YB-WVfans
Be Careful in Morgantown: West Virginia Fans

Don’t you remember the days when you could just go to a ballgame and not worry about what color you are wearing, who you might encounter, or what may happen to you during the game?  In a world of Brian Stow, Raiders and 49ers fans killing each other in and around the stadium, the world doesn’t need any more fan horror stories. So before any of your Cardinal fans travel down to Morgantown this weekend, there are a few things you should know.

Now before I go into this, it’s important to note that the MAJORITY of the fans of the Mountaineers are what you would expect out of fans.  They are kind, compassionate, and just want to root on their team like a normal fanbase would be.  However, the MINORITY of their fans that cause problems are in a greater number proportionate than normal.  And those ‘bad apples’ are more noticeable and outlandish than the good people that make up the majority of the Mountaineer fanbase.  I’ve traveled to Morgantown twice for Louisville games and both times there were fans that would come up to me going out of their way to make me feel welcome and safe.  That doesn’t happen anywhere else, and it happens because their fanbase is a known issue and the good fans are trying to make up for the bad ones.   Unfortunately though, by the time you encounter several of their more unsophisticated fans, your guard will be up dealing with anyone wearing Blue and Gold.

I could write this piece a lot of different ways, but I’m not going to do any name calling or use any hyperbole at all.  I’m going to speak ONLY on published reports and my personal experiences that I can draw from.  West Virginia is a beautiful part of the country and the University is deserving, but a certain segment of their fanbase is a public safety concern, and this piece is to educate any of Cardinal Nation who might be traveling to Morgantown this weekend about what they can expect, and any future opponents who might also make their way to Morgantown.  So here we go:

Earlier this year vs. LSU, a Pittsburgh man (who is a LSU fan) was attacked in traffic and beaten.  Also his wife, who is 22 weeks pregnant had a rock thrown through her window, the rock landed in her lap along with all of the broken glass, and was also thrown to the ground while trying to stop the attack.  Two passengers in the back seat of the car they were riding in were also attacked as well.  You can read the whole account here in the Charleston Daily Mail.  

This isn’t the first time this pyro-crazy fan base has been accused of violence or misbehavior.  After ANY game that happens in Morgantown you can go to their fan forums or the forums of the team they play and hear a myriad of fan accounts of how the visiting fans were abused verbally, assaulted, prompted into physical violence, and just a general disgust with the treatment they received in Morgantown.

I have had my share of experiences with WVU fans at Milan Puskar Stadium.  I attended the Louisville vs. WVU game in Morgantown in 2005 and 2007.  I can honestly say that I met one group of fans that made the 2007 trip worthwhile, but I thought I was lucky to make it out of the 2005 game with my life.

My personal experience in 2005 went like this:  I was with another guy and 3 girls.  4 of us were dressed in Cardinal Red and we parked along a road at the direction of a parking official and began walking towards the stadium.  While doing so there was probably an item hurled out of moving vehicles every 3-4 minutes or so. Bottles, newspaper, cups, fast food bags, etc.  Nothing made contact, but it was thrown in our direction and was obviously on purpose. I’ve been all over the country following the Cardinals, and this is certainly not the norm.  Once we were off the main road (I believe it was 705), and were more on campus the treatment changed from anonymous flying objects to direct verbal threats.  I’ve experienced this before in various venues, and the general rule is to just keep moving, which we did. The picture next to this is an example of what I am talking about, and is not me or the fan(s) I am talking about.

On the walk over, we had enough of the verbal assault and after asking several West Virginia State Troopers if this was normal and being basically ignored we decided we would try our luck with stadium security and just go into the game early.  The problem with this is that the stadium was not open yet, and we were in a long line of UofL fans that had also had enough.  What that did was create a quasi-feeding frenzy for the culprits causing all the trouble.  Essentially the line to get in through the visiting will call section is lower than the surrounding hill and as a result several youthful WVU fans stood on top of the hill hurling verbal assaults and occasionally more trash in the direction of the line.  Also, there were several times where they actually came down into the hill and attempted to cut line, or draw people (mostly elderly and people that would not want to draw into a physical confrontation) into a actual physical confrontation.  The West Virginia State Police witnessed the entire activity but elected to wait until a physical altercation actually took place rather than trying to restore order.

