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Have a good Thanksgiving

November 26, 2014 0 Comments

Shifting into full scale Thanksgiving mode for now, thanks to all the University of Louisville fans who frequent this site. Have a great day with family, friends and food. A day to give thanks for the blessings that endure during some challenging times.

Bria Smith unveils new awesomeness in rout of Western Kentucky

November 26, 2014 0 Comments

Bria-Smith

 

Someone or some thing lit a fire under Bria Smith Tuesday night, with the junior from New York dazzling a KFC Yum! Center crowd of 8,463, displaying an awesomeness never before seen in her.

Emerging from recent obscurity, Smith would turn in a triple double, scoring 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the University of Louisville women’s basketball team to a surprisingly easy 89-67 win over Western Kentucky University.

It was all Bria all night long, scoring 15 points in the first half, putting UofL up 44-26 at half time. She would make four steals but commit five turnovers herself in a performance receiving high praise from Coach Jeff Walz.

“It was a great night,” Walz said. “She played with a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of passion. When she’s able to attack the way she did under control, it makes us a better basketball team.”

Smith’s heroics also opened things up under the boards with Sara Hammond and Myisha Hines-Allen scoring 16 points each and grabbing 10 and seven rebounds, respectively.

The UofL women, now 5-0, next face Lafayette on Friday.

 

Bluegrass Poll revisited: Kentucky vs. Louisville

November 25, 2014 0 Comments

Another reason to distrust polls.

Illustration published in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Illustration published in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

A Bluegrass Poll published on Oct. 8 indicated that 51% of the respondents across the state believed the University of Kentucky would win this year’s rivalry game against the University of Louisville, compared to 27% who thought UofL would win.

The poll was divided into four regions, with only the Louisville metropolitan area picking UofL to win, 44% to 36%.

The poll is commissioned by the Herald-Leader and WKYT-TV in Lexington, and the Courier-Journal and WHAS-TV in Louisville.  The fact that the question would be included in the poll is curious, especially during an election year. Obviously, a superficial attempt to stir up the fans.

At the time, Kentucky was 4-1, with “signature” wins over Vanderbilt and South Carolina. UofL was 5-1, with a disappointing loss at Virginia. The two teams have gone in opposite directions since then, with Kentucky losing five straight games and Uofl winning three out of five.

But Saturday is a rivalry game, evoking deeply felt emotions. Kentucky is still in contention for a bowl bid while UofL has its eye on a possible invitation to the Orange Bowl.

UK fans outnumber UofL fans by 5-1 across the state.  Does anyone doubt the results would not be the same if the same respondents were asked the question again this week?

 

Pitino presser

November 24, 2014 0 Comments

No, he never entertained any thoughts about a shutout at halftime.

Win over Notre Dame good one, but down on Louisville’s football list

November 24, 2014 3 Comments

Caught up in the moment after the win over Notre Dame, an occasional sports analyst at WAVE-3 wanted University of Louisville football fans to say the win was the greatest in the program’s history, expecting them to agree. Fortunately, he was asking knowledgeable fans who, though exuberant, would set him straight.

While it was a good one, the win over Notre Dame is down the list of memorable UofL milestones. Getting a matchup with Notre Dame was the hard part,  coming only after a shakeup of the college football landscape and conference realignments. Fans were more ecstatic that the game had actually happened, and relieved that that Cardinals had followed through with the win.

Since the question has come up, people are ranking UofL’s most significant wins. Eric Crawford has his list here, but I like mine better:

1.  Jan. 2, 2013 — Louisville 33, Florida 23

Teddy Bridgewater with ESPN analyst Chris Fowler following Sugar Bowl win.

Teddy Bridgewater with ESPN analyst Chris Fowler following Sugar Bowl thrashing of Florida.

BCS Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. A game scripted in Hollywood, matching 22nd ranked Louisville against No. 4 Florida, with no one giving the Cardinals a chance to win. On the first play from scrimmage, Terrell Floyd intercepts a Florida pass, dashing 34 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, recovering quickly from a brutal hit on his first play from scrimmage, completes 20 of 32 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns, including an acrobatic catch by DeVante Parker in the end zone. UofL is in command from beginning to end, 

2.  Jan. 2, 2007 — Louisville 24, Wake Forest 13

BCS Orange Bowl in Miami. An estimated 35,000 UofL fans travel for Louisville’s first BCS bowl. The Cardinals  come from behind with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, a one-yarder by Anthony Allen and an 18-yarder by Brock Bolen. Brian Brohm named most valuable player. UofL would have been competitive with either Florida or Ohio State, the participants in the national championship game that season.

