A once and sometimes still proud fan base for the Hurricanes went home with their tails between their legs after the beat down that Teddy Bridgewater and the U of Louisville Cardinals put on them on Saturday night in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
The Canes were out schemed, out muscled, outplayed and out coached through four quarters of football not worthy of the “U” emblazoned on their Storm Trooper style uniforms.
There was a little sign of what could have been in the first quarter. The Canes were building a good drive until it stalled on the Cards 40 yard line after an incomplete pass by Morris to Allen Hurns. A punt ensued that cornered Louisville on their 2 yard line.
The Canes would smell blood in the water and would attack. On the second play from the 4 yard line, safety Deon Bush rushed Teddy Bridgewater and recorded a safety. 2-0 Canes. That would be the last time the Canes would score until 10:23 left in the 4th quarter with the game in hand for the Cardinals.
Final score- Cards 36 Canes 9.
The buzz leading into this game was as manufactured as the studio laughter and applause used on some of those late 70’s-early 80’s sitcoms. The Canes had lost 3 of their last 4 games. They lost Duke Johnson. They had lost Andre Waters for this game. And somewhere after November 2, they either forgot how to play defense the way they were playing it through the first 7 games of the season or they just simply got exposed.
There are so many questions left about this defense (and offense), the coaches and the players alike. And with players leaving and even younger players coming in one can only speculate as to how that unit will respond in 2014.
But for now, the Canes will have to go into the off season with the sour taste of being beaten by a quarterback who once coveted the program and was set to join them until he had a Strong change of heart. Bridgewater and the 24 other Miami area players on that team did a lot of talking on Saturday night (kind of like how the old Canes used to). And they backed it up.
The Cards played with, dare I say…swagger! Something the “U” was credited with inventing. The boys from Miami who play in Kentucky weren’t going to let the hometown team show them up on that evening.
So now instead of celebrating a win over a quality opponent in Louisville, Coach Al Golden and the Canes must now look themselves in the mirror and re group for next year. Scrambling to lock down recruits and maybe even hire a few coaches here and there are all in the mix over the next few months.
If the Hurricanes truly wish to be among the country’s elite, they must once again go back to drawing board.