Thankfully, the stadium was opened and the UofL section was a bit of a haven.  Also it was a comfort to see that WVU has the good sense to chain in their student section so as to not allow their youthful enthusiasm to roam the concourses or visit other parts of the stadium.  Even so, a few did make their way into the Louisville section.  Once there they basically tried to stand in front of people, get in other people’s seats and refuse to move until security was called, and were generally annoying trying to cause a problem.

The game did not help my exit.  As some of you may recall the Cardinals rolled up a huge lead on the Mountaineers and folded late under the breakout performances from Pat White and Steve Slaton and a lot of the departed fans came streaming back from the parking lot and surrounding areas to witness the come back and WVU eventually won in overtime.  Riding a high of confidence and booze my walk out of Mountaineer Field and to my car was beyond anything I have ever experienced.  Beyond the verbal assaults, more throwing of objects, and the direct confrontations were even more brazen. Luckily I linked up with an undercover police officer and though it did not stop the threatened violence, they did back off when they saw the badge throughout the walk back to the car.

Once back to the car we all exhaled and looked at each other like we just got out of an extremely dangerous situation.  Before we were able to pull out, we noticed a piece of paper on the windshield.  That paper:  White Supremacy Literature that detailed the importance of getting more white players on the West Virginia football team.  This was after a game where Pat White (who is black) replaced a virtually useless white QB and Steve Slaton (also black) single-handedly won the game in comeback fashion for the Mountaineers.

In 2007, I had a different tactic.  Instead of wearing Cardinal Red, my father and I dressed in black with our Cardinal gear not visible underneath and decided to change once inside the stadium.  This was purely to avoid aggression and activities I had to endure two years prior.  Also I had linked up with a WVU fan online after sharing my experiences after 2005, and he vowed to show me a better time.  Ron absolutely did show me a better time.  We parked in a different place, we were anonymous as we walked through the crowds, and we had a good time with Ron at his tailgate.

It was hard, however, to not notice the general behavior of a huge number of WVU fans (mostly young) who are literally out of control.  Beer bottles are broken as they are finished directly onto the asphalt.  The groups of college girls actually walk arm in arm so as to not get boys to single them out of the line.  Once with my fellow Card fans it was obvious nothing had changed from 2005 except for the fact that I was not wearing red for them to target this time.  With my Cardinal red on inside the stadium, the abuse started to rain down.  I was sitting on the last row of the lower level and a few items were tossed into our section from the lower concourse.  But, other folks had worse times than I did.  Most of the stories were a lot like the ones I had endured two years previous. But I’m going to stick with what I know for sure.

The LSU Game

Prior to WVU’s game vs. LSU WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck asked the Mountaineer fanbase to not wear vulgarities on their shirts after it was clear that there was a large number of the “West *&!$ Virginia” shirts were produced for the LSU game.  See Article Photo. The shirt was replaced with a more “tasteful” variety (tasteful when you consider the original).  If you can’t see the photo on your screen, let me help you.  The front of the shirt in a West Virginia State shape says, “Kicking A$$ Since 1863″.  The back of the shirt in a Louisiana State shape says, “Relying on FEMA Since 2005″ in direct reference to the tragedy that was Hurricane Katrina. I don’t think the “buyback program” instituted for the original shirt was intended for these.

As sick as this is, I’m actually not surprised.  There really is nothing out of bounds for this fanbase.  Burning couches? No problem!  Pushing down pregnant women after throwing a rock through the window and beating her husband into the hospital?  Check!  The fact that the Athletic Director has to spend one ounce of his energy to ask his fanbase to not wear vulgar T-Shirts is abhorrent.  As members of humanity it should be automatically understood that is not acceptable, but in West Virginia a certain segment of the population has yet to learn even basic human dignity.   I wonder if Oliver Luck needs to explain to not cause property damage, violently beat visitors, or assault pregnant women.  It seems there are more problems in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia than the Mountaineers might care to admit.  The LSU game was not the first T-Shirt controversy of the season, earlier this year there were Shirts printed prior to the Marshall game with “We WERE Marshall” and on the back was a picture depicting the Marshall plane crash in November of 1970.

