Teams & Conferences

Louisville 24, Duke 14: What Does It All Mean?

Louisville beat Duke 24-14 in a game that turned out to be too much of a fight. What does it all mean?

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Louisville 24, Duke 14: What Does It All Mean?

You get one of these, Louisville, but that’s it.

At the end of the day, the stat services will show Louisville won a game by double digits to start out the year 5-1 – that’s it. However, the CFP members might have noticed something different when it came to how sluggish the Cardinals looked at home against a mediocre Duke team.

Considering the spotlight is on with two weeks to prepare, a leading candidate for the Heisman, and the burden of needing to look special to potentially become CFP-worthy at 11-1, outside of a few fun plays – like the 80-yard Jeremy Smith touchdown run – this was a dud.

There’s still the road game at Houston, and NC State and Wake Forest are interesting, but the big-ticket games against Florida State and Clemson are over. To make a splash, the Cardinals need to be the Cardinals that ripped up everything in their path over the first four-and-a-half games, only having the big issue against the Tigers two weeks ago.

C’mon, Louisville. Make us want to go to bat for you as one of the four best teams in college football.

Yeah, the season stats are a bit goofy with wins over Charlotte, Syracuse and Marshall, but the Cardinals blew up Florida State, too. Now it has to spend the second half of the season playing as well as it did in the first half.

Lamar Jackson was terrific, even though he only completed half his passes. He threw for 181 yards and a score, and he ran for 144 yards and a touchdown, but the Blue Devils did a magical job of playing stall ball, keeping the Cardinals in check by holding on to the ball for over 37 minutes despite gaining just 239 yards.

Louisville never found its groove, but again, it won a game by double digits on a day when things didn’t work quite right.

It’s a win. Louisville is 6-1. But against NC State next week, it’s going to take more than that to be in the four-best-team discussion again.