DeVonte Fields has arrived, the one that University of Louisville football fans couldn’t wait to see this season.
Yes, the same DeVonte Fields, who as a freshman at TCU was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, terrorizing opposing quarterbacks with 10 sacks that season.
It has taken a while for him to get back into form, following a juco season at Trinity Valley College in Texas. Coach Bobby Petrino saying at the beginning of the season that he wasn’t at full speed, wondering where his head and heart were during a thrashing at the hands of Florida State.
Following that game Fields went to Petrino, essentially apologizing to his coach, pledging to do better. The coach listening, encouraging, telling Fields to show him on the field.
Since then Fields has excelled, showing signs of returning to his former superiority. In four games, he has recorded 18 solo tackles and three sacks in wins over Boston College, Wake Forest, Syracuse and Virginia.
Field was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week for his performance in the Virginia win. The Fort Worth native had five solo tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack as the Cardinals limited the Cavaliers to 354 yards of total offense and only 94 yards rushing.
He currently leads the Cardinals with 13 tackles for loss and has been credited with 3.5 sacks. He is is fourth on the squad with 47 total tackles.
DeVonte Fields has arrived. Just in time.
The era of one of most talented freshman classes in Louisville women’s basketball history was launched Sunday in front of a crowd of 16,524 at the KFC Yum! Center. There they were, Asia Durr, Taja Cole, Sam Fuehring, Erin DeGrate and Brianna Jones, making their debuts in a 75-71 loss to California.
The player who will be remembered from this game, however, is Briahanna Jackson, a sophomore guard who transferred from the University of Central Florida between seasons. She was Freshman of the Year in Conference USA two years ago.
Jackson, with no qualms about wearing Shoni Schimmel’s old number (23), providing the offensive and defensive dynamism her young team needed to compete with California. She would lead all scorers with 21 points, grab three rebounds, block one shot and make three assists.
Playing aggressively, no fear, just loving the game, she was the player to take the crucial shots and the most likely to make them, hitting on nine of 19 of them, including two of five three-point attempts. She was a dynamo on defense, constantly disrupting UC’s ability to move the ball, with numerous deflections to go with a total of six steals.
Mariya Moore would contribute 20 points, including six three-pointers, while Asia Durr would collect six points in her first game. Cole, Fuehring, DeGrate and Jones would combine for four points.
Most concerning on a team that is among the tallest UofL women’s team ever is that California outrebounded the Cardinals 50-27. No contest. None on the boards. Jackson kept UofL in the game.
She’s a natural leader and will quickly become a fan favorite. Hopefully, her energy is contagious, providing some inspiration and motivation for a talented group of freshmen.
Nobody would have been surprised had the Louisville-Virginia football game come down to a field goal again. The first three games between the teams had been decided by field goals, exhilarating for the victors, heartbreaking for the losers.
So when Virginia goes for an onside kick, trailing by seven points with 51 seconds to go, and manages to recover the ball, one can’t be blamed for thinking here we go again.
Virginia is offsides on the kickoff, however, and has to kick again. No last minute heroics, no last second miracles. This time the ball is covered by Louisville. No need or reason for any field goals.
UofL will win 38-31 to tie the all-time series with the Cavaliers at 2-2. The sixth win in last seven games this season, becoming bowl eligible in front of a crowd of 51,233 fans at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Kyle Bolin calling the signals for UofL a second game in a row, feeling a lot more pressure from Virginia, coughing up the ball a couple of times late, endangering his team. Bolin would still manage to complete only 10 of 21 passing attempts for 139 yards and a touchdown.
Clinging to a win, sparing Bobby Petrino much second guessing. But there was one memorable series involving Bolin’s quarterback competition.
Backup quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Reggie Bonnafon were both on the field during one series of downs in the second quarter. Jackson would rush 45 yards on his one snap, setting up a 20-yard touchdown pass from Bonnafon to Jaylen Smith.
What Bolin does that they haven’t done, however, is to get his running backs going. Brandon Radcliff rushing for 146 yards and two touchdowns while averaging over seven yards per carry. UofL’s offense would gain 266 yards on the ground, the second best rushing output this season.
Visions of last-second field goals were unavoidable with 8:30 to go in the fourth quarter with score tied at 24-24. That was before James Quick forced Virginia’s Olamide Zaccheaus to fumble on a punt return. A UofL recovery leading to a one-yard touchdown by UofL’s L. J. Scott two plays later.
Louisville emerging with a seven-point win, providing some welcome relief from all those last second field goals.
Here’s the view of L.J. Scott’s touchdown from Row Z in Section 234:
So Katina Powell is going to hand over all of her notebooks and speak with NCAA investigators next week. Another attentive audience, hanging on her every word.
Not sure how much more damage she could inflict on the University of Louisville basketball program. The inescapable conclusion is that some strippers and at least one prostitute visited Minardi Hall over a period of four years. Doubtful she could administer more pain than she already has.
The sooner she talks with the NCAA the better. The real challenge for the investigators will be separating fact from distortion, making sense of her narratives. Her self-destructive behavior is further hindered by a proclivity for exaggeration and contradiction.
Thus far the case against the UofL basketball program appears to be contained to a relationship between Katina Powell and Andre McGee, a number of parties and some possible prostitution. This may not be typical fare for off-campus housing at a university but it’s not that unusual. What’s different is that it involves a college basketball team.
Some local writers are spending an inordinate amount of time dissecting her book, searching for clues that will lead them elsewhere, possibly opening up new avenues for investigation. That hasn’t happened yet. Unless Ms. Powell mentions names than McGee’s, the NCAA isn’t going to get much more out of her and the meeting amounts to no more than a formality.
The question of whether she encouraged underaged people to indulge in prostitution would not appear to be a relevant concern for the NCAA. The organizational focus should be on whether players or recruits received extra benefits.
It’s all a show as far as Katina Powell is concerned, just another opportunity to promote her book. But it’s also another chance to put her foot in her mouth again. We’re confident she will find another way to do that.