The Blame Lies with the WVU Administration.  Props to Oliver Luck for heading off a PR nightmare for the school during last week’s College GameDay, but the University President needs to step in and put all of this non-sense to an end.  To be fair, current University President James Clements has not been on the job long, and Mike Garrison and Peter McGrath were not in the position very long prior to Clements arrival.  David Hardesty held the position from 1995-2007, which was the time frame I visited.  This mentality and behavior from the fan base didn’t happen overnight.  But it needs to be reigned in immediately.  From my experience the Police employed to work these events and have a sworn oath to protect public safety are not doing their jobs.  President Clements and Col. C.R. “Jay” Smithers (Colonel of WV’s state police) need to have a meeting where Clements asks Smithers to have his guys do their job, and President Clements needs to make sure the individuals are prosecuted and if they are students expelled. 

I’m all for fan creativity.  I wouldn’t want to squash that out of the WVU fanbase.  What I would like to squash is the violent and lawless behavior that occurs on Saturday’s on campus inside and around Mountaineer Field.  It’s an abomination that this is even a topic of discussion.  On TV, the scene on College GameDay for the LSU game was fantastic, something an outsider would want to be a part of and experience.  But as evidenced from what happened in traffic outside the stadium, it probably isn’t a place or situation that you would want to subject yourself to.

Bottomline, criminals need to be arrested & prosecuted just like any other day.  And those who have ties to WVU through enrollment or donation need to have those ties cut.  The people who aren’t connected to the university and cause problems should have restraining orders levied so that they are breaking the law by even being there if they are found to be breaking the law during a Mountaineer football game. Until the laws are enforced and punishment for acting like a total buffoon and embarrassing a good university is handed down this behavior will not stop.  If I were President Clements I would aggressively put this kind of behavior in the rear view mirror and start re-establishing his school’s good name.

Also, every ticket to every game is a revokable license.  The Administration should begin ejecting and not admitting those with vulgarities on their clothing.  Until the fans see consequences for soiling the universities reputation this will never end.  Unfortunately there are a lot of fans (definitely not all of them) that need their hands held and taught manners.

Bottomline, there seems to be a disconnect from the segment of the West Virginia fanbase that I have been referring to on respecting your opponent, the game, their school, etc.  It’s all about respect.  Without your opponent there is no West Virginia Football, there isn’t a game.  Why soil that relationship with your opponents and alienate your opposing fans week after week when they traveled to Morgantown trying to have good time, support their team, and experience a new college atmosphere?  Why ruin that?  Why not become ambassadors for your school?

There are other examples

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_n9jAWwkzM&feature=youtube_gdata_player (unable to embed for some reason)

WVU Fans Take Issue with a Georgia Student Newspaper writer

-Here is a link to Deadspin.com where Deadspin outlines the abuse a University of Georgia writer for the student newspaper takes abuse for describing her experiences with West Virginia fans at the 2006 Sugar Bowl.  The original story has been deleted (for reasons I can’t determine) but the writer Lauren Morgan did a follow-up piece which described the abuse and harassment that followed her column.  Ms. Morgan describes her on-line stalking as physical threats, sexual harassment, via e-mail and phone calls. WVU fans fervently e-mailed University Administrators, her boss, demanding action be taken.  They found out all of her information (pictures, resumes`, phone numbers, e-mail addresses) and shared it and encouraged their fan base to antagonize her.

Kind of makes you wish the Red & Black still hosted the story so you can read it.  To be fair, Ms. Morgan did take some jabs at the West Virginia stereotypes while describing her experience in the Superdome on January 2, 2006.  It is sometimes easy to get the ‘low hanging fruit’ while trying to get your point across.  Ms. Morgan had a bad experience and wanted to share her interactions, but also went and categorized the WVU fanbase without talking about her direct experiences with the fans, generalized West Virginia people, and had to suffer the whirlwind. 

Basketball Fans on TV

Here is an article that outlines the WVU basketball fans during a stretch of bad basketball behavior.  In the article, the author notes audible curse words being loudly chanted at Ohio State’s Evan Turner, Jamie Dixon, and then later the throwing of items (bottles T-Shirts, coins) on the floor and an assistant coach getting hit with some of those objects.  The Administration came out after this incident and said: “Boorish and unruly behavior by our fans will not be tolerated.  It is a shame that a terrific performance by our team was overshadowed by the unfortunate actions of a few fans.”  A statement went on to add that WVU officials are: “appalled and embarrassed by the fan behavior.”

