Louisville Card File: Kentucky

It doesn’t happen all that often, but there moments that on occasion define an era.

One such — as you have surely read at any number of places already — came about on Louisville’s third play from scrimmage on Louisville’s first offensive drive of the game, Louisville’s first drive of the season against arch-rival Kentucky.

It was an audacious call. Bold. It was a fearless pass. Acute. It was a sublime catch. Sure handed.

All together now, so as to repeat the situation one more time to ensure our facts will be straight when we are regaling the grand kids or our fellow old farts over a beer in the decades to come.

It was the moment when the Charlie Strong Era at U of L locked in. When the Teddy Bridgewater Era at U of L became manifest.

Third down and 9 yards left to gain on the Cardinals’ own two. Bridgewater’s laser throw perfectly placed low and away to Damian Copeland, who had a third of a step on his Wildcat defender down the right sideline, where he snatched the football like a Venus Flytrap.

For another Cards’ first down on the 25, out of the proverbial shadows of its goal posts.

On the next snap, Bridgewater hit Andrell Smith on a crossing pattern for 17 more yards. Fourteen plays later, Jeremy Wright barreled into the endzone for the TD. To punctuate the perfection of the eight and a half minute drive, Will Stein tossed a conversion pass to DL Marcus Smith for a surprising two-point conversion.

Louisville 8, Kentucky 0. Ball game (With 48:11 still to play.)

Truth be told, if the rest of Louisville’s opening drive hadn’t been executed with such immaculate precision, The Play might not have proved so seminal. But it was, and it is.

Mark it down, Cardinal fans, we’re sure to be talking about that one for years.

* * * * *

Equally impressive as U of L’s offensive performance was that of the Cardinal Nation.

I arrived a couple of hours before kickoff. The fans without the privilege of close in parking, those who grill and corn hole and quaff on the side streets, those who posted during the really rainy pre-game hours in cotton shirts, shorts and flip flops, those who told me all week in the hardware store and coffee shop that no stinkin’ weather was going to impede their attendance, those stalwarts were out in force. Early. And ready.

The attendance announced at 55,386 — a new Papa J’s record — was legit. I’ve learned not to misinterpret the empty seats. Thousands of fans watch from the viewing deck in the south endzone. Many choose to hang in the corridor under the seats.

Yesterday more were in the stands, proud and loud.

The rain abated. The enthusiasm did not.

* * * * *

I’m not sure if Dominique Brown’s nagging injury kept from lining up at all as a running back.

What I know is Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry look like a mighty powerful, and not to be displaced, ball carrying duo.

Both hit the century mark.

I was especially impressed how Perry — supposedly the scatback of the two — gained extra yards almost every carry after contact. On his lone reception of the day, he bulldozed for ten yards, carrying two Wildcats with him.

* * * * *

After Louisville took a 32-7 lead with 4:37 to play in the 3d, I was able to announce with surety to the U of L Sports Info Crew, having spotted the exit with my own eyes, “Matt Jones has left the building.”

* * * * *

It was clear that Louisville is a team in better shape. There were no players wearing red Mr. Cobble fat.

* * * * *

U of L’s defense needs work.

Kentucky’s hurry up offense had Louisville off balance the whole game. They did not pressure UK’s QB nearly enough to be considered a prime time outfit.

Kentucky’s second scoring drive took only 1:54 and was way way too easy.

Giving up 373 yards to a team that might only have a couple of Ws in them this season is, frankly, unacceptable.

* * * * *

Louisville’s kicking game, a worry before kickoff, was acceptable.

The Cards do need to get the ball in the end zone on kickoffs to avoid the possibility of runbacks.

* * * * *

Kentucky’s and Louisville’s cheer squads did not unite for “My Old Kentucky Home” before the game. Though they might have done so after it was over. (I had to leave to get to a wedding in Oldham County.)

– Seedy K

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