Kyle Bolin is back from obscurity, one more time, refusing to go away, bringing with him the kind of offense University of Louisville fans expect from a Bobby Petrino-coached team.
Bolin, remember, has been relegated to the backup of the backup quarterback for most of his career at UofL despite being ranked as a four-star prospect coming out of Lexington Catholic High School. Most of his playing time coming after injuries to other signal callers. Apparently not making much of an impression during practice sessions, he more than makes up for it during actual games.
So there was Bolin again, pressed into action against Syracuse after injuries to quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Reggie Bonnafon. And there he was playing with a confidence unseen for a UofL quarterback this season, leading his team to an easy 41-17 win over Syracuse before 46,158 fans at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Putting up the kind of numbers not seen from a Louisville quarterback against a major opponent since the Teddy Bridgewater days, completing 24 of 35 passes for 362 yards and three touchdowns. Those statistics are impressive even against a team like Syracuse that has lost five straight games. Bolin made it look easy, refusing to let his team play down to Syracuse’s level.
The ground game was back again, UofL running backs getting through the line of scrimmage for a change, picking up chunks of yardage, a clip of seven yards per carry. Break-away runs, unseen heretofore this season. So refreshing to see again.
Brandon Radcliff, respawned and reinvigorated, resembling the running back everyone expected to see this season, refusing to go down. He never got into the end zone but he punished the Syracuse defense with 117 yards, including a jaunt of 46 yards in the third quarter. He would add 24 more on three other carries, only to be lifted for a breather with his team on the Syracuse four-yard line.
Looked for a while like it was going to be Jeremy Smith’s day, with the freshman picking up more than half of his 71 rushing yards and a four-yard touchdown in the first quarter. However, Smith would fumble on Syracuse’s three-yard line in the second quarter, the fumble leading to Syracuse’s first touchdown and Petrino looking for a running back who could hang on to a football.
At the time, the pace was suggesting still another grind for the Cardinals. UofL badly needed some momentum, trailing 10-7, and it would be provided by cornerback Tremaine Washington. He would pick off an errant Eric Dungey pass and race 39 yards to the end zone, putting Louisville ahead to stay.
If Kyle Bolin was a nightmare for Syracuse, Tremaine Washington was a close second. In addition to the interception, the sophomore from Miami registered a total of 11 solo tackles, an assist and a sack.
No hesitation from Bobby Petrino after this game about who will be the starting quarterback against Virginia next week. Kyle Bolin makes his offense look good again.