CRAWFORD | Monday Morning Quarterback: Florida State hangover ed - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Monday Morning Quarterback: Florida State hangover edition

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ESPN GameDay set on Saturday inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. (WDRB photo by Mike DeZarn). ESPN GameDay set on Saturday inside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. (WDRB photo by Mike DeZarn).

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The world has changed, if you’re a University of Louisville football fan. You went to bed Friday night hoping for a big win against Florida State. You wake up Monday morning with a Top 3 team in college football and a brand name team in the nation. I heard several people this weekend talk about Louisville’s leap in terms of not being a “brand-name” program. Louisville has a brand. Right now, it’s Lamar Jackson U. And as brands go, that’s not a bad one. Read on . . .

RED 1: Counting the statistics in which Louisville ranks No. 1 nationally -- Total offense (679.3 yards per game), scoring offense (65 points per game), yards per play (9.39), rushing touchdowns (16), yards per rush (8.2 yards per carry), plays of at least 10 yards (72), plays of at least 20 yards (33), plays of at least 30 yards (8), sack yardage (118). As well, Jackson leads the nation in rushing touchdowns with 10, and in rushing yards by a quarterback (464), and Brandon Radcliff leads the nation in yards per carry at 10.98. And Evan O’Hara leads FBS in PAT kicking; he’s 26-for-26.

RED 3: Louisville’s new Associated Press Top 25 ranking, matching the highest in school history. The last time the Cards got to No. 3, in Nov. of 2006, they got there after beating West Virginia in a memorable Thursday night game in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. They lost at Rutgers the next weekend. The Cardinals were rated No. 4 in this week’s Amway Coaches Poll.

BLUE 1: The University of Kentucky offense may be starting to figure things out, particularly with the emergence of Stephen Johnson at quarterback. He’s got a big-play target in Jeff Badet, who leads the nation in yards per catch at 34.3 (he’s caught six passes). UK’s C.J. Conrad ranks 17th in the same category, averaging 23 yards per catch.

BLUE 49,669: Kentucky earned its first victory of the season over New Mexico State on Saturday, but it wasn’t easy. The crowd, announced at 49,669, was the smallest in coach Mark Stoops tenure, and doubtless smaller than the announced number. Stoops, after vowing to become more involved in the defense, saw his team give up 35 first-half points. They did give up only seven points in the second, however, and Johnson was a revelation at quarterback after starter Drew Barker was injured on the first series. He went 17 of 22 for 310 yards passing and added 31 yards on the ground. His ability to run brought the running game to the fore of the offensive attack -- which is exactly where it belongs. True freshman Benjamin Snell Jr. ran for 136 yards and tied a school record with 4 touchdowns. Boom Williams ran for 181 yards on 18 carries.

RED 8: Check out Louisville native and PRP product Taywan Talyor at Western Kentucky, tied for No. 8 nationally in all-purpose long plays, which include all returns of any kind, as well as rushing and receiving. Taylor has been in on five plays of better than 30 yards, four of better than 40 yards, and one of better than 50, 60 and 70 yards. Also tied for No. 8 -- Lamar Jackson at Louisville. Taylor caught a 38-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter to become WKU’s all-time leading receiver with 172 career catches. He already holds about every other receiving record at the school.

“It’s kind of overwhelming,” Taylor told The Bowling Green Daily News. “... It’s just a testament to how hard I’ve worked for four years. I don’t want to get complacent. I look to capitalize on that, keep pushing and keep going forward, keep doing great things.”

HIKE, HIKE: The hype on the U of L football program. We’ve seen this kind of thing with basketball, but football is a different thing altogether. Lamar Jackson is not being disputed as the No. 1 Heisman Trophy contender. The Cardinals got SIX first place votes in the latest AP poll -- the first they’ve received in their history in the regular season, and second only to Alabama in this week’s poll. Everybody understands that it can go away quickly. A single loss in college football and you’re shuffled back into the bin with all the other non-undefeated teams.

Most are like Edward Barnes (@barnes_ed) who Tweeted me Monday morning: “I swear I’m tryin’ to ‘pump the brakes’ on U of L, but my foot keeps slippin off the pedal!”

FIRST and TEN: It’s a big weekend in Bowling Green, as WKU welcomes an SEC opponent to Houchens Industries–L. T. Smith Stadium for the first time. Vanderbilt comes to town for a 4:30 p.m. Eastern time game against the Hilltoppers, who beat the Commodores 14-12 last season in Nashville. WKU opened as a 5.5-point favorite in that game, and has moved to a 7-point favorite over the past 24 hours. WKU is hoping to break an attendance record for the game and has introduced a #SelloutVandy hashtag. As of this morning, the school website showed that 4,411 tickets still remain.

