What 72-0 shows about Panthers football

When the final statistics sheet of the pounding that the University of Louisville Cardinals gave the Panthers was released, it is easy to see that the team’s bye week was much needed.

The score, the worst showing in university history, passed the previous mark of 59 in losses to the University of Florida in 2009 and Penn State University in 2007. As you go down the stat sheet however, things look terrible for Head Coach Ron Turner’s first season and game against a top-10 team.

The offense had a total of 30 yards–the lowest in school history by 35 yards–included three rushing yards and 27 passing yards. Those 30 yards came on a total of 43 offensive plays for the Panthers which was a significantly less amount than the 56 plays that the Cardinals offense ran for 464 yards.

Some positives on the team from the game were the punts, for which punter Chris Ayers, who had nine of the team’s 11, boasted a large number in total yards between him and Austin Taylor, his backup. There were 355 yards from those punts with only 48 total return yards from the Cardinals. The other was that FIU was in charge of time of possession overall in the game. FIU had the ball for four minutes and 40 seconds more than the Cardinals did but there was no avail in that.

The Cardinals were in complete control of the statistics dominating in the sacks, with four for 33 yards, kickoff returns with one for 93 yards and a touchdown and the offensive yards with 210 yards on 29 carries with four touchdowns and 22 completions out of 27 attempts for 254 yards and five touchdowns.

Quarterback E.J. Hilliard, who made his first start of the 2013 campaign against his former high school teammate in Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, had a less than spectacular first start. Hilliard went four for nine in passing but ran for a total loss of 32 yards.

According to the University of Louisville athletic department website, Student Media learned that this was the largest margin of victory for the Cardinals since 2007 when they beat Murray State University 73-10 and the first shutout they’ve had since a 26-0 win over the University of Connecticut in the 2010 season.

“It was just a great overall performance in all three phases of the game,” Bridgewater said to the Cardinals Athletic Department on the game. “We just went out today and competed and played a complete game.”

Turner also commented on the Louisville game. Due to media availability Turner was unavailable for comment directly to Student Media.

“Nothing will surprise me with this team,” Turner said of Louisville. “They’re a great football team all the way around. There are no weak areas. They’re very well coached, they play hard and they have exceptional athletes.”

There was also an issue between Turner and an official, creating a situation for a running, no-stop clock in the second half after the Cardinals were already up 38-0.

Gerald Austin, coordinator of officials for Conference USA clarified the issue in a press release.

“Coach Turner made a comment to one of the officials that, given the amount of injuries and the limited numbers of players he had available, he wanted to run the ball in the second half.  One official misinterpreted that comment.  Coach Turner, at no time requested that the clock run.  FIU threw just one pass in the second half. After reviewing the tape there were five times that the clock should have been stopped and it did not. Four times were on first down and one play where the runner went out of bounds, based on a quick review of the video,” Austin said.

The winless Panthers, who are on bye week one out of two this week, face the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on Oct. 5 for their first game in C-USA play.

About the Author

Rhys Williams
: Sports Director, Class of 2016, Physical Education: Coaching (Major), Communication Arts (Minor), Sports Enthusiast with a Focus on Football and Track & Field.

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