Louisville Cardinals College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Louisville Cardinals Biggest Key: Offense
STOP TURNING THE BALL OVER. The offense was solid last year and should be even stronger this season, but turnovers were a killer seemingly every time out.
The 2019 Cardinals turned it over 19 times on the season with two or more in five games going 1-4. Last year UofL gave it up 24 times with two or more turnovers in eight of the 11 games. Worse yet, there were three turnovers in seven of those games.
They went 1-6 when giving it away three times.
QB Malik Cunningham was the biggest offender with 12 interceptions to go along with three fumbles, but he wasn’t alone. Be just a wee bit better than -12 in turnover margin and the season should be far better.
Louisville Cardinals Biggest Key: Defense
More of a pass rusher has to come from the line. The linebackers did almost all of the sack work last season, and that wasn’t enough with just 21 total for the D averaging a pedestrian two per game.
It was a problem in 2019, too, but give the coaching staff credit for improving a horrible situation – the Cardinals generated just 11 sacks in 2018.
Even with the lack of big pressure, the secondary was able to hold up well – it was the best in the ACC in passing yards allowed – but the defense could use more third down stops and it would be nice to make quarterbacks uncomfortable.
Louisville Cardinals Key Player To A Successful Season
WR Jordan Watkins, RFr.
The Cardinals have good wide receiver options in Braden Smith and Justin Marshall who’ll get bigger roles, and bringing in a few new players from the transfer portal and recruiting class should help, but you don’t get better by losing Dez Fitzpatrick and Tutu Atwell to the NFL.
The Cardinal wide receivers caught ten touchdown passes, and Fitzpatrick and Atwell had all of them.
Watkins got in a little work in his first year, catching eight passes for 57 yards, but he’s a speedster who needs to become the new star of the show.
Louisville Cardinals Key Game To The 2021 Season
at Florida State, Sept. 25
The Cardinals haven’t been all that bad against Florida State lately wining three of the last five. They lost 11 of 12 before that going back to 1970, but all that matters is pulling off the ACC opener on the road to take the pressure off early on.
It was a 48-16 win last year in what might have been Louisville’s strongest performance of the season. This time around it’ll be a big moment for the Seminoles as they try turning the program around. For the Cardinals, though, it might be a must-win moment after getting Ole Miss and UCF in the first three games.
2020 Louisville Cardinals Fun Stats
– Fumbles: Louisville 18 (lost 12) – Opponents 13 (lost 7)
– Time of Possession: Louisville 31:30 – Opponents 28:30
– Punt Return Average: Opponents 11.2 – Louisville 3.1