Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 17, 2020

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

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Page 36 of 55 OCT. 17, 2020 37 BY TODD D. BURLAGE LOUISVILLE RUNNING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME RUN DEFENSE Redshirt sophomore Javian Hawkins has started his 2020 season right where he left off in 2019 as the Cardinals' premier player. Last season, Hawkins finished second in the ACC with 1,525 rushing yards — including eight 100- yard games — and highlighted a Louisville running attack that averaged 213 yards per contest. And through his first three outings this season, Hawkins was one of only 18 players in the country averaging more than 100 rushing yards per game. This 5-9, 196-pound bulldozer hit a good Miami defense for 164 rushing yards in week two. For second-year Cardinals head coach Scott Sat- terfield, his reliance on the rushing game breeds passing production. Under Satterfield — who came to Louisville last season after coaching at Appalachian State for six years — the Cardinals went from scoring 239 total points in 2018 to 430 last year. But even with that scoring surge, Louisville still led the nation in one dubious statistic: The Cardi- nals allowed 129 tackles for loss in 2019, 13 more than any other team in the country. And through four games this season, the problem remains un- resolved. With only three games played, Notre Dame still provides a small sample to accurately evaluate the worth of its rush defense. What's evident is that the depth at linebacker and along the defensive line provides optimism that this Irish front seven will continue to improve steadily, produce at a high level and be equipped to handle any player shortages. Advantage: Notre Dame LOUISVILLE PASSING GAME VS. NOTRE DAME PASS DEFENSE Satterfield and the entire Cardinals offense had a scare on Sept. 26 in game three against Pittsburgh when starting redshirt junior quarterback Malik Cunningham was taken off the field on a stretcher. Specifics of the injury were not released, but after a bye week on Oct. 3, Cunningham — an athletic dual-threat player — was considered "full- go" for practice in preparation for Georgia Tech on Oct. 9. Cunningham (6-1, 200 pounds) emerged as an electric starter last season for Louisville, throwing for 2,065 yards and 22 touchdowns. He is off to a hot start this fall, ranking 15th nationally after three games with 757 passing yards. Cunningham's pass-catching trio of junior Tutu Atwell, redshirt senior Dez Fitzpatrick and sopho- more Braden Smith provides what could be the deepest receiving corps the Irish will face this sea- son. Atwell recorded 1,276 yards with 12 scores in 2019. Redshirt sophomore running back Javian Hawkins ran for 1,525 yards last season, the second-best total in the ACC. PHOTO COURTESY ACC MEDIA GAME PREVIEW: LOUISVILLE On PaPer

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