ESPN college football analyst names Louisville as a team on the rise
Louisville is entering a pivotal season under coach Scott Satterfield.
This Satterfield’s 4th season at the helm and so far he’s managed to win just 8 games just once. The Cardinals went 6-7 last season — but there were opportunities to win multiple other games.
ESPN’s Greg McElroy spoke about Louisville’s potential as a team on the rise in 2022. He listed several reasons why he’s bullish on the Cardinals. First among them? Louisville’s emphasis on closing out games after struggling in that department last season.
“There were so many games last year when Louisville had the ball on their racket, but faltered in the crucial moment,” McElroy said on Always College Football on Monday. “The collapse against Virginia would keep me up at night. The goal line stand against Clemson and the inability to stay competitive in the 4th quarter against NC State.
“The staff has made everything this year about finishing in the 4th quarter. They’ve emphasized the way they finish practice and that’s at a heightened level of intensity.”
Another reason for the Cardinals’ rise? The return of quarterback Malik Cunningham, who is a dark horse candidate for the Hesiman Trophy.
“Malik Cunningham is one of the most underappreciated quarterbacks in college football,” McElroy added. “I think he’s so underrated. He’s got unbelievable, god-given gifts.
Last season, Cunningham threw for 2,941 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,031 yards and 20 more scores on the ground. It was his first 1,000-yard rushing season of his career.
McElroy did question the Cardinals’ wide receiver room, but highlighted some key newcomers who should be ready to take the next step.
Tyler Hudson and Dee Wiggins both arrived via the transfer portal. Additionally, Louisville returns Ahmari Bruce-Huggins, who had 444 yards as a freshman last season. The Cardinals also have perhaps the best tight end in the ACC returning in Marshon Ford.
Lastly, McElroy emphasized the importance of Louisville’s strong defensive line.
“The biggest transfer that they brought in, I think, is the nose tackle [Jermayne Lole],” he added. “I think he is a real difference-maker in the middle of the defense … He should secure the middle of that defense and be able to provide a little bit of a boost to that spot.
Elsewhere on the defensive line, McElroy also noted Ashton Gillotte. He had 8 tackles for loss as a true freshman last season. Louisville also returns senior pass rusher Yasir Abdullah.
The Cardinals open the 2022 season with Syracuse on Sept. 3.