Facing an elusive, highly-recruited quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater UC adjusted slowly. Backed by the innovative play-calling from newly assigned Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson, Teddy Ballgame pushed UL into Bearcat territory on the first two possessions.
Cincinnati scrambled around the field covering electric athletes like Dominique Brown and Eli Rogers. That UC held Louisville to field goals on both first quarter drives speaks promisingly about their formerly woebegone defense.
"Forcing them to kick field goals instead of letting them in the endzone is absolutely huge," said LB J.K. Schaffer.
Louisville led 6-0 early and 16-7 at the break. After giving up 28.0 ppg a season ago the Bearcat defenders disallowed a single second half point today.
Louisville managed zero offensive touchdowns. In all the Cardinals only trudged 110 yards after the break. Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead gobbled up half of that in one play.
Capitalizing on the fourth stellar starting position of the half Pead blasted up the belly for 50 yards. Touchdown Cats.
"The play was blocked for about eight or nine yards," said Coach Jones. "The offensive line did a great job. The safety came down and Isaiah did a great job on the jump cut to make him miss."
The decisive score gave them a 22-16 lead.
"Isaiah is a special player," said Coach Jones. "They did a great job of containing him but when you have a great player like him you can only contain him for so long. I thought offensively our offensive line got stronger as the game went on."
Pead finished the game with 151 yards and a touchdown bumping him to 2653 yards All-Time.
Yellow flag parade
In addition to a weary offensive line Louisville battled self-inflicted wounds all half. Five second half penalties ruined a couple of drives. Actually UL opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back false starts. Without any hair left to pull out the clean-shaven Charlie Strong simply grimaced.
"You look at the first half we only had one penalty and then in the second half it kind of changed the momentum of the game," said Louisville Head Coach Charlie Strong.
Coach Strong cited the penalties a culprit in the loss.
"I thought the key momentum switch was the second half where they had about three or four penalties in a row," said Coach Jones. "And the crowd started really getting loud and it was deafening."
Coach Jones was pleased with the attending fans but disappointed in the turnout overall.
"We need to get more people here to support this football team," said Coach Jones. "The people that came out were electric and we fed off of it."
Starting on the right foot
After starting right tackle Sean Hooey injured his right foot in practice Tuesday redshirt freshmen Eric Lefeld took over. Though Lefeld has played several games in 2011 Saturday marked his first career start.
"Here is a kid that came here as a defensive lineman," said Coach Jones. "We moved him to offensive tackle."
Coach Jones switched him over the second week of Fall Camp 2010. The ensuing ascendance has been rapid.
"He was making his first career start against a very good defense," said Coach Jones. "He got thrown into the fire a little bit. I think that first penalty was a little nerves. We had to settle him down before the game. I will watch the film but I thought he did some good things and he has a bright future being a redshirt freshman."
Lefeld could start again next week as Hooey attempts to recover.
Cincinnati improves to 5-1 overall surpassing their win total from 2010 midway through October.
"We are a different team," said Schaffer. "We are a mature team. We are a player-driven team and coach-driven."
Coach Jones was equally proud following the victory.
"I think that defines what we are," said Coach Jones. "It was a character win."