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Three Up, Three Down: Louisville

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The most painful loss I've ever witnessed in person as a Wake Forest football fan was probably Friday night's 20-19 loss to the Louisville Cardinals. That said, there were positives to the game and I'd be remiss not to mention them.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

The Defense (Except For One Drive). We held the normally explosive Louisville offense to 317 yards, 5-18 on third down, and only two touchdowns.  Not to mention the defense forced a safety.  72 of those yards came on the drive I will mention later, as did one of the touchdowns.  That's a good defensive day 100 times out of 100.

Tabari Hines and Cortez Lewis. The two freshmen phenoms were responsible for Wake Forest's two touchdowns on the day, and both of them were on absolutely CRAZY plays.  Cortez caught a one handed beauty on the sideline from the arm of Kendall Hinton.  Cortez then proceeded to absolutely torch the defense and explode to the endzone.  Tabari Hines caught a longer bomb from John Wolford, and then proceeded to jump cut, juke another defender, and then proceeded to move laterally to be able to walk into the endzone.  The fact is that both of them are freshmen, and that kind of playmaking ability could really do a lot for the program going forward.

Containing Lamar Jackson. This is a defensive feat that I think is worthy of its own bullet point.  Louisville's freshman quarterback averages 4.3 yards a carry rushing.  Our defense held him to 2 net yards on 13 carries.  No, that's not a typo.  Amazing stuff by the defense.

The Downs

Five Turnovers, Two In The Red Zone. That's just...terrible.  Absolutely awful.  Especially in a one point home loss.  We were up 19-17 at the end of the first half, even after a late touchdown drive for the Cardinals, and the defense held Louisville to only the game winning field goal in the second half in terms of points.

The Defense at the End of the First Half. Four plays, 70+ yards, 30 seconds,  Just like that, a 19-10 lead turns into 19-17.  I don't want to dog the defense too badly because they were monstrous the rest of the game, but come on guys  If they had just held on just a little bit...well, I don't need to finish the rest of that sentence for anybody.

The Quarterback Situation. There's a much longer piece about this up right now, but the whole dual quarterback thing just isn't working.  In my opinion, Kendall Hinton should be the starter; I've made no bones about that fact, and I don't intend to start now.  John Wolford plays hard, plays tough, and is capable of doing great things on the field, but in my opinion, Kendall has earned the starting job.

The Bottom Line

We lost.  It sucked.  It was infuriating.  But dang it, the team played their hearts out, and other than the quarterback situation, I firmly believe the game was well-coached.  This season is pretty much a wash, but I had already felt that way going in.  Even though this is unbelievably painful in the short term, I still believe we're seeing growth and positive aspects for the long term.

On to the next.  Go Deacs.

--SF