Louisville football fans party, celebrate spring and Lamar Jackson


Crystal clear, sunny, 75 degrees, perfect day for the University of Louisville spring football game.

Celebrating spring, reuniting with old friends, enjoying no parking restrictions, packing the Green and Bronze lots, parking as close to the tunnel as possible.

24SpringGameMore than 16,000 fans on hand at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Saturday. More than ready for some football, the amplifiers going full blast for tailgating, screams piercing the air from the thrill rides, corn dogs being devoured in the carnival area. People of all ages, each seemingly wearing unique Cardinal gear.

The Red Rage Tailgate team was there, James Durst, Josh Stinson and Dave Magee with their converted bus, welcoming dozens of UofL fans. Free Bloody Mary’s, mixed drinks, doughnuts topping a full menu of early morning food. Invited any and all UofL fans to stop by, talk Cardinal sports. These guys live for football and tailgating, and their enthusiasm is contagious.

26SpringGameBesides quenching their thirst for tailgating, fans were eager to see Quarterback Lamar Jackson in action again. All those wide receivers, the running backs, a maturing offensive line, and all the players on defense who passed up the NFL draft to play UofL football another year.

Lamar Jackson would not disappoint, throwing for 519 yards and eight touchdowns, leading the Red team to a 73-7 victory over the White team in the annual Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Spring Game.

Jackson completed 24 of his 29 passes, including an 85-yard strike to James Quick toward the end of the second quarter. Jackson capped the half with a 54-yard score to Jamari Staples, his third touchdown pass of at least 40 yards. Quick, looking better than ever, with five catches for 152 yards.

Wide receiver Jaylen Smith also had five receptions, finishing with 99 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Cole Hikutini, who was on the receiving end of Jackson’s first two touchdown passes, an eight-yarder and a seven-yarder. He logged 75 yards.

On defense, Stacy Thomas and Chucky Williams each had a Red-team best seven tackles, with Thomas recording 2.5 for loss.

A great day to be a UofL football fan. Click on photos below for a sampling.

 

 

Radcliff churns for 146 yards, Louisville outlasts Virginia

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.

Kyle Bolin
Kyle Bolin

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:

Louisville back in the win column

A win is a win is a win, especially satisfying when it’s the first one.

The University of Louisville football team badly needed a victory after three close losses. Something to celebrate, needing reassurance, a boost in confidence, and the Cardinals got all that in a 45-3 blowout of Samford University.

A crowd of 50,021 fans showing up at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, turning out in good numbers for a game against a non-marquee opponent. Rewarded with three UofL touchdowns in the first quarter, most of the partisans hanging around until midway in the fourth quarter.

Freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson needed this one, wanting to prove some things, catching up with the tempo of the college game, again displaying some of that dazzling speed. Setting an all-time UofL quarterback rushing record with 184 yards and two touchdowns while throwing for 212 yards and another touchdown.

James Quick needed this one, needing to get back in the action following his ankle injury three games ago, wanting to make a favorable impression, shaking off the uncertainty, pulling in three catches for 69 yards, teaming up with Jackson on a pass play for his 36-yard touchdown.

Reggie Bonnafon needed to play a role, the team utilizing his speed at other positions than quarterback, wanting to contribute, rushing for 41 yards while completing three of six passing attempts for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Coach Bobby Petrino needed this one, never having started a season losing his first three games, needing some positive to build on after losing four straight games (including the bowl game last season). Needing some things to go his way, needing a blowout to get things on the right track.

James Quick drops the ball again

Less than five hours before kickoff, the University of Louisville has announced that James Quick has been suspended and will miss the Boston College game.

James Quick
James Quick

Really have to question Quick’s decisionmaking skills and the lack thereof. More harmful to the individual than his teammates but they feel the impact of his actions on and off the field.

Getting in his own way, creating distractions, wasting his talent, clouding his future

Anybody home in there?

 

Quick plays himself out of punt return duties

University of Louisville football fans will able to breathe easier on punt returns because James Quick has been relieved of those duties. Coach Bobby Petrino said during his Monday press conference that Eli Rogers will be handling punts.

James Quick
James Quick

Another step backward for Quick who has had more than his share of issues during his freshman and sophomore seasons at UofL.

Quick has been shaky on punt returns all season, with numerous drops, penalties and yards for loss. On at least three occasions, he has signaled for a fair catch, only to take off with the ball, resulting in penalties against UofL. The last straw may have been the one in the second quarter against Florida State, which pushed Louisville back to its own five-yard line.

Before DeVante Parker returned from injury two games ago, Quick was UofL’s leading receiver with 29 catches for 459 yards. His production dropped off sharply, however, against North Carolina State and Florida State when he was credited with two receptions and zero yardage.

Quick, with so much speed and talent, is equally inconsistent and unpredictable, posing a significant challenge for Petrino. This perhaps explains why Quick was still returning punts, the coach hoping the sophomore would learn from his mistakes.

Wasn’t happening, continuing to create drama, the coach knowing the uncertainty could continue.

Despite all his ups and downs, Quick remains the team’s leading offensive weapon, with 671 all-purpose yards for the season. He has the ability to be among the best ever if he can get a grip on the basics. Petrino knows that, and will keep looking for ways to keep him involved when Louisville has the ball. Punt returns aren’t among the options for a while.