Joker Grabs 1st Laugh, Strong Survives: Louisville, Kentucky Move On

The best team won. The losing team has reason for some positive thoughts.

What more can you ask from a rivalry game that opens the regimes of two new coaches?

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I loved how Joker and the Cats went for it. That Hartline to King forty yarder on the opening play was an exclamation point. When UK was stuck deep in its end of the field late and needed to run out the clock, it called a pass by Cobb out of the Wildcat. Feisty.

I loved how the Cards didn’t quit. The fact is U of L is bereft of enough talent to compete at the highest levels and certainly needs some playmakers on both sides of the ball. But the Cards sure didn’t throw in the towel, despite the shortcomings. A made play here and there and they coulda sent it to OT.

I really liked how Charlie Strong didn’t mince words after the game. Or, during it, for that matter. After the Cats stunning two play opening TD drive, Strong spent the whole timeout giving Johnny Patrick a verbal colonoscopy.

Fact is, it was an even game for 59 minutes and 25 seconds. Ya gotta play 60.

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For Louisville to improve this season, it will need more stalwart play by the vets. Patrick played aggressively but not very well. Troy Pascley dropped two balls, which could have been pivotal. One along the sideline, another on a deep route. The Cards need some catchers, and guys who can run with it in their hands.

Adam Froman is a workmanlike QB. No more. No less. There were several times when he simply didn’t deliver the ball to open receivers.

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Mike Sanford’s offense in the first half looked kinda lame. Guess the coaches on the red side were a little nervous too.

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The week before the game, Froman was asked about his team’s character. He said something to the effect: “People will be surprised how we stick around during games.”

True that. Louisville was the stronger if not better team at the end. They never folded.

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Other random thoughts on what happened on the field:

If Josh Bellamy’s concussion sits him down for a long time, Louisville’s in trouble. He’s said to be a playmaker and U of L sure needs one at wideout.

Joe Mansour will be UK’s full time placekicker soon. The kid’s got serious leg. And Ryan Tydlacka missed a point after and a field goal, even though he punted really well.

TE Cameron Graham was Louisville’s most reliable receiver yesterday.

If Louisville’s secondary is going to aggressively go for interceptions — which appears to be their MO — they better start getting some.

Sure seems like I was hearing the PA mention defender’s Danny Trevathan and Shenard Holton’s names a lot.

Charlie Strong went for it. On fourth down backed up in Louisville territory late. Again in the same drive, when U of L was saved by a questionable roughing the passer call. The flip side: U of L kicked it deep after closing the gap to 7, instead of trying an onside kick when it had only two timeouts left.

U of L was penalized only four times for 30 yards. That’s the sign of a disciplined squad.

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Random thoughts on what happened off the field:

The stadium expansion makes PJ look a lot more big time. Before the game Tom Jurich had the look of a new father.

The new video screen at the south end has incredible resolution, which makes the other one look like an old tube Motorola.

The Cards new entrance tunnel and the hedges at the open end are nice new touches.

The introductory video was WAY TOOOOOOOOOOO LOOOOOOOOONG!!!!!!! And I’d note when mentioning former Cardinal coaches, it omitted Ron Cooper (2-1 vs. UK) and the recently departed Coach Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned.

Watching Rock Oliver and Pat Moorer loosen their squads up during warmups, I kept wondering what a mixed martial smackdown between those two guys would look like?

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The most indelible image for me from yesterday’s game experience is the one of all the blue- and red-clad fans intermingling in a gracious and friendly manner. Before the game while tailgaiting. After the game while assessing their team’s performances.

Of course, there are the yahoos. Like one guy along Hull Street as the game emptied. The guy was doing his best to start a fight, getting in people’s faces, taunting. To no avail, though I daresay there might have been a foray or two, fueled by the lethal combo of victory, defeat and alcohol.

But watching all the good natured interaction made me wonder why the incessant vitriol and outright hatred on the message boards and the community throughout the year?

– Seedy K

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