Miami Incidents

It’s really easy to get this one out there because there is so much in one published article!  In this one from SunSentinel.com in October 1998, UM DB Nate Brooks talks about his previous interaction in 1996 with WVU Fans and also about how Randy Shannon was hit in the head by a 55-gallon plastic garbage can thrown from the stands.  Shannon sued the school, and Brooks was talking about how just before Shannon was hit with the 55-gallon garbage can he was almost hit by an unopened can of beer. In 1993, UM players were hit with cups of tobacco juice after a WVU win.  In 1994, Miami defeated West Virginia and the UM players wore their helmets to the locker room due to being constantly spat on through the tunnel.  In 1998 vs. Maryland the Mountaineers were penalized twice for throwing objects onto the field.

Virginia Tech

WVU and Virginia Tech have a long history of playing each other for the Black Diamond Trophy.  The final game of the series was in 2005 and Frank Beamer has been quoted that his team will not play at Milan Puskar again.  WVU will say this is because VT went to the ACC.  But I don’t think Beamer and VT is scared of playing a traditional rival, I think they just don’t want to go through the abuse that the team had to endure in their last encounter that had a ton of racial assaults directed towards Marcus Vick and objects thrown on the field at the end of the game.

Now I’m not going to defend Marcus Vick……EVER.  That guy is complete trash too.  Vick elbowed a WVU coach in the game on purpose, and later in the Gator Bowl he stomped on Elvis Dumervil’s leg.  Vick is complete trash, and he would enrage anyone.  But this is just another example.


Published Articles that Express their Distaste in WVU fans

The Big Lead is high on WVU Fans

GQ named WVU fans the worst in college football and 3rd worst in U.S. behind Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles fans.

Maryland player describes an elderly WVU lady spitting at him and giving him the finger in the Washington Post.

Auburn site describes WVU as the worst college football fans.

Message Board discussion of HIlton Armstrong reacting to WVU fan who told him to “Go Back to Africa”. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLqNQqpM3JY (unable to embed for some reason)

EVENTS AFTER ORIGINAL POST

After West Virginia’s first Big 12 game, a win vs. Baylor, police had to respond to 7 street fires.  The blazes spread to 3 vehicles and destroyed them, and caused damage to one home.  Estimated damage $35,000.  Link to USAToday article. 

Terrence Jones honored as AP All-American

Terrence Jones along with 3 other Sophomores have been named to the AP Preaseason All-American Team. Congratulations TJ!
AP All-America Team

- Jared Sullinger, Ohio State (65)
- Harrison Barnes, North Carolina (63)
- Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin (51)
- Terrence Jones, Kentukcy (33)
- Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut (25)
The last unanimous pick to the preseason All-America team was North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough before the 2008-09 season.

Sheriff’s Review: Syracuse

It was an absolutely perfect day for Football in Louisville on Saturday when 44,817 saw the Cardinals take on the Syracuse Orange.  For the first time in 5 seasons the Cardinals have won back-to-back conference games.  We’ll see if UofL can keep the streak going in Morgantown vs. West Virginia.  One interesting note about Syracuse vs. Louisville is that the Cardinals have won 3 straight football match-ups and 7 straight basketball contests.

I was really surprised by how easily the Cardinal defense contained Syracuse’s offense.  I’ve been signing the praises of the UofL defense for 8 games now, but after the Orange scored 49 last week I didn’t expect the Cards to dominate like they did on Saturday.  UofL forced 5 THREE AND OUTs and limited the Cuse to just 246 yards.  The yardage stat was actually worse than that when you consider the last Syracuse drive of 63 yards was with the UofL 2nd string defense in.

Also, the Opening Drive for the Cards was huge. The 2nd play of the game was nearly a disaster until Teddy Bridgewater found Michaelee Harris for a 44-yard beauty that could have been six if Teddy had been able to set his feet and thrown a more accurate ball.  Teddy was moving to his right and threw a floater that drifted Harris towards the sideline.  Still it switched the field, gave the offense a first down and some confidence.  It should have been a touchdown but two plays later, Bridgewater connected with DeVante Parker for 42-yards.  Parker caught the ball and made one move on Keon Lyn and was gone for the score.  DeVante is an absolute chore to cover and I would never want to draw that assignment.  But I am having a hard time understanding what exactly Lyn was doing on this play.  He was in position to make a tackle but had his back to the WR?  Huh?  Lyn may have been close by, but he was terribly out of position.  CBs can’t make mistakes like that around Parker.

