23,187 celebrate football at Louisville spring game

Jeremy Smith sees daylight and paydirt during the University of Louisville spring game.
Jeremy Smith (34) sees daylight, scampering to the end zone during the University of Louisville football team’s spring game.

A balmy 70 degrees. A perfect night at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium for the University of Louisville spring football game and everything that goes with it.

The die-hard tail gaters showing up early to claim prime spots at the front of the Green Lot. Grills glowing, beer flowing, one more chance to celebrate, an occasion for serious football people and party lovers before the long hot summer, Septemberfivemonths away. Some 23,187 fans happy to be together again, enjoying the UofL camaraderie.

carnivalLots of children, too, making B lines to the carnival rides, the tilt-a-whirl, the merry-go-round, the bumper cars, and the whack-a-mole. Their parents gorging on a cornucopia of fried food delights, the funnel cakes, elephant ears, caramel apples, corn dogs and, my favorite, the heavily-salted fried potato ribbons.

The event would also enable fans to see such former UofL greats as Deion Branch, Omobi Okoye, and Brian Brohm presenting team awards to the graduating seniors. Gerard Holliman, with his NCAA record-tying 14 interceptions, being selected as the Most Valuable Player during the 2014 season.

The main attraction, of course, was the Red-White scrimmage, featuring the first-team offense against the second-team defense. Really no contest with the Red team dominating the game, 59-0.

Starting quarterback Reggie Bonnafon looking much more confident and certain of what he was doing from the start, completing 15 of 19 passes for 238 yards, including a touchdown. James Quick was his favorite, pulling in seven receptions and 117 yards.

Kyle Bolin switched from the White team to the Red team in the second half, immediately enjoying more success, completing eight of 11 passing attempts, including touchdown passes to Ja’Quay Savage and 34 yards to Dontez Byrd.

Running back Brandon Radcliff, who will be a junior, was back to his old elusive self with 57 yards and three touchdowns. Jeremy Smith, a junior college transfer with three years of eligibility, was the leading rusher with 58 yards on 10 carries.

UofL has plenty of spots to fill on a defense that ranked in the top 10 last season, but the Red squad provided some hope by holding the White squad to just 33 rushing yards. Henry Famurewa, Chucky Williams, Jarrod Barnes andPio Vatuvei each had five tackles. Famurewa had two sacks and 2 1/2 tackles for loss.

Nice not having to be concerned about the outcome of the game. Great to have one more night of UofL football.

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Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.