3.  Jan. 1, 1991 — Louisville 34, Alabama 7

Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.  Louisville’s first bowl game in 13 years, made possible when some other schools refused to participate because Arizona didn’t observe Martin Luther King holiday. UofL takes advantage of the political football to grab the national spotlight. Browning Nagel connects early with Andrea Ware on a 70-yard touchdown pass  and UofL holds a 25-0 lead after the first quarter. Bama fans have been respectful ever since.

4.  Sept. 26, 2002 — Louisville 26, Florida State 20

On a rain-soaked night before a crowd of 42,000 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, senior running back Henry Miller dashes 25 yards for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage in overtime to give Louisville a 26-20 win over the fourth-ranked Seminoles. UofL’s Anthony Floyd had intercepted a pass by FSU’s Chris Rix near the goal line a play earlier to set up Miller’s run. Quarterback Dave Ragone completes 15 of 27 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 43 yards. The goal posts come down.

5.  Nov. 2, 2006 — Louisville 44, West Virginia 34

Fifth-ranked Louisville versus third-ranked West Virginia, a battle between unbeaten Big East teams on a Black Out night at PJCS. WVU quarterback Pat White runs for 125 yards and passes for 225 more, and Steve Slaton racks up 156 yards and a touchdown. Not enough. UofL forces three costly Mountaineer fumbles. Brian Brohm is passing for 325 yards, including a touchdown toss to Mario Urrutia. Anthony Allen would score twice, Trent Guy once, and Art Carmody is making good on three field goals.

6.  Nov. 22, 2014 — Louisville 31, Notre Dame 28

Freshman quarterback Reggie Bonnafon will score two touchdowns and pass for another to DeVante Parker in the first-ever matchup between the schools. A signature win over one of the sport’s most revered programs. A showdown made possible only with UofL’s entry into the Atlantic Coast Conference but a win over the Irish earning Louisville some overdue respect from college football’s old-line establishment. A memorable victory but

7.  Dec. 31, 2004 — Louisville 44, Boise State 40

Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tenn. Ninth-ranked Louisville versus 10th-ranked Boise State in a battle between teams denied BCS access by the pollsters. UofL will end Boise State’s 22-game winning streak when Kerry Rhodes intercepts a pass in the end zone to preserve the win. Quarterback Stefan Lefors passes for two touchdowns and runs for another, 192 yards in the air, 76 yards rushing. Michael Bush will add 96 yards.

8.  Nov. 29, 2012 — Louisville 20, Rutgers 17

Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater too banged up to start, with a broken bone in wrist and an ankle sprain. Relieving beleaguered Matt Stein, bring life to the UofL offense, Bridgewater engineers a 90-yard drive and a touchdown pass to Jeremy Wright. Following a Rutgers’ fumble, Bridgewater connects with DeVante Parker for a 20-yard touchdown. John Wallace kicks a 29-yard field goal with 1:41 left to give UofL the win, and UofL is bound for the Sugar Bowl.

9.  Sept. 2, 2000 — Louisville 40, Kentucky 34

A steady drizzle turns into a torrential downpour and lightning in the third quarter, forcing fans to find shelter for 72 minutes. The UK band continues to play during the storm until athletic director Larry Ivy sends word for them to stop, saying later, “Metal instruments. We may need a refresher course in Band 101.” UofL’s Anthony Floyd intercepts Jared Lorenzen’s pass on the first possession of overtime, and Tony Stallings breaks free for 25 yards on the next play to give UofL the win.

10. Sept. 25, 1993 — Louisville 41, Texas 10

Texas would bring Longhorn mascot Bevo to old Cardinal Stadium at the Fairgrounds expecting an easy win. The visitors would be bitterly disappointed, with Ralph Dawkins catching a screen pass from Jeff Brohm to scamper 75 yards for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage. Brohm completes 14 of 23 pass attempts for 293 yards. Dawkins would total 117 yards rushing and 95 more on receptions.  Anthony Shelman will score two touchdowns, one of them his signature diving leap over the line. Howard Schnellenberger in a dark suit and tie strolling the sideline, with that exalted vision of his for Louisville’s football future. He was promoting a UofL football stadium as well.

