While cleaning up the wind storm damage around the Parrish House this weekend, it was inevitable, with Louisville’s next football game against UConn, that talk would quickly turn to memories of the “fair catch” that completely turned the momentum in last season’s 21-17 loss at Hartford. They go at it again Friday night at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Tom N: ” First, it was an incredibly long trip to get to the game from Manhattan. We left five hours before kickoff and arrived midway thru the first quarter. Friday afternoon trying to leave New York…traffic jams everywhere … howling rainstorms on the freeway and we couldn’t find the game anywhere on the bus radio for the longest time. Finally, we got into the parking lot, flagged down a couple of state troopers and they guided us into the area where buses parked. We arrived just shortly after the UofL Cheerleaders and walked into the stadium dressed in our rain gear right into a howling group of UConn students who definitely weren’t showing us any southern hospitality. We made it to our seats, and an almost eerie mist hung over the stadium, light rain and wet metal bleachers to sit on.
We weren’t in PJCS, that was for sure.”
Tom D: “I actually missed the controversial punt return, I had gone to the concession stands to grab a hot dog and a soda and hear the roar from inside the stadium. A UConn fan, listening through his head set, told me that the Huskies had scored on a punt return, but the announcers were saying that it might be reviewed. Then, he told me the play would stand, and there had been some controversy on whether it was a fair catch or not. I heard a lot more about it when I got back to the seats, and how obvious the fair catch signal was. I called a friend back in Louisville watching to TV and she told me it was the biggest blown call in the history of college football, and a play like that was not one subject to review. I handed my soft drink to one of the people sitting with me and went off to buy something a little stronger.
“It was obvious, no doubt about it.The guy waved his hand, Powell stopped pursuit and then the guy takes off with the ball. Pure and simple dead ball, fair catch called. They could probably hear me on the field, I was so upset. It’s a shame that a blown call like that has to change the momentum and nature of a game. The guy taunting and laughing on the sidelines (punt returner Larry Taylor) didn’t make it any better. He knew he cheated and got away with it.”
Tim J: “I really don’t remember much of the game after that point, I was so upset. We walked back to the bus, scores of UConn fans and students celebrating, some taunting us, and I just wanted to get back to the hotel room, take a shower and go to bed. It’s a little hole in the wall stadium up there, the fans were rude and the lines were long for everything. Just a another disappointing loss in a long season last year. I think I’ll pass on a return trip in ’09.”
I hate to be Ms. Obvious here, but it’s clear that a lot of Cardinal fans are still carrying a grudge about last year’s game and are seeking some payback this year. The UConn team that comes into PJCS has had some close games and no longer has the graduated punt returner Larry Taylor, but they’ve only lost once and will be another formidable test for the Cards. And, it’s on Friday night again this year. ESPN will be there again. Poetic justice would be for Bilal Powell to go down on punt coverage, slobber knock the returner into Oldham County and scoop up the fumble and carry it in for a score….running over a referee on the way.
I’ll just settle for a win, no rain and good referees this time.