They always say that if life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But, in my personal life, if life gives me added work responsibilities (and a time consuming youth basketball team to coach), I don’t make anything. Instead, I put my blog on hold until I can catch my breath. But now that my professional and personal life has returned to some sort of normalcy just in time for my favorite holiday of the year, I’m taking the opportunity to get back into the swing of things. Saying that quite a bit has happened in the world of Louisville Football since my last blog entry would be an epic understatement. So, in looking back I would probably summarize as such: First, the Cards went down to Tallahassee and played toe to toe with the FSU Seminoles until halftime. The second half would prove to be one of the most disastrous defensive performances in UofL Football history as Dalvin Cook would run wild and the Cards would succumb yet again to the Noles for a second straight year after leading at half time. After the Florida State game, the Cards would take care of business by beating (albeit not pretty in most instances) everyone left on their schedule with the exception of PITT, which would be the last game before the annual showdown with in-state rival Kentucky.
THE BATTLE OF THE BLUEGRASS
As in most years passed, I made the rainy trek to Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington to watch my beloved Cards tangle with the Cats. Riding a four game winning streak in the series and coming into the game as the favorite and already being bowl eligible, UofL had very little to gain but instead more to lose in this game. Kentucky, on the other hand, would be playing with house money……sort of. In some instances UK had nothing to lose being the underdog, but being that Mark Stoops had failed to get his team to a bowl game the previous two seasons, this game actually meant more to UK than one might have anticipated. Win, and you finally get that coveted sixth win and a third year bowl game. In addition, beating Louisville would end the Wildcats’ losing streak to a program they feel is inferior and open the flood gates for more stripper jokes.
I sat in amazement for the first two quarters as I watched UK pummel and pounce on UofL, burying them in a 24-7 halftime deficit. Give UK credit. But in the 2nd half something unexpected happened. That occurrence was the untapped potential known as Lamar Jackson coming to life and blossoming at the most opportune time. The freshman QB ran anywhere he wanted and helped flip the scoreboard in favor of the Cards. James Quick erupted for some long over due big plays as well and the Louisville defense finally put the clamps on UK’s offense making QB Drew Barker wish he were back in a dormitory lobby in Richmond during late night hours.
Lamar Jackson score against UK
I admit, as a UofL fan and alum it was awfully satisfying being at the game. Despite the weather being less than desirable, the last 30 mins made all the rain I endured well worth it. The UK fans in my section were, I presume, shocked that the Cards had gone on a 31-0 run. But the shock had by games end morphed into what I would categorize more as demoralization. UK, for the second straight year, had blown a double digit lead and a chance to become bowl eligible by beating their hated rival and in the process put their fan base in a position of being antagonized and feeling pissed on. Not sure the future looks any better for the Cats in ’16 with the recent transfer of Patrick Towles and a daunting SEC schedule next season, but I will allow others to debate that topic.
I can definitively say that being a UK Football fan would have to be one of the more agonizing and frustrating things on Earth to be. Reversely, I couldn’t be happier to be a Cardinal Football fan as of today. With a looming Music City Bowl game coming up against Texas A&M and the school’s highest collectively rated recruiting class in school history almost in the fold, my hopes and expectations for the Cardinals in year 3 (2nd tour) under Bobby Petrino are lofty. If Devante Fields and DeAngelo Brown turn down the possibility of entering the 2016 NFL Draft, and the Cards keep their current recruiting class intact then I see no reason that the Cards cannot compete for an ACC Divisional title next season. Keeping stud recruits like Jawon Pass, P.J. Blue and Seth Dawkins committed until they sign on the dotted lines will be key.
Myself and QB commit Jawon Pass
But, first things first. UofL needs to not overlook a talented and underachieving Texas A&M squad in Nashville next week and force their 3rd string QB to make mistakes aplenty. I feel confident in the UofL defense and Todd Grantham’s ability to make in game adjustments. I just hope that Lamar Jackson can prove that his dominating 2nd half performance against Kentucky was not a fluke but instead the beginning to something special. I am hoping to see 30,000+ Cardinal fans in the seats in Nashville proving once again how well UofL’s fan base travels and supports it’s teams.
In my blog entry for tomorrow, I will discuss the upcoming Dream Game on the between the Cards and Cats which will take place on Saturday. But for now I have a hyper 7 year old little boy who I need to corral pronto if there is any chance in Hades that Santa will be visiting our place this evening!
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays everyone! It’s good to be back on the blog! GO CARDS!