The Cards would stop the Orange on their initial possession with a 3 AND OUT.  Syracuse didn’t look like they were comfortable getting pressure while backed up inside the 10. Eli Rogers would fumble the punt back to the Cards but disaster was averted as Jordan Paschal came up with the recovery.  I know handling punting duties isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but you have to catch the football first.  That’s always the number one job of a PR.  Luckily Rogers can learn his lesson here without any damage. UofL would begin the drive on the 40 and after a first down, a TD to Michaelee Harris was called back due to Josh Chichester holding Brandon Sharpe.  I went back and watched the play and Chichester definitely was guilty. Unfortunately the penalty was costly as two plays later resulted in a fumble by Dominique Brown on a screen, so instead of a TD or even a FG, the Cards turned it over.  Brown’s fumble was punched out by Marquis Sprill’s helmet and the thing that irks me the most is the Jake Smith and Ryan Kessling were closer to the ball than any Syracuse defender once it settled on the ground, but they didn’t know it was out and we lost the ball.

After another 3 AND OUT the Cards would get the ball back on the 50 after an Orange Facemask flag.  The drive would stay alive on 3rd and 16 when Harris scooped a ball up just off the turf on a pass in the flat and Harris was able to take it 21 yards and pick up the first down while extending the drive.  On the play two really nice blocks by Josh Chichester and Eli Rogers allowed Harris to get downfield.  It was a bad throw by Bridgewater but it got the job done. Then Teddy and Victor Anderson would rip off back to back first down runs on the left side to get to the 15.  Jeremy Wright would rush another 10 yards to get a first down to the 3-yard line and at this point I knew that if UofL could run the ball like this it was going to be a long day for Syracuse.  Both guards (Smith and Miller) were able to get off cleanly and get downfield to pick up linebackers.  The drive was capped off with a really unfair pass and catch to Chichester who had Orlando Fisher drapped all over Chichester, but the 5-10 safety is really not a good one-on-one matchup with the 6-8 TE there.  14-0 Cards.

Bridgewater would start the game 7-7 passing for 130 yards and 2 TDs before his first incompletion.  Teddy’s day was an extremely efficient 17/24 for 198 and 2 TDs.  Once the Cards were up 14-0 the playcalling changed dramatically, with only one additional downfield attempt with 11:30 left in the 4Q where Bridgewater overshot Andrell Smith, and it seemed like the Cards wouldn’t be as aggressive unless the Syracuse offense was able to match a score.  From here, the Cardinal defense continued to dominate.  Syracuse’s offensive line just could not stop the Cardinal penetration into their backfield.  The Orange were able to compensate and create first downs, especially with their TE Provo, but it was the TFLs and sacks that spelled doom for nearly every Cuse possession. Generally speaking, Ryan Nassib seemed to be bothered by the Cardinal pressure because even when he did have time and open receivers he overthrew them.  Nassib just wasn’t as sharp as he was a week earlier.

Syracuse would get on the board just before halftime after a drive was extended on a 4th down conversion would move the ball closer for an Orange FG.  Two long carries to the right side (UofL’s left side) moved the Orange into position.  The first one Antwon Bailey was able to catch a toss to the outside BEFORE Deiontrez Mount was able to set the edge and shut down the corner.  Once that was open, Bailey had his FB and RT out in front who were able to pave the way with Hakeem Smith keeping him inside while absorbing the FB block and the RT taking out Dexter Heyman.  Andrew Johnson was left with the responsibility of cleaning it up, but with 5 yards of separation at the point of attack, Bailey was able to juke Johnson and step over his tackle.  Also Syracuse’s RG made a really nice seal block downfield on Daniel Brown.  For the most part the Cardinal defense dominated, but this play in particular was executed perfectly by Syracuse and you have to give them credit for it.  The second big gain on the ground was from Dorian Graham a WR on a short end around to the right side.  Nassib faked a hand off up the middle to Bailey, and Roy Philon was in the backfield ready to clean that up.  Unfortunately for Philon he took the wrong man, but at least he hit someone.  Philon could have snuffed the play out for a loss had he not bitten the fake, as it was Graham had his FB out in front who took out Marcus Smith at the LOS and had room past that. Andrew Johnson would miss yet another tackle while in pursuit but Deiontrez Mount would come in about 10 yards after Johnson’s miss to stop Graham on the 30.  These two plays basically put Syracuse in FG position. 14-3.

