Jeremy Wright celebrates after scoring the University of Louisville’s first touchdown of the 2012 football season with 3:28 remaining in the first quarter against Kentucky. Wright would score two more touchdowns while rushing for 105 yards in UofL’s 32-14 victory. (Photo by Menefee Seay)
The aftermath of Hurricane Isaac would finally make it to Louisville, soaking the area for more than three hours and taking a heavy toll on tailgating. The steady rain would also force a cancellation of Card March for the first time ever, Charlie Strong dropping his troops off at the football complex.
The storm would dissipate shortly after kickoff, rewarding the fans who braved the conditions — all 55,386 of them, the most people to ever see a football game in Louisville, eclipsing the old mark of 55,327 in 2010 against the same foe on a sunny day. So much for the fair weather fans of yesteryear.
Players like Teddy Bridgewater will do that for a program. Getting good protection, taking his time surveying the field, the UofL sophomore quarterback would connect on 19 of 21 attempts for 232 yards. He would accomplish this feat with nine different receivers.
Third down? No problem. He also was clutch on third downs, completing all four passing attempts The coaches weren’t kidding when they said he had gotten better during the off season.
The completion that would set the tone, however, was the third offensive play of the game, with Bridgewater on his one yard line. Damian Copeland would make a shoestring catch of a 23-yarder, twisting around his defender in the process. The redshirt junior from Bradenton,Fla., would catch three more, amassing 51 yards on the day.
Running backs like Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry will keep them coming back as well. Wright would win starting honors, racking up 105 yards and three touchdowns. Perry would unveil some breakaway speed, outpacing his teammate with 108 rushing yards. The showstopper was his 47 yard run after emerging from a group of would-be tacklers for a 47-yard touchdown.
- The surprise was that Dominique Brown didn’t make an appearance in the game. One of UofL’s leading rushers last season and a player UK could not stop in their last meeting. Also conspicuously absent were any Wild Card formations. [Update: Brown was injured, expected back in a couple of weeks.]
- The kicking game was a real concern coming into the game. Sometime booting into strong southerly winds, newcomers John Wallace and Josh Appleby, averaged 65 and 63.1 yards, respectively, with three kickoffs each. Appleby and Ryan Johnson would each exceed 42 yards on two punts apiece. Wallace would also contribute a 22-yard field goal.
- Will Stein would get his playing time calling signals under some tough conditions in the fourth quarter, starting from his own three-yard and 12-yard lines on his first two series. He would complete three of five passing attempts, believe it or not, while ably managing his limited potential and opportunities. His best move of the night may have been snatching the Governor’s Cup away from Gov. Steve Beshear, negating the presentation ceremonies.
Football is back, the drought is over, two wins in a row over UK, life is good again.