Those road games this Cardinal Football season embody missed opportunity. Late collapse, missed opportunity.
On Saturday Night in Boston, Louisville found itself in a similar scenario. Down 13-3, fresh off of a 21-point heart-breaking collapse in a failed upset bid of Florida State, the Cards were looking at a similar result as what they had done on the road previously in ACC play. Losing on the road.
This was after UofL squandered an opening play Interception from Gerod Holliman and settled for a FG after a false start penalty on the 1-yard line. Following a 12-play, 64-yard Touchdown Drive by Boston College, following a fumble by Brandon Radcliff at the 2-yard line, following a botched kick/catch interference call that would have given the Cards the ball, which led to a quick 4-play, 71 yard Touchdown drive that gave Boston College a 13-3 lead.
Everything had gone wrong for Louisville in the 1st 16 minutes…….. and it got worse before it got better. The Cards had driven down inside the 3-yard line for the 3rd time in 4 possessions and left the field without points. At the 8:14 mark in the 2nd quarter UofL had just 3 points despite three trips inside the Boston College 5-yard line. THREE POINTS.
The game started 13-3 with Boston College leading, it ended 38-19 with a Louisville win. The Cards went on a 35-6 run starting with the drive beginning with 6:03 remaining in the 2nd quarter, and they did most of it WITHOUT starting Quarterback Will Gardner who left the game in the 2nd quarter with a knee injury.
DeVante Parker Deep Pass. Brandon Radcliff TD. Sheldon Rankins Sack. Stacy Thomas Blocked Punt. TD Pass from Bonnafon to DeVante. That is all it took for the Cards to take the lead back from Boston College before halftime. This is the same team that 9 days ago left Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium deflated after allowing FSU to make a 21-point comeback, the same team that has two losses to its credit thanks to failed late game execution. On the road, down 13-3 with everything going wrong Louisville prevailed. But they weren’t done.
Instead of playing this game close. Louisville blew it open. The Cards began the 3rd quarter with a 14-play, 75 yard TD drive that drained 7:46 off the clock to take a 24-13 lead. Reggie Bonnafon would throw 4 passes on the drive, completing 3. Louisville would NOT attempt another pass in the game.
Another Gerod Holliman netted the Cards a Brandon Radcliff TD. Then Sheldon Rankins intercepted Tyler Murphy in a goal line stand. And YET ANOTHER Gerod Holliman Interception set up a Reggie Bonnafon rush TD.
Team effort. Goal line offense fixed. Goal line Defense still one of the best in the country. This time though there was no late game collapse on the road. The gaffes that occurred previously in the contest were overcome and Louisville rolled on to 7-3 on the season and will finish 5-3 in its inaugural season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Now Louisville looks to close out its season in its final two games on the road at Notre Dame and at home for the season finale & senior night vs. Kentucky.
Louisville showed growth during this season of increasing schedule difficulty. The Cards will finish 7-5, 8-4, or 9-3, but I think we can all agree that the Cards showcased their maturity.
Lessons Learned. Corners Turned.