Adrenaline on empty, Louisville coughs up the game

A long night and afternoon at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, the feet, legs aching from standing on concrete the entire game and tailgating on the blacktop in the parking lot hours before kickoff.

The painful part, however, is watching Florida State come from behind again in the final five minutes to put an improving University of Louisville football team away 42-31.

Bobby Petrino and staff had taken full advantage of nine days of preparation, their team jumping out to a 21-0 lead. Bobby Ball was back on full display in that first quarter. So close to another of those magical moments for UofL. The Seminoles with the superior quarterback and personnel unfortunately, proving they are capable of pulling off a second consecutive national championship.

Will Gardner standing in the pocket, the offensive line protecting him all game long, passing for 380 yards. Until those last five minutes, playing the game of his life, playing with confidence, finding his receivers, guiding the Cardinals into the end zone four times. Throwing his only interception as the clock runs down. The offensive line, the target of verbal abuse all season long, guilty of only one false start, coming during those decisive last five minutes.

UofL’s pride and joy, the defensive unit, keeping Florida State contained for much of the first half, creating a fumble on the one yard line with 33 seconds to, only to see Florida State cover the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. That recovery providing some optimism for the Seminoles, sending them to locker room with momentum.

UofL could not afford any mistakes, Florida State could, capitalizing on every Louisville miscue, any sign of weakness. The adrenaline finally depleted late in the game.

The Cardinals competed with the best of them for 55 minutes. Not good enough against a resourceful and determined Florida State.

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.