In 2007 UConn beat Louisville and then first year coach Steve Kragthorpe 21-17 (it was the Huskies first ever win over the Cards). In 2008 Louisville would lose to UConn again, this time 26-21. Move forward to this afternoon when UConn won their third straight game over the Cards 35-24. You can see Louisville’s program fade over time as the margin of defeats against UConn get larger and larger.
Connecticut is the second team this season to beat the Cards for a third straight game, the other being rival Kentucky.
Louisville all season have been shooting themselves in the foot with turnovers and this game was no different. Louisville’s first possession resulted in a turnover. The first of many to come.
Connecticut’s Sophomore quarterback Cody Endres would then complete a 22 yard and 14 yard passes, along with a couple of solid runs by the beast that is Andre Dixon. Before you know it Louisville is behind 7-0.
That would be the only mistake Adam “Abe” Froman would make for a while though. Froman would go on to complete 16 straight passes, showing better then above average accuracy and doing a good job of deciding when it was best to run rather then force a pass. Froman led the Cards down the field in two out of three possessions for touchdowns before the half but a missed extra point had the Cards still trailing 14-13 at the half.
Louisville would start the second half like they ended the first. In four plays the Cards had moved 42 yards up the field and were looking like they were on the move for a touchdown when…you guessed it. TURNOVER! Fumble to be exact. After a bruising 2 yard run Bilal Powell would let go of the ball, only to be recovered by the Huskies.
Powell had been playing well. Before the fumble Powell had 19 carries for 49 yards and 2 touchdowns. 19 carries at the 14 minute mark of the third quarter? Anyone want to tell me the last time Bilal Powell ever had 19 carries in an entire game? Anyone? Anyone? Give up? Never, in fact the most carries Powell has had in a game this year was 15 (vs Indiana State), which was also his career high. Not defending Powell’s fumble or make excuses for him but it was becoming clear Powell was wearing down.
Much like after the Cards first turnover Connecticut would look down field with their very next play. As usual Louisville was un-prepared for it. Allowing Endres to hit Brad Kanuch for a 27 yard gain. Four plays later touchdown Huskies and a 21-13 lead.
Louisville’s next drive was deja’ vu (and not the cool one you go to with singles) for the Card fans. Three nice passes by Froman and a 20 yard run by Powell put the Cards at UConn’s 14 yard line. But on the 7th play of a 81 yard drive, coach Kragthorpe would call for Powell’s 22nd carry of the game. It would have the same result of his 19th though…fumble, UConn ball.
Huskies would run up the middle a couple of time for 11 yards and on 1st and 10, Endres would connect with Marcus Easley for a 46 yard completion. Louisville would bend but not break and hold Connecticut to just 3 points but were still facing a 11 point deficit late in the 3rd quarter.
Not to bad, right? Cards have been moving the ball well, just can’t hold on to it. An 11 point margin isn’t unthinkable, right? I mean it’s not like the Cards are going to turn it over a third straight possession, right? Wrong!!
After Powell’s impressive (sarcasm) four yard loss, “Abe” Froman would end his 16 straight completion string ( Dave Ragone holds the record with 18 straight ) with a floater over the middle and his second INT of the game.Four plays and an impressive 32 yard Andre Dixon run (not sarcasm) later, touchdown Huskies. Game, set, and match.
Louisville would put together a 12 play 72 yard drive to cut the score to 31-19 (would have been 20 but Payne missed his second extra point of the game). The Cards would score the touchdown on a 4th and goal in which Kragthorpe went with his signature option play call. I think every team in the country should know by now that Kragthorpe call an option run on every 4th down. Well I guess everyone but UConn.
UConn would march down the field with ease on ther next possession to extend the lead to 38-19. A late Cards TD would make the game look closer, and help out the people who bet the Cards (+13) but that was all it was good for.
So here we sit Cardinal fans. Looking at having to win 4 out of the last 6 games to even have a prayer to be bowl eligible. Louisville and coach Kragthorpe have now lost 9 out of 10 to FBS schools, So winning 4 of the next 6 could happen, right?