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

8 Comments

  1. bob DeSpain
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    We play KY ten times we win ten times.

    They ran some very good play action plays and Smith hit his receivers under our zone defense. This and there no huddle put our defense some what on their heels.

    Scoring drives of 99, 93 and 85 will break any teams back.

    Having a tight end that can catch those passes over the middle is huge for the success of the total offense.

  2. Wildcat
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the decisonmakers at ESPN, the drive you praise was not seen in America. Those geniuses thought it was more important to finish a game nobody cared about than show a game between two Division 1 in-state rivals. Just brilliant. Heidi revisited.

  3. cbcard
    Posted September 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Appreciate the WKRP in Cincinnati reference. Johnny Fever says we could have scored 60 if Coach had wanted to.

  4. doug
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I have a hard time with the empty seats, particularly after halftime on the home field side. “Watching” the game from the B&W area doesn’t impress me. Until last season, I sat on that side and didn’t realize how many seats are deserted in the second half. Perhaps over time, our football fan base will grow into the sophisticated level of our basketball base.

  5. cbcard
    Posted September 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    To Doug:

    You mean all the basketball “fans” who leave at the under four minute timeout even in a two point game?

  6. doug
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    cbcard:
    Some people suffer from obsessive compulsive disorders, including being first out the door! In Pitino’s early years, I watched a friend leave early at UL-UT game in KNOXVILLE. Guess he got the jump on the crowd, but he missed a 3 overtime thrilling victory. True story!

  7. c d kaplan
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    My crew used to have a named award for the fans who left Freedom Hall the earliest. It honored a local businessman, who, with his wife, left with ten minutes to play, no matter how close the game was. I wrote about it several years back, and the fellow, now retired in Florida heard about my post and complained to my editor. I had to call to apologize. So I shan’t name names anymore. That said, there are any number of folks who feel that getting to their car is more important than savoring the end of the game.

  8. cbcard
    Posted September 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    We had a chant in our section:

    “Give up your seats! Give up your seats!!”
    We got some dirty looks and gave them right back.

    I should mention though in all fairness at PJCS it’s really hard to tell about empty seats unless you see someone packing up and leaving. Lots of people watch from the terrace on the south end, others are making their 7th beer run, others are because of the 7th beer run are making their 4th potty run. It’s a tough call. And the crowd was in its seats pretty early this time.

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