LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There was some football history made for Louisville in Friday's 46-27 loss at Georgia Tech, just not the kind of history you want to make.
It was the largest margin of defeat in program history after taking a lead into the fourth quarter.
After the game, second-year Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said his team's turnovers were the difference, and stressed the need now for his players to stay together and fight through the struggles that have led to a 1-3 start.
A transcript of his comments follows, with questions paraphrased:
OPENING STATEMENT: They did a really good job particularly in causing turnovers. We had four fumbles, lost three of them. They did an excellent job of stripping the football. We've obviously got to do a better job of hanging onto the ball. That resulted in 19 points. I think it's one of the things you've got to get better at. We had the lead at 21-6 and a huge play in the game when they hit a screen right before the half and got the ball down the field and scored a couple of plays later. I thought that was a huge point in the game. Then they get the ball back after halftime.
We didn't do enough things in the second half to really slow them down. They did a good job moving the football. But I think it really came back down to turnovers. We get a good kickoff return and we fumble. We're driving the ball and we fumble the ball past midfield, and we fumble. And those take away opportunities. I thought we could move the ball on these guys, and we did. We rushed for two hundred and something yards and threw the ball pretty well and protected pretty well. But it takes away from it when you turn over the ball, and we can't keep drives moving. That's basically the difference in the game. We've got to do a better job of hanging onto the ball, and these guys (Georgia Tech) have been turning it over, and we didn't turn them over.
Q: What about the defense, what were the issues there? Looked like a lot of missed tackles.
SATTERFIELD: A lot of missed tackles. To sum it up in two words, missed tackles. No. 21 (Jahmyr Gibbs) is a really good back, and he's run the ball hard against everybody he's played, but that's no excuse for us. We've got to do a better job tackling. We're not a very good tackling football team. And I think it's been that way for 3-4 years probably. We've got to do something about it. We've got to get better at it. And I think for us, we work on it. But we've got to continue to work on it. We've got to get stronger. We've got to get around the legs and get guys down. We've got to take better angles. It's all those things, continuing to work on tackling.
Q: Fumbles weren't a problem for Hassan Hall and Javian Hawkins last year. What do you see as the difference now?
SATTERFIELD: You know, I don't know. They have been putting the ball down a little more this year. Hassan had one, I think, against Western Kentucky, as well. But we've got to do a much better job of taking care of the football. I thought tonight Georgia Tech did a good job of, when we were down or going down, flipping the ball out, grabbing the ball and pulling it. And we've got to do a better job of that, obviously. Hassan tonight was laying on top of a defender and thought he was down, and they strip him on a kickoff return. But, last year we did a much better job, this year we've got to do better. We've got to do a much better job containing the ball.
Q: It's 20-0 in the fourth quarter. What was the mood on the sidelines as you guys were trying to get it together?
SATTERFIELD: Well, before they scored the last two touchdowns we had a chance. They score, we get the ball back, and we're driving to take the lead and we fumble, and they go down and are kind of milking clock, trying to take time off the clock and wind up scoring. And the last one we went for it on the minus 15 which you usually wouldn't do and they wind up scoring. But we were in it right there till the end. If we don't turn the ball over, we felt like we were going to go down and score and take the lead, and if we do it's a completely different ballgame in the last 4-5 minutes.
Q: This is a team that didn't expect to be 1-3. What was message to team in the locker room?
SATTERFIELD: You've got to take it one day at a time. You can't look at expectations. If we looked at expectations last year, we would have tanked it early. You can't look at expectations. You take it one week at a time and do the best you can. If things keep going tough like they are right now, then some people in this world jump ship. They quit and they give up. Just like life, is what I told them. It's like in a marriage, you and your partner are in a sticky situation, what are you going to do? Are you going to run from it, or are you going to fight for your marriage? It's the same situation. That's an analogy that we use. We've got to fight for our team and continue to bring it every single day. We play too many teams in this league, they're all good, they all can beat you. If you don't show up, you will get beat. You turn the ball over, you will get beat. It all starts in practice. How committed are you? So we'll see when we get back to practice Sunday?
Q: You put up near 30 points, but offense seemed to be stagnant at times, especially in the fourth quarter. What do you see as the reason for that?
SATTERFIELD: Well, we ran for 242 yards, pass for 230. If we don't fumble the football we're going to go down and take the lead. We moved the ball pretty good tonight. Obviously you want to score every drive, and that's probably not going to happen. We obviously needed more points. But we needed stops too. It goes both ways. If you get stops you get the ball back. You turn them over, you get the ball back. We gave them the ball three times, three extra possessions. And they capitalized. They got 19 points on us. There's a lot of things involved in a football game with how you win, and we didn't do the things necessary to make that happen
Q: Was anything surprising from Georgia Tech that you didn't see on film?
SATTERFIELD: I don't think so. I think 21 (Gibbs) is a good player. 10 (quarterback Jeff Sims) can run and throw. He's a good player as well. But I think defensively, they were opportunistic to force those turnovers. Again, we were able to move the football and score some points. Obviously we didn't score enough. But you talk about being physical, I think the turnovers were more them doing a good job of stripping the ball. I wouldn't necessarily call that being physical, but it was smart and aggressive. I think they were more aggressive in that manner.
Q: You had a change in punter tonight. What was your assessment?
SATTERFIELD: I thought Ryan (Harwell) did well tonight. In the first half he pinned them back with two punts inside the 5. We punted the ball well, 39.5 average and only punted 4 times. I thought he did well. Obviously that's a spot we need to get better, punting the football, and we wanted to give him a shot and see what he could do, and we'll continue to look at that and evaluate that in the next week.
Q: What were your thoughts on how the offensive line played today?
SATTERFIELD: I thought we did well. Prior to the last drive there where they know what we're doing. I thought the guys played well. We ran the ball well. Hawkins had 155 yards rushing, which is a good night for him. They protected Malik, for the most part., pretty good, right there till the end. So they bounced back. I thought they played poorly in the game against Pitt but I thought they bounced back in this game and played a lot better.
Q: Marshon Ford's night is overshadowed a bit by the loss, but what did you think about his play?
SATTERFIELD: Yeah, he's a great target for us. We all know that he can catch, has good hands and can run after the catch. He came up big tonight, had some big plays in the passing game. We expect that out of him. We expect him to do that. We'd like to get the ball to Des Fitzpatrick more, and there were a couple of times we had opportunities there, just didn't capitalize on as many as we'd like. But overall, we made some plays down the field. Obviously, we didn't make enough. We need to make more. We've got to get back to work. We've got a tough matchup next week against Notre Dame, but we've got to get better ourselves. No matter who we play, we've got to get better as a football team.
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