(photo courtesy @UofLFlyingCard)
The last ACC game of the season did not go without any drama. This one went back and forth with the Cards and Eagles throwing blow for blow. But after some great defensive play and some great play by the freshman quarterback it was the Cardinals who would emerge victorious 38-19. They now move into the lead in this series 4-3. With the win the Cardinals finish their inaugural ACC football season 5-3 and in 3rd place of the Atlantic division. The Cards still have a shot at getting Coach Petrino another 9 win season. His record at UofL is now 48-12 overall.
The Cardinals showed a lot of moxie tonight and showed just what they are made of. With our top receiver out, our top defensive player out, our starting QB out, they could have very easy folded up the tents after some things weren’t going their way early. But they stayed the course and emerged with a very good win on the road to finish out their ACC season. We have grown used to watching our football teams step up and create big moments for themselves over the last few years. That is a part of the culture now that doesn’t appear to be going away. Cardinal Football is a winner.
The offense got off to a slow start tonight and was especially bleak in the red-zone. But Coach Petrino stayed the course and with Gardner out things started to pick up late in the second quarter and really started off well to start the 3rd quarter when Reggie Bonnafon lead a heroic drive down the field on 14 plays covering 75 yards. He topped it off with a touchdown pass to Eli Rodgers. This drive would put the Cardinals ahead for good. Bonnafon would finish the game with a gutsy 69 yards and two touchdowns. He really did show a lot of heart tonight, and while there is still a long way to go with him he proved tonight that he is on the right path. The offense would put up 423 yards on a very good BC defense. I have to give a big shout-out to the Cardinals offensive line that held their own again tonight.
The other offensive stand-out tonight was DeVante Parker. He recorded his third straight 100-yard performance and fifth dating back to last season. He finished the game with 8 receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown. DeVante is now Louisville’s leading receiver and has only played in 3 games this season. We can only assume what would have been had he been healthy for the whole schedule.
The Cardinals defense really put out another great effort holding a very good run game to just 166 yards on the night and they really locked things down when they needed to late in the 4th quarter with a big goal-line stand. The guy leading the way for these big stops was Gerod Holliman. Gerod had 3 big interceptions making him the all-time leader in a season at Louisville and #6 all-time in a career. At 13 interceptions he is just one away from reaching the NCAA record for a single season. Our guys on the defensive line really came through tonight as well.
It seemed like our first season in the ACC went by pretty fast. Cardinal fans have to be really pleased at how it ended. This team can really build off the momentum of this win and carry it into the last two games. A nine win season and finishing the season ranked in the top 25 are still very possible. And each win just upgrades the Bowl game. I know I’m really happy with how the team fought their way through the ups and downs and am very excited to watch this program continue to grow under the leadership of the current coaching staff. Two games and a Bowl left to cheer for this group of young men who have given their all for us this year. Let’s enjoy them… Go Cards!