Radcliff churns for 146 yards, Louisville outlasts Virginia

Nobody would have been surprised had the Louisville-Virginia football game come down to a field goal again. The first three games between the teams had been decided by field goals, exhilarating for the victors, heartbreaking for the losers.

So when Virginia goes for an onside kick, trailing by seven points with 51 seconds to go, and manages to recover the ball, one can’t be blamed for thinking here we go again.

Virginia is offsides on the kickoff, however, and has to kick again. No last minute heroics, no last second miracles. This time the ball is covered by Louisville.  No need or reason for any field goals.

Kyle Bolin
Kyle Bolin

UofL will win 38-31 to tie the all-time series with the Cavaliers at 2-2. The sixth win in last seven games this season, becoming bowl eligible in front of a crowd of 51,233 fans at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Kyle Bolin calling the signals for UofL a second game in a row, feeling a lot more pressure from Virginia, coughing up the ball a couple of times late, endangering his team. Bolin would still manage to complete only 10 of 21 passing attempts for 139 yards and a touchdown.

Clinging to a win, sparing Bobby Petrino much second guessing. But there was one memorable series involving Bolin’s quarterback competition.

Backup quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Reggie Bonnafon were both on the field during one series of downs in the second quarter. Jackson would rush 45 yards on his one snap, setting up a 20-yard touchdown pass from Bonnafon to Jaylen Smith.

What Bolin does that they haven’t done, however, is to get his running backs going. Brandon Radcliff rushing for 146 yards and two touchdowns while averaging over seven yards per carry. UofL’s offense would gain 266 yards on the ground, the second best rushing output this season.

Visions of last-second field goals were unavoidable with 8:30 to go in the fourth quarter with score tied at 24-24. That was before James Quick forced Virginia’s Olamide Zaccheaus to fumble on a punt return. A UofL recovery leading to a one-yard touchdown by UofL’s L. J. Scott two plays later.

Louisville emerging with a seven-point win, providing some welcome relief from all those last second field goals.

Here’s the view of L.J. Scott’s touchdown from Row Z in Section 234:

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.