One thing I thought the Louisville coaches screwed up was the final play of the 1st half.  UofL ran the clock down to :01 and took a delay of game penalty on 4th down and elected to punt.  That doesn’t make any sense.  Taking a knee does.  By punting, you put your punter at risk for a block, or you make yourself vulnerable for a return.  A play is going to take at least one second to run, so any play would have been better than punting.  Who cares if it is 4th down if there is only one second?  I think this was a mental error on the part of the coaching staff.

The third quarter was pretty quiet.  Neither team really did anything to change the game.  The Cardinal defense was keeping the Syracuse offense in check, and the Cards would set up a score on a short field after a Syracuse punt gave the ball to the Cardinals in Syracuse territory.  The drive was stalled after a Victor Anderson rush for negative yardage would set the Cards back, but Jarrett Davis would make a catch that would put the ball on the 27 for a makeable FG with the first snap of the 4Q for 44-yards.  That FG could have been good from 60.  Nice kick Philpott.  17-3.

Once Syracuse got the ball down 14 in the 4th quarter I was thinking that Syracuse would start to try to go downfield and UofL would begin turning up the heat.  One of those things was true, as Syracuse just never was able to take any legitimate shots downfield on their ensuing possession.  Nassib seemed unsure of what direction to throw in and just didn’t seem confident in his throws.  But Nassib was able to pick up 18 on 3rd and LONG to keep the drive going with his legs.  A QB might get some yards on a scramble vs. the UofL offense, but he’s not going to make a living on it, eventually an opposing QB is going to have to make a play with his arm to get the advantage over this defense and Nassib was just never able to.

After the Cards would get the ball back after a Syracuse punt the Cards faced a 3rd & 8, Victor Anderson would take an option pitch to the left, high step out of a tackle close to the LOS and would get a good seal block from Alex Kupper, and then another great block from Scott Radcliff to pave the way for the 61-yard score.  It’s great that Chris Philpott is no longer the longest rusher on the season.  Cards 24-3.  Great run, great speed, good blocking.  That’s the Victor Anderson we all know and love.

At this point the game is effectively over.  Syracuse would have 3 more possessions following this, but the next two were met with a ferocious pass rush and swarming defense that would cause a turnover on downs and a 3 and OUT punt.  The 3rd and final possession saw the Cards #2 unit on defense where the Cardinals would finally give up a TD during a 6-play 63 yard drive that I’m not going to pay a whole lot of attention to.  Also the Cards would tack on a FG just before the Syracuse TD drive, and a botched snap would force Bleser to pick the ball up and throw it into the endzone where he would find Chichester for a TD, but the play was called back due to ineligible man downfield.

The main difference between the last two games and the first 6 is the offensive line.  I mentioned after the Cincinnati game that I thought they were playing better but their competition was also better so the results were the same.  Against Rutgers they took another step, and against Syracuse they took another.  Their comfort level and understanding of what their jobs are light years away from the first half of the season.

Syracuse had the most success on offense when they were able to beat the Cards outside in their “Express package” (basically a WildCard).  But either on the ground or through the air, the flats were the weak point on the Cardinal defense.  Nothing was happening up the middle and it seemed like the right at the snap the first 5 yards on the outside was the one place the Orange were able to move the ball.  UofL shut down the screens.

5 personal fouls for Syracuse were the most I’ve seen in a game for one team in a long time.  The first was on Syracuse’s 3rd play of their first possession.  At the end of the pass Michael Hay had been chasing Marcus Smith downfield while he had been pursuing Jarrod West.  Hay caught up as the play was ending and shoved Smith out of the way.  The puzzling thing about this was that it would have been a penalty if the play was still live as Hay would have been flagged for a block in the back.  I just don’t know what he is thinking there. The 2nd PF on Syracuse was on the very next play after Eli Rogers had fumbled the punt, Jordan Paschal covered the ball and there was a pile, Jeremiah Kobena was trying to reach in and get the ball on the outside of the pile and began striking Senorise Perry while doing so.  Throwing punches is cause for ejection, I think Kobena should be aware that these games are filmed.  The Big East can take action later.  Kobena is a freshman, but come on, there is no room for that.

