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Inside the Numbers: Getting to know the Louisville Cardinals

LouisvilleWake Forest, which rather easily dispatched Virginia, 37-17, in Week 4, had a tougher time with Louisville, defeating the Cardinals, 37-34, in Week 5.

Week 6 has UVA traveling to Louisville. Feels like a good time to take a look at what UL did to take Wake to the limit this past weekend.

Offense

Passing game

Malik Cunningham (1,307 yards, 7 TD/2INT, 142.9 passer rating, 309 yards/10 TDs on the ground) isn’t quite Lamar Jackson, but he’s close enough.

Against the Deacs, Cunningham was 19-of-26 for 309 yards and two TDs, with one INT, and he ran 10 times for 59 yards and two TDs.

The O line allowed two sacks, and Cunningham had one scramble for eight yards.

Wake blitzed him 11 times. On those plays, Cunningham was 6-of-9 for 76 yards and a TD.

He was 9-of-12 for 194 yards and 2 TDs on play-action.

And on passes that traveled 10+ yards in the air, Cunningham was 10-of-13 for 229 yards and two TDs.

Um, he’s good.

The top targets were tight end Marshon Ford (five catches on six targets, 34 yards) and wideouts Jordan Watkins (four catches on five targets, 68 yards) and Justin Marshall (four catches on five targets, 46 yards).

You’ll also want to keep an eye on wideouts Ahmari Huggins-Bruce and Tyler Harrell. Both have broken for long TDs (Huggins-Bruce has a 93-yard TD this season; Harrell broke an intermediate crossing route into a 75-yarder in the Wake game).

Running game

As noted, Cunningham, in the read-option, is a key guy in the ground game. You’ll also need to watch for tailbacks Jalen Mitchell (17 carries, 89 yards vs. Wake) and Trevion Cooley (11 carries, 61 yards vs. Wake).

The Cardinals attack in between the tackles (13 carries, 69 yards vs. Wake) and around the edges (17 carries, 94 yards) equally.

Defense

Pass defense

The front got 20 pressures and two sacks on Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman, led by linebackers Yasir Abdullah (four pressures), CJ Avery (three pressures) and Jack Fagot (three pressures, one sack).

Hartman ended up throwing for 324 yards on 23-of-40 passing.

The best cover guy was free safety Qwynnterrio Cole (five receptions on 10 targets, 55 yards, INT).

Safety Kenderick Duncan and cornerback Kei’Trel Clark each allowed five receptions on six targets, and corner Chandler Jones allowed three catches on five targets.

Run defense

Wake was able to gain 177 yards on the ground, but had to work for it – the longest gain from scrimmage was just 15 yards.

The Deacs’ ground game ran 20 times for 85 yards between the tackles and had 10 tries for 38 yards around the edges.

That’s the profile of a gap-sound defensive front seven.

Story by Chris Graham