Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 17, 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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36 OCT. 17, 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED yards through three games this fall. His backup, junior Hassan Hall, is known as a return specialist, but still had 501 yards and five touchdowns on the ground in 2019. Amid the passing game inconsis- tency, junior Tutu Atwell remains a threat on every play. The 5-9 receiver has sprinter's speed and churns out yards after the catch. Last season, 54 of his 104 targets came on throws ei- ther behind the line of scrimmage or at least 20 yards downfield. He aver- aged 10.7 yards after the catch on his 70 receptions. Atwell caught 19 passes for 229 yards, both team highs, in Louis- ville's first three games. Senior Dez Fitzpatrick is a proven complement, with 1,954 career receiving yards and 19 touchdowns. Add all of those pieces up, and it's an offense that still presents the threat of big plays. It almost feels as if Louisville's offense is due to put to- gether four quarters of potent offense and, in turn, five or six touchdowns. Coordinator Dwayne Ledford could sense his team's hunger immediately following their humbling at Pitt. "You had a sense on the plane ride back from Pitt, you saw in some of the guys' reactions, their faces, wanting to get back to work," Ledford said. "They were wanting to watch film. We had some spirited practices with a lot of good energy. They were physi- cal. The guys strained really hard." The defense has seen some im- provement from 2019, and a lack thereof would have been a concern for a unit that returned eight starters. As each week passes, allowing 47 points to Miami seems to say more about the Hurricanes than the Cardinals. Louisville's yards allowed per play are down to 5.66 from 6.33 last year. The 2019 number ranked 110th na- tionally. Opponents are completing only 56 percent of their passes (17th nationally), and Louisville has inter- cepted or broken up 12 of the 91 pass attempts. The Cardinals are 23rd in the Football Bowl Subdivision with seven sacks, and seventh with 27 tackles for loss. Senior nose tackle Jared Goldwire is their highest-graded player, per Pro Football Focus, but senior middle linebacker Dorian Etheridge has been the most disruptive defender. He led the country with 8.5 tackles for loss, to go with a team-high 22 tackles and 2.0 sacks heading into the Georgia Tech contest. He may have seen it coming. "You have to take a risk to make those plays," Etheridge said before the season. "I am just focusing on becoming more of a playmaker." Etheridge and fellow seniors C.J. Avery (second on team with 18 tack- les) and Rodjay Burns (3.0 tackles for loss) form an experienced and pro- ductive linebacker trio, with redshirt junior Monty Montgomery (2.0 sacks) rotating in as well. Burns is a former Ohio State cornerback who Louisville moved to a hybrid linebacker/safety position before the 2019 season. Louisville's secondary is led by se- nior safety Russ Yeast, a three-year starter, and a three-player corner- back rotation. Sophomore cornerback Kei'Trel Clark has a team-high three passes broken up. ✦ GAME PREVIEW: LOUISVILLE Four-year starting linebacker Dorian Etheridge led the country with 8.5 tackles for loss entering the Cardinals' game at Georgia Tech Oct. 9. PHOTO COURTESY ACC MEDIA 2020 L0UISVILLE SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Sept. 12 Western Kentucky W, 35-21 Sept. 19 Miami L, 47-34 Sept. 26 at Pittsburgh L, 23-20 Oct. 9 at Georgia Tech L, 46-27 Oct. 17 at Notre Dame (NBC) 2:30 p.m. Oct. 24 Florida State TBA Oct. 31 Virginia Tech TBA Nov. 7 Virginia TBA Nov. 20 Syracuse (ESPN) 7:30 p.m. Nov. 27 at Boston College TBA Dec. 5 Wake Forest TBA 2020 NOTRE DAME SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Sept. 12 Duke W, 27-13 Sept. 19 South Florida W, 52-0 Oct. 10 Florida State W, 42-26 Oct. 17 Louisville (NBC) 2:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Pittsburgh TBA Oct. 31 at Georgia Tech TBA Nov. 7 Clemson (NBC) 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at Boston College TBA Nov. 27 at North Carolina (ESPN) TBA Dec. 5 Syracuse (NBC) 2:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at Wake Forest TBA "We look like a pretty good football team. We just have not put it all together." LOUISVILLE HEAD COACH SCOTT SATTERFIELD ON HIS TEAM'S 1-2 START

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