The third Personal Foul was a Facemask on Syracuse’s 2nd punt.  I don’t remember the player that committed the infraction and they didn’t show it again on replay, but I do remember Michaelee Harris getting his facemask grabbed while trying to set up a return. The fourth one I thought was a tough one because Jay Bromley hit Bridgewater late, but it was close.  On slow motion replay I thought maybe Bromley was on-time, but in real-time replay I thought it was just a touch late.  Still Bromley didn’t hit Teddy very hard, just enough to knock him down.  Flags like this make me angry because it takes the physicality of football out of the equation.  But UofL gets penalties like this all the time, so I guess I can take solace in the fact that officials are calling it evenly.  Still, I’m not a big fan of it. The fifth and final one was on a punt late in the 4th quarter on Ritchy Desir, I didn’t see it live or in person so I can’t comment on it.  I just thought it was strange how many personal fouls were on the day against Syracuse.

The Cards forced 5 THREE AND OUTs on the afternoon. Also Syracuse ran ZERO negative plays against West Virginia but ran 11 vs. UofL on Saturday.

How great is it to see Victor Anderson finally running with authority again?  Anderson finished with 113 all-purpose on just 14 touches.  I think it might help him that he isn’t returning kicks now.  And it is interesting that Adrian Bushell is now drawing the assignment.  I love that, but I would really like to see if Senorise Perry could do some damage back there too.  Also it sure looks like Card fans won’t see Corvin Lamb until 2012, but he would also be interesting back there returning kicks.

Deiontrez Mount being added to the linebacker corps is paying dividends. It’s a big deal to have a 4th guy play linebacker for this team.  Mount can play either outside position and allows Brian Jean-Mary to sub in and keep his unit fresh.  Heyman really never comes off the field, but the Cards won’t have him next season.  My bet is that in 2012 Preston Brown moves to MLB and Daniel Brown and Mount play outside.  That is unless a certain linebacker out of Charlotte thinks he can come in and make an immediate difference.

I’ve noticed before, but not mentioned it that Teddy Bridgewater is playing with two gloves, which is unusual.  Typically QBs play with one, if any at all.  I was wondering how many QBs around the country wear gloves in FBS College Football.  I know Doug Flutie, Kurt Warner, and Tom Brady would sometimes wear gloves.  But I would like to know Bridgewater’s reasoning.  Either way, I don’t want him to change whatever makes him comfortable I’m good with it.  Just kind of a curiosity of mine.

I loved seeing Anthony Conner at the game.  When he came out of the golf cart and stood up, it was hard to not be emotional.  If nothing else I am so happy for him because his injury typically is associated with far more traumatic results.  The fact that he could stand up wave the crowd is a miracle.  Also, while watching the replay on my DVR I loved seeing his teammates react to him, their faces say it all.  I know they were excited to see AC for the first time as only a handful were able to visit him in the hosptial.  Conner may never play football again, but he will always be a part of CardNation.  I’m sad he won’t be able to play football again, but there are bigger things in life.

There were some injuries that happened on Saturday.  Some seemed more serious than others, but Nate Nord was out and didn’t play at all, Chris White filled in nicely.  But White did have a holding call while trying to block Chandler Jones.  Dexter Heyman went out late in game with injury, I think it was a stinger in his shoulder and neck.  As long as it isn’t a concussion it shouldn’t be anything to worry about.  Ryan Kessling went down and Jamon Brown moved over to right tackle and played well. Benavides had a small nick but I don’t think he missed a play.  I might be wrong on that.  Greg Scruggs was out, and I didn’t know that was going to be the case.  Still BJ Dubose stepped up nicely in his replacement.  From looking at the WVU depth chart it looks like the coaches might be 50/50 on him playing this week.

Shenard Holton not playing is strange.  I mean everyone knows that there is a story there, but we will likely ever know the truth because of how tight lipped this staff is.  I’m not going to speculate, but Calvin Pryor has come in and I honestly think he is playing better football than Holton was anyway.  Still, I want Holton back if that is a possibility, he would provide depth and experience to a tough defense that he has been a part of.

I stole this from a Charlie Strong tweet:  Louisville is one of two teams who have not given up 25+ points this season.  The other?  Alabama!!

