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The Red Birds are flying north this year

Previewing the 2020 Louisville Cardinals

Boston College v Louisville
In 2020, BC looks to avenge a narrow defeat at the hands of the Cardinals
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

If all goes according to plan Boston College will play host to the Louisville Cardinals on October 10th, 2020. The Cardinals were able to edge out the Eagles 41-39 in their 2019 meeting inside Cardinal Stadium thanks to a late fourth quarter field goal.

This will be the second year of Scott Satterfield’s new regime at Louisville and his track record suggests that this team will only continue to get better. Satterfield took Appalachian State from the FCS to the FBS and never had a losing season in 5 of his 6 seasons (his first season he did go 4-8 but the team was still in FCS) and three Sun Belt Conference Championships. He is the first coach to take an FCS team and win three consecutive FBS Bowl games and in just his first year at Louisville he took them from 2-10 (0-8 in the ACC) and took them to 8-5, a second place finish in the ACC’s Atlantic Division and a bowl game victory of Mississippi State.

Louisville’s offense saw the biggest impact from Satterfield’s arrival. Last year the Cardinals were one of the best offenses in the ACC. Louisville had the #2 scoring offense in 2019, averaging 33.1 points per game and was 4th in the ACC in terms of total yards, averaging 447.3 yards per game. The team’s leading passer, rusher, and receiver all return for the 2020 season. Javian Hawkins not only led the Cardinals in rushing but his 1,525 yards in 2019 were 2nd in the ACC only behind AJ Dillon. Louisville’s Tutu Atwell was also 2nd in the ACC with 1,272 receiving yards. When it comes to the quarterback position the Cardinals find themselves in an interesting position as both Jawon Pass and Micale Cunningham return this season and will probably compete for the starting job. Pass began the season as the starter but a foot injury he suffered in the second game of the season kept him out the rest of the year. Cunningham stepped in and proceeded to throw for 2,061 yards, 22 TDs and only 5 Ints, and 62.4% completion percentage all of which surpassed Pass’s number from the previous season (albeit under a different coaching staff). Based on just numbers Cunningham would be the presumed starter but we shall see.

If the Cardinals’s offense is Dr. Jekyll than their defense is Mr. Hyde. Louisville’s defense ranked 9th against the pass in the ACC and second last against the run, surrendering 439.9 yards per game in 2019, the third worst in the ACC and a conference worst 33.4 points per game. The team may yet improve defensively with the return of their leader in tackles CJ Avery and sack master Monty Montgomery. The 2020 Cardinal defense may be aided by the arrival of two highly rated junior college recruits Yaya Diaby (defensive end) and Marvin Dallas (outside linebacker).

With much of the same pieces in place, it will be interesting to see if or how Scott Satterfield can improve on his 2019 campaign. This is in stark contrast to Boston College who not only has a new coaching staff to break in but will need to find a new quarterback as well. A new quarterback will be needed in order for BC to keep pace with an offense that is set to be tops among the ACC once again. Hopefully, the Louisville defense does not take any grand strides as that will make it BC’s task much easier.