As fate would have it, the University of Louisville’s spring football game would be on a perfect Friday night, one of the few the city has experienced this year with temperatures hovering in the upper seventies. A steady light breeze as a bonus.
An enthusiastic crowd that was every bit of the estimated 17,200 on hand despite the short notice of the game being rescheduled from Saturday afternoon to a day earlier. Should be a lesson in that for the planners, UofL people loving their football on Friday nights. Definitely better than noon on Saturdays, eh?
The south of the Green Lot was one huge party with UofL fraternities and sororities out en masse, sound systems going full blast. Impressive display of Greek life on display.
Many fans also got their first look at the stadium expansion, towering heavenward in the north end. Cardinal Stadium is indeed coming full circle, and the addition is going to be magnificent when people are circulating in the new VIP lounges and all the extra red seats.
The real attraction, however, was the debut of Jawon Pass as starting quarterback. Despite a bumpy start, he fumbled once and threw one interception, Pass completed 26 of 37 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Red team to a 42-13 victory over the White squad.
Stealing the show was Dez Fitzpatrick who made some unbelievable catches, including one that he had to snatch out of the hands of a defender. The redshirt sophomore had eight catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior tight end Mickey Crum, looking improved, more confident, caught eight passes as well for 90 yards and another touchdown. Freshman receiver Tutu Atwell had six receptions for 73 yards.
Backup quarterback Malik Cunningham was impressive as well, completing 14 of 18 attempts for 117 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 52 yards on 11 carries.
One got the impression that UofL’s offense will not be so predictable and will be much more flexible with more options with Pass calling signals. No one will ever replace Lamar Jackson for excitement but the overall effort may be more consistent. Debatable, of course, remaining to be seen.
What was obvious, however, was the Louisville fans were eager to see what had been going on behind all those closed practices and they love those Friday night lights.