Black Uniforms Can’t Produce A Victory

For the first time during the 2011 football season, this was a winnable SEC contest. Florida, USC and LSU are considered the behemoth’s of the SEC by most and always seem to be guaranteed losses for the likes of Kentucky. So, where do I begin…..

Couldn’t capitalize on turnovers. — This was the achilles heel throughout the entire ballgame. Kentucky forced 3 turnovers and transferred that into 9 points. What was the average field position on those turnovers, you might ask? Miss State’s 23 yard line. You’ll never see a successful team settle on field goals in those situations. Good teams make the opposition pay for their mistakes and shove it down their throats. Kentucky did not. Sure they came away with points, but with a struggling offense like the Cats…you’ll never win this way.

Time of Possession. — UK 37 mins vs. Miss St. 23 mins. You shouldn’t lose when you dominate (TOP) like this. Cat’s had so many statistical advantages that usually produce a W, they shouldn’t have lost.

Defense let them down. — The Kentucky secondary gave up multiple long balls early and often during the game. You Cannot afford these mistakes, unless you can counter with Aaron Rodgers at QB, which Kentucky does not. It was poor technique for the most part. Often times it appeared the corners had no clue where they were on the field. Poorly timed jumps, inability to interfere with the vision of the wide receiver and just flat out terrible man to man coverage. I guess you get the point..Secondary played awful.

Injuries. — Morgan Newton went down early with a shoulder injury, came back in, and a few plays later he left with an apparent ankle injury. I haven’t heard the severity of the injury. They tried to tape it up and have him go, so one would think it isn’t that serious. I’ll report the moment I hear something. Freshmen Maxwell Smith came in the game and looked pretty solid, throwing for 26-33 174 yards. He managed the game and didn’t make any mistakes. Just couldn’t find the endzone.

Next Game: Ole Miss at Commonwealth. 11-5-11 3:30pm ESPN U. Ole Miss will be coming to town off a blow out loss to Auburn. It will be the battle of the winnless SEC teams. (UK 0-4 vs. Ole Miss 0-5). Kentucky has to win this game. They must go 3-1 down the stretch to qualify for another bowl. As unlikely as it may sound, they have the opponents to do so. If I’m Joker, I’m working on our Redzone Offense and Secondary technique religiously during practice this week. I’m usually the positive Kentucky fan but, It’s been down right disgusting this season. I see Kentucky going 1-3 personally and finishing out at 4-8. I hope I’m wrong. It’s clear this team has taken a step back. Chalk it up to the coaching staff, young team or whatever you want. I’ll still support no matter what. I’m a diehard Kentucky fan and I’ll be here through the thick and thin. I don’t just show up to pound my chest when they are successful.

Louisville 27, Syracuse 10

Louisville got off to a good start today against Syracuse, setting the tempo early with a 44 yard pass from Teddy Bridgewater to Michaelee Harris on the 2nd play of their opening drive. 2 plays later, Bridgewater completed a 42 yard pass to DeVante Parker for a touchdown. I was really impressed with the aggressive playcalling so early on. In my opinion, this is what this team needs. Open up the offense and allow Teddy to make plays with his arm to move the ball down the field.

Louisville’s defense played very well and forced a 3 and out on Syracuse’s first drive. The defense has been playing very well lately, and I’m not as concerned about our cornerbacks now like I was early in the season. They still are lapsing on some coverages, but overall they are playing much better. Our front line is constantly putting pressure on the opposing quarterback and keeping them from getting in a rhythm.

I’ll let Sheriff come in later to give a more in depth game analysis, but one other thing to point out is the attendance today. From my seat, there seemed to be A LOT of open seats throughout the stadium which really irks me. I would like to see all seats full for each game, which really isn’t a whole lot to ask. As Mark pointed out in a post last week, our fans are realizing we need to be loud when we’re on defense and to keep quiet on offense. The official attendance for the game today was 44,817. Add in another 10,000 fans and that is just that much more noise to confuse the opposing QB.

We’re now 4-4 on the year and our offense is moving the ball more efficiently. The offensive line seems more cohesive now, and our defense is pretty stout. I like our chances of at least finishing out 3-1, if not 4-0 (I can hope!). This team is getting much better, and it makes it that much easier to say “GO CARDS!”