SECOND and 10: Louisville’s game against Florida State was the second-highest rating national TV game of the day on Saturday, according to Nielsen. It drew a 4.5 national overnight, beating Michigan-Notre Dame (3.2), but falling short of Alabama-Ole Miss (5.4), ESPN announced that its live stream of the game was one of the five most-streamed regular-season games ever on its service, with 679,000 unique viewers and an average minimum audience of 158,000. The game drew a 28.8 rating and 50 share locally -- which means that half the TVs in use in Louisville at the time were tuned to that game. ESPN’s College GameDay, which originated from Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, drew an 8.8 rating, 18 share in the Louisville market.

THIRD and LONG: Louisville became the first team in ACC history to top the 60-point mark in three consecutive games with Saturday’s win. It’s also the first time in school history the Cardinals have done that.

FOURTH and ONE: Saturday was Louisville’s fourth crack at playing a team ranked No. 2 in the AP poll. It was 0-3 in those games coming in. It also is 0-3 against No. 1 teams in the poll. So Florida State, which was ranked No. 2, is the highest-ranked team Louisville has ever beaten. The 43-point margin also was its largest ever against a ranked opponent, according to Louisville stats guru Kelly Dickey (@RealCardGame). The previous record was a 27-point margin over No. 25 Alabama in the Fiesta Bowl in January of 1991.

WATCH FOR THE ONSIDE KICK! You folks remember the Charlotte 49ers, Louisville’s opening week opponent, of course. On Saturday at Eastern Michigan, they managed to pile up three personal foul penalties on the same play, which meant that EMU wound up kicking off from the Charlotte 20! Not sure I’ve ever seen anything like what you can see here in the photo. EMU, of course, went for the onside, what did it have to lose? Charlotte recovered, but lost the game, 37-19.

BUT HE’S HOLDING THE BALL! Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns suffered a 50-43 loss at Cal that did not come without controversy. With Cal trying to run out the clock late and Texas hoping to get it back for a game-tying touchdown, Cal running back Vic Enwere gashed the Texas line and broke loose. But before he got to the end zone, he celebrated early and dropped the ball. While Cal was celebrating, a Texas player picked up the ball and stood in the end zone. Officials, however, ruled that because there was “no immediate recovery” of the ball, it was dead and Cal would get the ball at the one-yard line. Photos show the Texas player holding the ball as Cal celebrated, but the call had been made. The result of the Texas loss? The Big 12 has no team ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll for the first time in conference history.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Parents, don’t let your kids celebrate before crossing the goal line. Louisville’s Lamar Jackson has, a time or two, taken to placing the ball on the ground immediately after crossing the goal line. Another helpful mnemonic device is handing the ball to an official -- but, and this is very important -- only once you are sure that you’re standing in the end zone. There have been four instances of early celebration in the first three weeks of this season alone.

GAMEDAY, PART 2: There won’t be an announcement until the weekend, but there’s every reason to believe that the Cardinals will play their second ESPN College GameDay game in three weeks when they visit Clemson a week from Saturday. Clemson has to take care of business on Thursday night, however, at Georgia Tech, where they haven’t won since 2003, and have lost five straight games. The Tigers are ranked No. 5 in this week’s AP poll.

QUOTABLE: Louisville athletic director, Tom Jurich, after Louisville blew out Florida State, told me, “Just don’t forget. We were 1-10 and in last place in Conference USA. It’s been a long trip.”

NEW FAVORITE IN ACC: ESPN.com’s Andrea Adelson was in town for Saturday’s game against Florida State, and updating the new ESPN Football Power Index, notes that the Cardinals are now considered a favorite to win the league. Read her story here.

GAME BALLS: Jackson gets another, but we need to pass some out to the Louisville defense. James Hearns was fantastic, as was Devonte Fields. Jaire Alexander not only got things done at cornerback, but had two big punt returns, one 69 yards for a touchdown. At UK, hand one to Snell, who got a lot of the tough yards in the Wildcats’ first victory of the season and tied a school record with four rushing TDs.

MEME WORTHY: After losing to Louisville, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said, among other things, “They found the inches we didn't find.” It didn’t take WDRB’s own Rick Bozich long to latch onto that. In his postgame column, Bozich wrote, “Florida State was out-gained by 8,856 inches.” Orlando Sentinel Mike Bianchi got a kick out of that in the press box. My guess is it’ll come up on his radio show today:

PHOTO BOMB: Lee Corso said it was a tough decision, but he went with his head over his heart when picking Louisville, where he used to coach, over Florida State, his alma mater, on Saturday. Turned out to be the right choice. Note: Corso put on the Cardinal head, but he did do the Tomahawk Chop.

THE PICKS: Louisville by 40 at Marshall; WKU by 3 over Vanderbilt; Kentucky by 7 over South Carolina; Indiana by 10 over Wake Forest.

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