CRAWFORD | Three-and-out: Takeaways from Louisville's 28-6 win a - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Three-and-out: Takeaways from Louisville's 28-6 win at Syracuse

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 SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WDRB) -- Stop me if you've read some of this before. No, don't. You're going to read it again. The University of Louisville defense is pretty good. Brandon Radcliff is pretty good. And Gerod Holliman is an interception machine.

And the Cardinals, who didn't light it up offensively, dominated Syracuse defensively and got enough offense from quarterback Reggie Bonnafon to put away the Orange 28-6 in The Carrier Dome Friday night.

Louisville still struggled with penalties offensively, piling up nine for 75 yards in the first three quarters. But they seemed to find a rushing rhythm as the game went on, with some big pass plays by Bonnafon mixed in.

The victory improves U of L to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the ACC. It keeps Bobby Petrino perfect against the Orange (4-0 for his career). Over the past three seasons, U of L is 19-0 when it runs the ball 35 times or more. That continued Saturday night.

Some quick takeaways from the game:

1). RADCLIFF IS ESTABLISHING HIMSELF AT RUNNING BACK. Until Bonnafon threw a fourth-quarter TD pass to Gerald Christian, Radcliff was the only Cardinal who had scored a touchdown since the FIU game, four straight.

He's a powerful runner. His legs never stop churning. He doesn't go down on first contact. And he has speed enough to make something happen if he gets a step. Plus, he caught a big screen pass on Friday.

Radcliff ran for 110 yards on 23 carries, including two touchdowns.

"The first time you get hit, you can't go down," Radcliff said. "That's what you take pride in as a running back."

Again, the U of L offense looked its best when its focus was running the ball -- especially in two-back sets, but even with a single running back in the backfield, if Petrino is a "feed the studs guy," the studs in this program right now are its running backs.

2). THE CARDINAL DEFENSE CONTINUES ITS DOMINATION. Louisville came into the game ranked No. 1 in the nation against the run, but hadn't faced an offense that ranked higher than 69th against the run. Syracuse ranked No. 25 nationally in rushing, but managed just 74 yards on 24 carries.

More than that, the Cardinal defense came up with big plays. GGerodHolliman snagged his FBS-leading seventh interception of the season, and has six of them in the past four games. James Sample also picked up an interception. And the Cardinals forced their first safety of the season. Then forced another one in the fourth quarter.

"I told Gerod I thought somebody was paying him (to throw him interception opportunities), so it was good for me to get another one," Sample said.

Of some concern is a fourth-quarter ankle injury to leading tackler Keith Kelsey, who has been fantastic this season.

3). OFFENSIVE LINE A CONCERN, BUT BONNAFON MAKES STRIDES. Clemson is going to pose a ton of problems for the Cardinals up front. But their freshman quarterback continues to look more comfortable. He hit a 45-yard completion to Matt Milton in the third quarter, and his ball to Christian in the end zone was on the money.

For the game, he completed 12 of 22 passes for 174 yards and one TD with one interception.

"After I threw the interception early, I just needed to calm down and see the defense," he said. "I was coming to the line and just basically focusing on one guy. The coaches just told me to calm down and see the defense."

EXTRA POINT: Kicker John Wallace pounded through a 51-yard field goal in the first half, the sixth-longest in school history.

NEXT UP: Louisville has a few extra days to get ready for a trip to Clemson on Oct. 11. The Tigers play a home game against North Carolina State Saturday. Petrino is 30-10 when he has more than seven days to prepare for an opponent.

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