By Rick Bozich
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The last time the University of Louisville football team started a season 2-4 was 2015. But that 2-4 didn’t feel like this 2-4.
That 2-4 featured losses to three Top 10 teams (Auburn, Clemson, Florida State) as well a loss to another team (Houston) that played its way into the Top 25 rankings by the seventh week of the season.
In 2015, Bobby Petrino’s 2-4 team finished 8-5. The Cardinals were outscored by 33 points in those four defeats. This Louisville team, the one that will play to keep its season alive Saturday at Boston College, has been outscored by 100 points in its four defeats.
The last Louisville football team that had a point differential of 100 or more points in its first four defeats was coached by Howard Schnellenberger in 1987, the team that lost to Southern Mississippi, 65-6, with a writer from Sports Illustrated in town to check on the upgrade Schnellenberger had promised to Cardinal football.
That Louisville team finished 3-7-1.
This Louisville team will try to stop its current slide at three games Saturday in Chestnut Hill, Mass., as a 13 1/2 point underdog.
The midway point of this season is a perfect point to check the numbers on this Louisville.
Five offensive statistics. Five defensive statistics.
How do they compare to the numbers the Cardinals have posted over the last 10 seasons?
RUSHING YARDS PER GAME
Best season: 245.1 in 2017. Take another bow Lamar Jackson.
Worst season: 121.5 in 2011. Cards led in rushing by Victor Anderson.
2018 season: 118.8. Cards’ leading halfback is Trey Smith with 137 yards in five games. There’s work to do.
PASSING YARDS PER GAME
Best season: 314 in 2013. Take another bow Teddy Bridgewater. Take a couple.
Worst season: 194 in 2010. Year Two of Adam Froman.
2018 season: 221.3. Cards rank 80th in the nation and averaging more yards per game than they did from 2008-2011.
PASSING COMPLETION PERCENTAGE
Best season: 70.8 in 2013. Teddy Bridgewater did some nice things.
Worst season: 55.4 in 2014. Will Gardner, Reggie Bonnafon and Kyle Bolin all failed to complete 60 percent of their throws.
2018 season: 55.8, which ranks 98th nationally.
TOTAL YARDS PER GAME
Best season: 544.9 in 2017. Back to Lamar Mania.
Worst season: 333.0 in 2011.
2018 season: 340.2, which ranks 115th in the nation.
Best season: 42.5 in 2016. Lamar Jackson. Excellent at finding the end zone. Nice player. Whatever happened to him?
Worst season: 18.1 in 2011.
2018 season: 20.5 which ranks 121st in the nation
RUSHING YARDS PER GAME ALLOWED
Best season: 80.7 in 2013. Nothing made Charlie Strong howl more than stopping the run. His teams stopped it.
Worst season: 165.1 in 2009.
2018 season: 231.0. This is a problem. Not only does this group rank 118th in the nation, it is Louisville’s worst performance against the run since 1998.
PASSING YARDS PER GAME ALLOWED
Best season: 170.8, 2013. Charlie Strong had a really good defense that season.
Worst season: 239.3. Steve Kragthorpe did not have a really good defense that season.
2018 season: 182.8, ranked 27th in the nation, but remember Georgia Tech only threw two passes last Friday.
OPPONENTS PASSING COMPLETION PERCENTAGE
Best season: 50.7 percent, 2013. No surprise.
Worst season: 64.6 in 2009.
2018 season: 60.3, ranked 79th in the nation.
TOTAL YARDS PER GAME ALLOWED
Best season: 251.5 in 2013. How did that team lose a game?
Worst season: 388.1. One reason Peter Sirmon is working at California.
2018 season: 413.8, 93rd nationally is not where you want to rank. And not as stout as last season.
Best season: 12.2 in 2013.
Worst season: 29.8 in 2008
2018 season: 32.7 — putting Cards on track to allow their most points per game since John L. Smith’s team allowed 35.2 in 1998.
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