Fifth Year WR Damian Copeland was tired of it. He watched five occurrences (one as a commit, the other as a redshirt) of losing on Senior Night. Five years had gone by, Five years that Louisville failed to win on Senior Day. He recalled each vividly, five chances where Louisville could leave their Seniors off with a good note, five years in which they failed to do so.
He wasn’t going to let that happen today. Louisville (10-1) broke the curse – despite blowing a big third quarter lead – and underwhelming defeated Memphis, 24-17
“It was big,” Copeland noted. “We couldn’t let it happen like that again. Because I had sit through them all, WVU, Pitt, Rutgers, Uconn. I didn’t want that to happen today and we went out and got the job done.”
It was Louisville’s first win on Senior Day since 2007. It was a win that gave Louisville it’s first back-to-back 10-win season in school history. The Louisville Senior Class that was honored today will be known for many things. They went 21-3 in their last 24 games (and counting). They accomplished things that many viewed as impossible when they committed to Louisville.
“We laid some tradition down. We put our foot in the ground. We understood that 7-6 is not acceptable around here,” Senior DT Brandon Dunn noted. “Now it’s up to the other guys to go on and continue that tradition.”
Now they can be known as the ones who ‘broke the curse’ of Louisville Football Senior Day. It’s a tribute to them and what they have given to this football program.
“I’m so happy for this team, it wasn’t pretty but we got the win,” Head Coach Charlie Strong noted. “I’m happy that we could go out there and get it for those Seniors. They’ve given so much to this program and now they get the chance to go to a fourth straight bowl game.”
Preston Brown Plays With Heavy Heart
Louisville LB Preston Brown needed little motivation to get up for this one. A Senior already, he had ample motivation to go out in perfom on his final day playing in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. On Saturday morning, he got a little bit more when he was informed that his Grandfather, John Brown, had passed away.
“It was an emotional morning,” Brown stated. “This morning I found out my Grandfather died. It was breathtaking to see my Father out of the field. I know he’s up there watching me, he would always turn on our games and fall asleep with a smile on his face.”
Preston Brown channeled those emotions into one of the best games of his career. He finished with 9 tackles a fumble recovery, and a TD for a score. The TD was a 32-yard run that included some fancy footwork by himself. Once getting into the endzone, Brown went down to his knees in prayer.
“I’m gonna keep it to myself what I said,” Brown noted. “But I always say a prayer when I score a touchdown, today it was most definitely a little something more special.”
The touchdown by Preston Brown was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the day. It surprised no one, including his Head Coach, that he would score once getting into the open field.
“He was a running back in High School, so I knew he had some moves,” Strong noted. “I thought he was gonna do that dance when he scored.”
Disappointing Fan Turnout
The Louisville Fan base has accomplishments many things in 2013. They gave the school their first ever sell-out for every home game and successfully made 2013 the most attended season in Cardinal Football History. Today wasn’t there best moment.
The announced attendance was 46,421 but by the fourth quarter, Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium had an ample amount of empty seats. It’s something that was disheartening to Louisville Head Coach Charlie Strong but he knows he can do little about it.
“Maybe one day will get it fixed,” The Head Coach said with disappointment. “Until then, we can only just welcome the ones that come.”
It’s disappointing for a multitude of reasons. It was a day to honor a group that has given so much to the University of Louisville Football team. It was day to honor Teddy Bridgewater, who has been quite possibly been the greatest QB to put on the Louisville Football jersey. Kudos to the fans that came and stayed to the end but the group of Seniors that played their final game today deserved so much more.
Marcus Smith Senior Day Milestone
DE Marcus Smith became the National sack leader today on a sack in the first quarter (maybe briefly depending on what Trent Murphy from Stanford does today). The QB turned DE couldn’t imagined that ever happening his life.
“If somebody would have told me that, I would have said: ‘What are you talking about?'” Smith noted. “I was gonna play offense and that’s the way it was always going to be. But it worked out for the best.”
Smith’s transformation has been quite unbelievable. A relative unknown two years ago and now he may earned a spot on an NFL roster with his performance this season. Marcus Smith has been pretty satisfied with the transition and stated that he ‘wouldn’t have it any other way’. As a Senior, he’ll be remembered as one of the most improved players on the Louisville Defense. It’s been quite a joy watching him grow up and shown today – once again – just how far he has came.
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