By John Brady–
Last Friday night, the Cardinals played host to the University of Cincinnati. The
atmosphere was rainy and cold, but that didn’t stop 53,000 Louisville fans from seeing the Cards come back from a 4th quarter deficit to defeat Cincinnati and reclaim the Keg of Nails trophy. It was the first time since 2007 that the Cards had defeated the Bearcats and the first time under Coach Charlie Strong.
The scoring started quickly for the Bearcats when place kicker Tony Miliano hit a
47 yard field goal on Cincinnati’s first possession to make it 3-0. On the next drive using big plays from Teddy Bridgewater, Devante Parker and Andrell Smith, the Cards were able to answer. Junior Jeremy Wright punched in the score from 1 yard out to give the Cards the lead 7-3.
Teddy Bridgewater threw his 4th interception of the year deep in Cardinal territory to Cincinnati defender Maalik Bomar to give the Bearcats another great scoring opportunity. The Bearcats wasted no time having quarterback Legaux run 7 yards in to extend the Bearcat lead 17-7.
Teddy Bridgewater orchestrated another successful drive after the Cincinnati score. With a clutch quarterback sneak play to convert on 4th down, Louisville was destined to find the end zone. Two plays later, Louisville running back would cut the lead 17-14 with 4 minutes to play in the first half. Louisville kicker John Wallace missed a 57 yard field goal right before halftime to make it 17-14 heading to the break. This was Wallace’s first ever missed field goal.
Cincinnati would score quickly again to begin the third quarter. With a 10 play,
73 yard drive the Bearcats made it look easy against the Cards. Abernathy scored again 24-14 Cincinnati. Teddy Bridgewater got Louisville all the way down to the Bearcat 10 yard line. Louisville would not convert a first down and had to settle for a successful John Wallace field goal 24-17.
Early in the 4th quarter Louisville found themselves on their own 7 yard line. Bridgewater on the first play would find junior Damien Copeland 51 yards down field for a big play. Copeland had to make an impressive diving catch to receive the ball. Two plays later Bridgewater found Devante Parker in the back of the end zone for the game tying touchdown 24-24. Parker’s catch was ruled incomplete at first, but after review, it was clear that he had one foot in, and this game was tied. After Cincinnati kicker Miliano missed a 45 yard kick the Cards got a chance to reclaim the lead.
After a short pass to Damian Copeland Louisville reclaimed the lead. Bridgewater found Devante Parker 10 yards down the sideline for the first down, but Parker was not done. Devante made the Bearcat defender miss and cut back to the middle of the field where no Cincinnati player would touch him till he hit the end zone sending the raucous Louisville crowd into a frenzy 31-24.
With little time left, Legaux and the bearcats used some big passing plays to knot
things up quickly with under a minute to play 31-31. Louisville would run out the clock to send the game to overtime. After winning the coin toss and electing to go on defense, the Cards got a big play. After two unsuccessful runs, Legaux would throw his third interception of the game to Louisville cornerback Terrell Floyd. Now all Louisville had to do was score to win the game. After 5 running plays by Senorise Perry, Louisville kicker Wallace lined up to win the game. After a timeout before a bad snap spoiled Cincinnati’s hopes, Wallace drilled the 35 yard field goal to win the game 34-31.
The Louisville crowd was very impressive considering all the rain and how cold it was inside the stadium. The crowd erupted in excitement after the Cards were able to reclaim the Keg of Nails for the first time under Charlie Strong.
Before the game Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux said he was better than
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. After the game Bridgewater stated, “The W says it all.”
Louisville will continue their home stand against Temple this Saturday. Louisville, at 3-0, moves to second place in Big East standings behind Rutgers at 4-0. Kickoff for this Saturday’s game will be at 12:00 p.m. and the game will be televised on ABC.
Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal