The empty feeling for days leading up to the game, the restless night before, the interminable wait the day of, the rapid heart beat at kickoff: Symptoms of a fan fearful that his team would not be competitive, would not show significant improvement since game one, and would be humiliated by the hated.
All gone. Even though the University of Louisville football team wound up on the short end of a 31-27 score.
Although they would never admit it, even the most hardened pessimists among the fan base were reassessing their expectations. Louisville with a chance to win with the clock running down to zero.
Wasn’t supposed to be like that. The smug look on the Kentucky faithful transitioning to fear, doubt, misgivings. Sorry, neighbors, but Louisville is not going away any time soon. Put the blue flags back in the car trunks, where they belong, beneath the spare tire.
Not a moral victory, not falling prey to that one. But while the game ended with a flurry of profanities, the overall experience was encouraging. If this team plays like it did today, the season may not be so long after all.
- If you’re grading on measurable improvement, give coach Steve Kragthorpe a few points in the plus column. Nice to be able to do that for a change.
- Give Victor Anderson the ball on critical third-and-one downs. Bilal Powell is still running sideways too often.
- Darius Ashley, repeating for the 15th time, was the leading running back in the state of Ohio . They play serious football.<
- UnbelievableÂ improvement from kickers Corey Goettsche and Chris Philpott, especially Philpott. Maybe those high school stats were not misleading after all.
- Justin Burke running left, throwing right, is not natural, nor effective most of the time. Nice to see a quarterback with some inclination to run when necessary.
- Johnny Patrick was overdue in picking off an interception. More to come<
- Cameron Graham returns respect to the tight end with a couple of the best hands available. After Scott Long, of course.
No injuries, not that we know of anyway. FansÂ are always the last to know.
There were, of course, a few costly mistakes but there were plenty by both teams (including UK’s clock keeper). Overall, however, it’s a good starting point. Continued improvement is the objective, overriding inspired play against an arch rival.