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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Commentary

The Tale of the Tape: Cougars vs Cardinals


WEB-Justin-Tijerina-IMG_9415

Junior wide receiver Demarcus Ayers completes a reception from quarterback Greg Ward Jr. in the season opener against Tennessee Tech.  | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

 

The Cougars will embark on their first road game of the season when they visit the University of Louisville Cardinals. The Cardinals will seek to rebound after dropping their season opener to the Auburn University Tigers. Both teams will try to, as legendary coach Bill Walsh said, “beat the opposition to the punch”.

Quarterback match up: Greg Ward Jr. vs Lamar Jackson/Reggie Bonnafon

Greg Ward Jr.

Greg Ward Jr. showed how versatile he can be under the tutelage of head coach Tom Herman. Despite being sacked twice, the junior completed 21 out of 27 passes for 275 yards, zero interceptions and a touchdown against the Golden Eagles. When the passing game became unavailable, Ward showed effectiveness on his feet as he rushed for two touchdowns on 125 yards.

Lamar Jackson/Reggie Bonnafon

Louisville resorted to two QBs in their first game. Both quarterbacks would record a total of 167 yards on 17 complete passes out of 33 attempts with one interception. Despite managing to make it a one-score game against the Tigers, the Cardinals continued to struggle as both quarterbacks were sacked a total of four times (Jackson one; Bonnafon three).

Who wins: Ward Jr. was impressive half of the season last year, adding to how well he performed against the Golden Eagles on the opening game. On another note, while surrounded with better tools offensively, continue to expect Ward to use his athleticism to keep the defense on their toes.

Wide receiver match-ups: Demarcus Ayers vs James Quick

Demarcus Ayers

Demarcus Ayers made eight starts last year, but he played in every game, catching two touchdowns on 33 receptions for 335 yards, an average of 10.2 yards per catch. Against the Golden eagles, Ayers put up 121 yards including a 39 yard catch from Greg Ward Jr. and rushed for 44 yards.

James Quick

In 2014 James Quick played in 12 games, missing only one game due to suspension. He was third on the team but had his personal best performance, with a career high 36 receptions for 566 yards and three touchdowns. He finished the season strong with an average of 15 yards per catch but started slow against Auburn, completing four receptions for only 28 yards.

Who wins: Demarcus Ayers. The junior is more of a multiple position player. Not only can he catch the ball, but he can return it in crucial moments of the game. However, it also means he carries a heavier workload that could reflect on his stamina late in the game.

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