LOUISVILLE — Coming off a 41-39 win over Boston College – the first league win since 2017 – the Cardinals hit the road to face No. 19 Wake Forest on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on the ACC Network. The Cardinals are looking for their first win over a ranked opponent since 2016.
Head coach Scott Satterfield, who is 3-2 in his first season, addressed the media on Monday to discuss the key league match-up with the Demon Deacons.
Wake Forest, behind the play of quarterback Jamie Newman, brings an explosive offensive attack that averages over 515 yards per game.
Here are a few takeaways from Satterfield’s weekly press conference.
Wake Forest is currently riding a streak of seven-straight games in which it has compiled 400 or more yards of total offense. The seven game streak is a school record.
“I’m not sure anyone else in the country is doing it,” Satterfield said. “The way they run there zone read. It’s extremely slow, the quarterback is walking up the ball with the running back and putting the ball in the pocket of the running back. The quarterback can pull it and make those throws. He can hand it off or the quarterback can run behind him. It makes it challenging, you have to cover the receivers.”
“Every play is an RPO. They have the ability to throw it out there to any one of those guys. They’re so big they can post up a corner or safety and be able to make those catches. You have to contain those wide outs and when you do that, your box is limited. Therefore, these quarterbacks and running backs are able to find these lanes and create yards. It is a tough offense to defend because if the quarterback is a good decision maker, and Jamie Newman is.”
Wake Forest’s quarterback Jamie Newman is off to a fantastic start to his career, winning eight of his first nine starts. He’s the ACC leader in total offense yards per game with 356.6 and ranks fourth in the nation in total offense yards per game. As a thrower, Newman is the ACC leader in passing yards per game with 304.2 and ranks No. 12 in the nation.
“What I like about quarterbacks, one of the biggest attributes is decision making,” said Satterfield. “It has to happen within a second. That’s why they are good on offense because he makes it all go. If you’re an RPO team, you have to read the defense pre snap. Then you have to read it post snap. I think that’s why his completion percentage is so high because if the defense allows you to hit one of those little slants or hitch. He can see that and can make the throw. It leads to completions. But you have to have that mental capacity to be able to do that and he can. But he is also physically talented. He’s got a big arm and is a big guy. He can run. He’s a total package and I think he is playing that way right now.”
On the other side, Micale Cunningham has been at his career best over the last two weeks, throwing for 574 yards and three touchdowns. The sophomore is completing 65.0 of his passes and ranks fifth in the country in passing efficiency. He threw for a career high 288 yards last weekend in the win over Boston College.
“Micale has gotten a lot better,” Satterfield said. “I think he’s starting to fully kind of understand our offense now a lot better. It’s a pretty simple offense to be in as a quarterback. It enables them not to think as much because when you can get that run game established, then it’s going to allow these guys to get open out here and we got some playmakers outside.”
Expectations were low heading into the 2019 season, but the Cardinals have exceeded their win total from 2018, and the coaching staff continues to change the culture every day. The Cardinals were able to hold on to a 41-39 win over Boston College for their first league win since 2017.
“We’re just trying to be consistent,” Satterfield said. “From day one, when we came in here, this is who we are, this is how we’re going to run our program. We’re going to hold you accountable. We’re going to ask you to do some things that maybe you weren’t asked to do before. We’re going to ask you to give great effort and when you come into the building to have a great attitude. That’s what we’ve been trying to do.”
“These guys are now they’re seeing the fruit of that labor and that hard work. We have to continue to do that. We’re nowhere near where we need to be. We really have to clean up a lot of things, and that’s what we’re continuing to strive on and really trying to stay in the moment.”
Five things you need to know
1. The Cardinals will look for its second-straight ACC win in over two years when they face Wake Forest. Louisville hasn’t won back-to-back league games since defeating Virginia and Syracuse in consecutive weeks in 2017.
2. Quarterback Micale Cunningham has thrown for 574 yards and three touchdowns in the last two league games, while completing 64.4 percent of his passes. He threw for a career high 288 yards and one touchdown in the win over Boston College.
3. Wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, who didn’t catch a pass against Western Kentucky, has caught 12 passes for 241 yards and two scores over the last two weeks. He caught five passes for 108 yards and one score against Boston College.
4. Javian Hawkins recorded his third 100-yard rushing game by tallying a career high 172 yards on 25 carries against Boston College. Hawkins is the third freshman in Louisville history to have three 100-yard rushing games in the first five games of a season. He joins Victor Anderson (2008) and Lamar Jackson (2015). He is the first running back with three 100-yard games in a season since Brandon Radcliff in 2016.
5. Cornerback Anthony Johnson recorded the team’s first interception in the win over Boston College. It took five games and 142 throws before the team notched its first pick of the season.
Scott Satterfield, in his first season as the head coach of Louisville, returns to the state where he coached for the last seven seasons at Appalachian State, the last six as head coach. In Boone, he led his alma mater during the transition from FCS to FBS, capped by three straight Sun Belt titles from 2016-18.
Scouting Wake Forest
1. Wake Forest will host Louisville in its ACC home opener on Saturday, October 12 at BB&T Field with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The Deacons are coming off a bye week and are 5-0 (1-0 ACC) on the season following a 27-24 win at Boston College on Sept. 28. Wake Forest is ranked No. 17 in the Amway Coaches Poll and No. 19 in the Associated Press poll and will be playing at BB&T Field as a ranked team for the first time since 2008.
2. Quarterback Jamie Newman threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns and had his first career 100-yard rushing game with 102 yards on the ground to lead the Deacs over Boston College on Sept. 28. Wake Forest never trailed as they won their fourth straight ACC road game.
3. Newman’s 69.6 completion percentage is 18th nationally and second in the ACC and ranks fourth in the country in total offense with an average of 356.6 yards per game.
4. Justin Strnad is 11th nationally with an average of 10.6 tackles per game. He’s totaled 53 tackles and a pair of sacks from his linebacker position.