To state the obvious: No, the University of Louisville football team’s skin-of-the-teeth 25-23 win over Southern Mississippi will not give coach Steve Kragthorpe any breathing room. Later it will be remembered that Southern Miss was playing without its star quarterback and some key offensive players.
- The observer will swear Kragthorpe winks right into the lens ofÂ Jumbotron camera just before kickoff. What?
- What’s most impressive about the finish is that about 85% of the fans in the crowd of 37,258 are still hanging around.Â Still raising hell through final 30 seconds. Quite different from a week ago.
- Times have changed for U of L football. People showing up to watch a team with a 1-3 won-lost record, a team with a beleaguered coach, a team with more doubting fans than believers. As long as U of L has a chance, fans will rally around, plenty of them.
- Some dreading a conclusion where the outcome depends on Louisville’s kicking game.
- A field goal no less. The barefooted Ryan Payne making a dream come true, punching it through the uprights from 32 yards out.
- But another kicker also plays a pivotal role. Kickoff specialist Chris Philpott maybe making a game-saving tackle in the third quarter on USM’s Tracey Lampley’s 44-yard return.Â No one between Lampley and the goal but Philpott. If USM scores, momentum switches and the game goes down the tube.
- Trent Guy, written off as a kick returner after his latest fumble, returns to good grace with the 64-yard kickoff return. Possibly an example of the “purpose” to which he often alludes.
- The pass from Adam Froman to Scott Long taking forever to get there,Â falling out of orbit into Long’s hands — a 92-yard spectacle if ever there is one.
The coaching controversy and all its ugliness will return soon enough, as will fans aching for wins.