Louisville Soccer advances to Sweet 16

November 23, 2014 0 Comments

The University of Louisville soccer team continues to dream big, despite driving rain on Sunday and lots of ups and downs during the season.

Freshman Tim Kubel scored in the 87th minute and Ken Lolla’s team is advancing to the Sweet 16 of the 2014 NCAA Soccer Tournament with a 2-1 win over St. Louis University Sunday.

UofL is one of five Atlantic Coast Conference teams to make the round, along with Notre Dame, North Carolina, Virginia and Syracuse. Still another ACC team could be there if Clemson wins against Coastal Carolina in a game that was postponed until Monday because of inclement weather.

Louisville will square off against Maryland-Baltimore, which defeated Maryland 1-0 at College Park, Md. The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. at at Lynn Stadium next Sunday.

 

Louisville turns Notre Dame away, the quest continues

November 22, 2014 1 Comment

A virtual red sea of University of Louisville fans descend upon South Bend on a cold drizzling day in November 2014. A cold drizzly day, gray skies, temperatures in the mid-forties, wet and slippery conditions for an historic football game. A school, a football program and a fan base ready to take the next step.

Momentum swinging back and forth during the game, moods bouncing wildly between helplessness, resignation to exultation, teams trading leads four times, teams going from defenseless to defensive, hot to cold and back again on offense, the final outcome in doubt with the clock ticking down to decision time with less than a minute on the clock.

Brandon Radcliff

Brandon Radcliff

Notre Dame is moving the ball again, quickly advancing the ball from its own 20 to Louisville’s 15-yard line. Quarterback Everett Golson finding his swagger again, ready to redeem himself, salvage the Notre Dame mystique. The Cardinals digging deep, somehow holding the Irish, forcing a field goal attempt. Visions of overtime with Louisville leading 31-28.

The holder is still positioning the ball as Kyle Brindza’s foot connects. The football veers wide right.

Louisville holds on, winning the historic first game in the series against the sport’s most revered program. Another one of those historic wins that just seem to keep coming for that ambitious, but humble and hungry school, the University of Louisville.

Quarterback Reggie Bonnafon, thrust squarely into the spotlight during his fourth freshman start, learning on the job, needing to grow up quickly. Responding with an aura of confidence, steady hands and quick feet, maintaining the poise to the end, leading his team to a monumental victory. Notre Dame may be down the past three games, but remaings highly competitive, underscoring the importance of Bonnafon’s performance.

For the day, Bonnafon would connect on eight of 21 passes for 180 yards and a 21-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker. He would rush for 35 yards on 15 carries, including touchdown runs of 12 and eight yards to give Louisville an early 14-3 lead.

No one ever knows which UofL running back will leave the most indelible mark. The first half belonged to Michael Dyer who would come through with 61 yards on 13 carries, setting up the Bonnafon touchdowns. His longest run was 21 yards before Notre Dame could get a handle on him, keeping him in toll after his initial surge.

Time for Brandon Radcliff to step up, and his derring do would come at just the right time, following two consecutive Notre Dame touchdowns, giving the Irish the lead again, threatening to demoralize UofL’s then sputtering offense. Ripping through Notre Dame’s shored up defense in that second half for 136 yards and a go-ahead touchdown. Averaging 8.1 yards per carry, a man on a mission, cherishing every carry, punishing and embarrassing many would-be tacklers.

DeVante Parker getting far too much attention from Notre Dame defenders, making only four catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. He gets credit, too, for deflecting attention away from UofL’s running game, which accounted for 229 yards on the ground, compared to only 99 for the Irish.  Kai De La Cruz, whose name hasn’t been mentioned much lately, was big on a 52-yard pass play, setting up Bonnafon’s first touchdown.

Every bit of drama that could be expected in a first game between Louisville and Notre Dame, the Cardinals emerging with another one of those memorable wins, emerging from the house that Knute Rockne built with still another memento in their growing trove of treasured victories.

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