Jeff Thorne Takes Stock of Cardinals at Halfway Point

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Jeff Thorne Takes Stock of Cardinals at Halfway Point as they prepare to host Elmhurst and Illinois Wesleyan in homestand.

Halfway through their regular season the Cardinals football team is 5-0, having outscored their opponents 268-40. Ahead of kicking off the second half of their season on Saturday at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium, head coach Jeff Thorne as always joined the Red Zone to recap the week and look ahead to the Elmhurst game.

Thorne said he’d been incredibly impressed so far with his team’s performances, even with things still to work on. The Cardinals defense is one of the best in the nation, freshman quarterback Luke Lehnen has matured quickly as an offensive weapon, and the wealth of experience from 2019’s championship run has continued to perform at a high level.

A noticeable element of last week’s Cardinal victory over Carthage was the chippiness of the game and the Firebirds apparent interest in starting dust-ups after plays were over. Thorne said the team maybe didn’t deal with that the best in the first half, but it was a key talking point at halftime and he thought the team did much better tuning out the noise in the second half.

This was the first time all year the Cardinals gave up more than one touchdown, but Thorne didn’t put that on the defense. One of the two scores resulted from a North Central fumble in their own territory which Carthage quickly turned into points, and Thorne again praised the way the defense played in a fourth-straight second half shutout.

On Andrew Kamieneski breaking the CCIW receptions record, Thorne praised the senior wide receiver’s consistency and leadership. On that note, Thorne pointed to the existing leadership structure of the team that has resulted in young players not being asked to carry that burden.

The Cardinals next two games are two of their three remaining home games, and Thorne will hope his team can maintain, if not elevate, their level.