BOZICH | Eight takeaways from Louisville's thunderous, 41-17, wi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Eight takeaways from Louisville's thunderous, 41-17, win over Syracuse

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Louisville improved to 5-4 by thumping Syracuse Saturday. Louisville improved to 5-4 by thumping Syracuse Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Trust the schedule. It often dictates the surges and setbacks of the college football season. The University of Louisville continued its feast on the underbelly of the Cards’ schedule Saturday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Louisville overwhelmed struggling Syracuse, 41-17, for the Cards’ third consecutive victory, all against teams with losing records. The victory bumped Louisville’s record to 5-4 overall and 4-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Bobby Petrino’s team remains in third place in the ACC Atlantic Division.

The Cards won without their top two quarterbacks. Lamar Jackson (ankle) and Reggie Bonnafon (concussion) missed the game with injuries. Kyle Bolin threw three touchdown passes, and the U of L defense contributed three turnovers.

EIGHT TAKEAWAYS

GOT THE JOB DONE: The Louisville offense. The Cards passed and ran effectively against the Orange, rolling to 579 yards. It was 17 yards more than their highest total this season, which came against Samford, an FCS program. The offense generated more than 200 yards passing and rushing.

Bolin, in only his second start this season, ran the passing attack with poise and perfection, spreading his 24 completions to eight receivers. Bolin threw two TD passes to Cole Hikutini and another to Keith Towbridge.

But the Cards also ran the ball better than they have in at least a month, rolling to 217 yards.

DIDN’T GET THE JOB DONE: Have to give this one to the crowd. Although the attendance was announced at 46,158, there were jumbo pockets of empty seats in every section, especially in the second half, when the place was about half full.

The announced crowd was the second smallest this season and second straight of less than 50,000.

At least the student section delivered some highlights. Video of a first-half fight in the student area went viral early in the afternoon. A flurry of punches were exchange, and it appeared to be two Louisville fans squaring off.

TURNING POINT: U of L corner back Trumaine Washington changed the momentum in the second quarter when he intercepted a misguided pass thrown by Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey at the Orange 39 and streaked down the sideline for a touchdown.

Great anticipation, timing and speed by Washington, who was untouched as he raced for the score that put Louisville ahead 14-10 with 5:42 left before halftime. The Cards added another score about four minutes later and took a 21-10 lead after the first 30 minutes. No more suspense the rest of the afternoon.

It was Louisville’s 14th interception this season and second defensive touchdown. Sheldon Rankins ran 46 yards with a fumble against Boston College. The Cards added another interception by Trevon Young in the fourth quarter.

SURPRISE! SURPRISE! There was a Brandon Radcliff sighting. After sitting the entire Wake Forest game and the first quarter against Syracuse, Radcliff earned his opportunity following a fumble by Jeremy Smith near the goal line.

Radcliff delivered, flashing to 117 yards on 10 carries. It was the first 100-yard rushing performance by a Louisville halfback this season. Radcliff broke off one run of 46 yards.

WDRB STAR OF THE GAME: With Jackson and Bonnafon out, Bolin earned his second start this season and third of his career. He threw an interception in the first quarter while staring down a receiver, but he was solid after that.

Credit Bolin with completing 24 of 35 passes for 365 yards and three scores. The completion and yardage totals were season highs for Louisville this season. Bolin looked comfortable reading the Syracuse defense and finding soft spot in the secondary, where the Orange started three sophomores and a freshman.

STAT OF THE DAY: 61 – and no asterisk on this one. Louisville kicker John Wallace kicked his way into the Louisville record book with a 19-yard field goal in the final minute of the third quarter.

Mark it down as the 61st field goal of Wallace’s career, one more than Art Carmody, who, coincidentally, had a seat in the press box as a scout for the Independence Bowl. Carmody kicked for the Cards from 2003-06.

While you’re at it, bump Wallace’s total to 62. He added a 26-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

WHAT WE LEARNED: It is just one game, but the Louisville offense looks more like a Bobby Petrino offense when Bolin is running it. The passing game has more juice because Bolin throws a more accurate ball.

But the running game also looks more consistent, perhaps because the opposing linebackers have to respect the passing game. The offense had balance as well as a positive vibe. There were few plays for negative yardage.

Will Bolin remain the starter next week if Jackson is healthy? Stay tuned.

UP NEXT: One home game remains for the Cards – a visit by Virginia Saturday. The Cavaliers started the weekend 3-5 and played at Miami at 3 p.m. In ACC play, the Cavaliers have beaten Syracuse and Georgia Tech, while losing to Pittsburgh and North Carolina. Virginia defeated U of L, 23-21, in Charlottesville last season.

That game will also begin at 12:30 p.m. Louisville will finish the season with trips to Pittsburgh and Kentucky.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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