Tag: Louisville football
A balmy 70 degrees. A perfect night at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium for the University of Louisville spring football game and everything that goes with it.
The die-hard tail gaters showing up early to claim prime spots at the front of the Green Lot. Grills glowing, beer flowing, one more chance to celebrate, an occasion for serious football people and party lovers before the long hot summer, Septemberfivemonths away. Some 23,187 fans happy to be together again, enjoying the UofL camaraderie.
Lots of children, too, making B lines to the carnival rides, the tilt-a-whirl, the merry-go-round, the bumper cars, and the whack-a-mole. Their parents gorging on a cornucopia of fried food delights, the funnel cakes, elephant ears, caramel apples, corn dogs and, my favorite, the heavily-salted fried potato ribbons.
The event would also enable fans to see such former UofL greats as Deion Branch, Omobi Okoye, and Brian Brohm presenting team awards to the graduating seniors. Gerard Holliman, with his NCAA record-tying 14 interceptions, being selected as the Most Valuable Player during the 2014 season.
The main attraction, of course, was the Red-White scrimmage, featuring the first-team offense against the second-team defense. Really no contest with the Red team dominating the game, 59-0.
Starting quarterback Reggie Bonnafon looking much more confident and certain of what he was doing from the start, completing 15 of 19 passes for 238 yards, including a touchdown. James Quick was his favorite, pulling in seven receptions and 117 yards.
Kyle Bolin switched from the White team to the Red team in the second half, immediately enjoying more success, completing eight of 11 passing attempts, including touchdown passes to Ja’Quay Savage and 34 yards to Dontez Byrd.
Running back Brandon Radcliff, who will be a junior, was back to his old elusive self with 57 yards and three touchdowns. Jeremy Smith, a junior college transfer with three years of eligibility, was the leading rusher with 58 yards on 10 carries.
UofL has plenty of spots to fill on a defense that ranked in the top 10 last season, but the Red squad provided some hope by holding the White squad to just 33 rushing yards. Henry Famurewa, Chucky Williams, Jarrod Barnes andPio Vatuvei each had five tackles. Famurewa had two sacks and 2 1/2 tackles for loss.
Nice not having to be concerned about the outcome of the game. Great to have one more night of UofL football.
Lamar Jackson, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound quarterback from Boynton Beach, Fla., signed a letter of intent late Wednesday morning to play his college football at the University of Louisville.
His commitment coming after a late push from the Jim McElwain, the new Florida football coach, to persuade Jackson to play for an “SEC power” and stay in his home state. Reports of the Florida coaches making 20 attempts to talk with him during the hours leading up to his announcement. He had just visited the Florida campus over the weekend.
Jackson is a Bobby Petrino-type quarterback, good at passing or running the ball. He threw for 1,306 yards and rushed for 962 while accounting for 35 total touchdowns.
An unexpected bonus for University of Louisville football season ticket holders on National Signing Day.
An offer of two-for-the-price-of-one tickets for the UofL-Auburn game in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Saturday, Sept. 5 at the the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Too good to resist, this one’s order has already been confirmed.
The Georgia Dome, of course, already has a special place in the collective heart of Cardinals’ fans, the scene of UofL basketball’s third national championship during the 2012-13 season. So the event was already going to be a reunion of sorts, a return to a special place. Lower level tickets are priced at $125, upper level tickets at $70.
As for National Signing Day, Coach Bobby Petrino Petrino will host the annual celebration in the Brown & Williamson Club at 5:30 p.m. Petrino and his assistant coaches will provide comprehensive analysis on members of the 2015 signing class with exclusive video highlights of the signees.
Doors will open at 5 p.m. Concession stands and a cash bar will be available during the event. Fans should enter the stadium at Gate 6 of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Todd Grantham is happy at the University of Louisville, thank you, reportedly turning down an offer to become the defensive coorinator with the Oakland Raiders.
A relieved Bobby Petrino made the announcement Wednesday, one week before the national signing day for college football.
“We’re very pleased and happy that Todd is going to be staying at the University of Louisville,” Petrino said. “He’s done a fabulous job with our defense that ranked in the top 10. He’s one of the finest assistant coaches in the country, and you expect excellent coaches like Todd to get opportunities in the NFL. I’ve always had respect for the job that Todd has done throughout his career, especially this past year at Louisville, and we’re happy that he has and his family will continue to be members of the Cardinals’ family.”
