level, and even the safeties were taking the wrong angles to get him, unable to adjust to his speed. Just wow.
Thumbs DOWN: Doug Marrone's mind-numblingly stupid decision to challenge the spot on a call that actually favored his team, essentially throwing away a precious timeout in the final minutes. What's more, replays showed that Vic may, may have actually stretched to the marker before his knee hit. If Marrone had challenged a call that already favored him, only to have the refs give the Cards the first down, I would have been apoplectic. Charlie Strong says thanks for the trophy though, Doug.
Thumbs UP: I could go on and on, but like I said, I don't have any more downs to feature. Andrell Smith making a spectacular touchdown grab. Vic Anderson showing why he's still a force to be reckoned with in this offense. Daniel Brown forcing a gamechanging fumble and delving out punishment all over the field. Vance Bedford dialing up some of the best-timed blitzes I've ever seen from the Cards, when a player would be in their backfield a microsecond after the ball is snapped.
I can't wait to welcome this team home on Saturday.
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About the Bloggers
Mr. Red is also known as Timothy Johnstone. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.
Mr. Black is also known as Christopher Cunningham. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.
CliffySmalls is also known as Cliff Elliott. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.