Grantham, who is adding up frequent flyer miles on the recruiting trail, confirmed in a statement:
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to have interviewed for the defensive coordinator position with the Oakland Raiders, but I’m committed to the University of Louisville. I said when I came to Louisville that I thought we could win a national championship, and we are building toward that goal with the success we had this season. Coach Petrino and Tom Jurich have given me a great opportunity and I’m grateful for their commitment. My family loves it in Louisville, and I think we are establishing something special here with head coach Bobby Petrino and our staff. Our main objective over the next week is to finish strong in recruiting and continue to bolster this signing class.”
ESPN indicates that for the semifinal games, some 28.3 million TV’s were tuned into the Ohio State vs. Alabama game and 28.2 million for the Oregon vs. Florida State game.
The cable network has reported that viewership for the final game was 33.4 million. That compares with NCAA basketball championship games of 21.2 million households for UConn over Kentucky in 2014 and 23.4 million for the Louisville over Michigan game in 2013.
The championship event received the highest Nielson rating for a program in cable television history, with a metered rating of 18.5% — a 21 percent increase over the BCS Championship game last season — and peaking at 20.5%. ESPN offered viewers 12 different ways of seeing the game, including the flagship station, ESPN2, ESPNU and nine other options on ESPN3.com.
The University of Louisville is scheduled to receive approximately $17.1 million annually as a member of the ACC as a result of the conference’s 15-year $240 million contract with ESPN. That could be possibly be higher, with two ACC teams participating in the lucrative Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl.
The schools don’t get any extra money based on whether they win or lose in the playoffs, although the coaches have some nice financial incentives. That’s okay. UofL couldn’t buy that kind of exposure for $17 million, but it is possible to achieve it on the playing field.
Some earth moving equipment is already on the scene at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, with some of the preliminary work being done on the Thornton’s Center for Academic Excellence for University of Louisville athletes.
The ongoing work will inevitably affect the current main entrance at the south end of PJCS during the 2015 season, requiring special preparations for the secondary entrances of the stadium. The metal fence will have to come down, of course, and some tailgaters may need to quit partying earlier to get to their seats in time for kickoff.
At least one architectural rendering (below) appears to indicate that the south end will continue to be the main entrance. Ground-floor walkways through the center of the facility will provide fans with some interaction and appreciation for the the new center.
The exterior of the academic center will be striking, adding a unique and majestic new look to the stadium. The 40,000-square-foot facility will have tutorial space, laboratories, and offices and classrooms to serve more than 750 student-athletes across the university’s 23 sports.
Vice President of Athletics Tom Jurich has indicated that construction probably will begin in late March, with completion expected in time for the 2015-16 academic year.
Another new year, halfway through the first year in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
What this observer realized in the moments following the University of Louisville football team’s loss to Georgia in the Belk Bowl, a 37-14 blowout, was that the defeat was a bump in the road. That UofL had exceeded expectations the past season, with a new coaching staff, injuries to two starting quarterbacks, and seven games without DeVante Parker.
Competitive with such programs as Notre Dame, Clemson and Florida State, confirming that Louisville’s previous successes, which included wins in two BCS bowls, were not aberrations, anomalies, departures from reality.
In the past, an embarrassing loss to a team like Georgia would have been devastating, a major setback in the overall progress of UofL’s athletic program, making it more difficult to schedule programs with perceived stronger traditions, a hindrance to Louisville’s efforts to join a better conference. But those are no longer concerns with Louisville in the ACC, which guarantees the schedule will continue to be respectable and offer opportunities for UofL to compete for national championships.
It could be argued that with Louisville’s new conference affiliation the win meant much more for Georgia. A win over an ACC team instead of a Big East program. Not that that makes any easier for the ACC to digest, especially with Clemson’s 40-6 rout of Oklahoma, Georgia Tech’s 49-34 win over Mississippi State, and Notre Dame beating LSU 31-28.
Don’t get me wrong. The loss to Georgia, especially by such a lopsided margin, was depressing, suggesting that UofL football still has a long way to go and could get off to an embarrassing start in the opening game against Auburn next season. But having an ACC schedule assures that Louisville will not be locked out of the process as in the past.