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Football loses second game in a row to Connecticut
By John Brady–
In the first quarter, the Cards only claimed one first down. However, Uconn’s offense wasn’t much more impressive.
The only points in the first quarter came from a Uconn field goal that hit the upright and banked through like a layup in a basketball game, bringing the score to 3-0. There was a pick six by Uconn at the end of the first quarter that was overturned after review.
The second quarter was a disaster for Louisville’s linebacker core. Uconn sophomore running back, Lyle Mccombs, made it look easy to run the ball numerous times down field for big gains. Mccombs would then set up his teammate Nick Williams for a short, three yard score to extend the Huskies lead to 10-0. Before the first half ended, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater went down with a wrist injury, which would sideline him until halfway through the third quarter. Coach Charlie Strong said he broke his left wrist after the game but that Bridgewater would still play against Rutgers on Thursday.
In the second half, the Louisville defense was energized and stalemated the Uconn offense much like the Huskies had done to the Cards all game long. With senior Will Stein in at quarterback, the Cards had a few dropped balls and were unable to pick up the offense; thus, an injured Bridgewater had to come back into the game. Even with Bridgewater’s return, the 3rd quarter was nothing but a punting duel between the two teams. In the early minutes of the 4th quarter, Louisville finally broke up the shutout when freshman kicker John Wallace’s 36-yard field goal snuck in the left upright, bringing the score to 10-3.
The offenses continued their stale trends until the one minute mark in the 4th quarter, when Louisville’s offense first looked alive. Starting on their own eight yard line, the Cards used big plays from Eli Rogers and Jeremy Wright to get Louisville down to the goal line with twenty seconds left to play.
Then, on second and goal, the Cards finally found the end zone when Bridgewater hit Devante Parker for a five yard score, sending Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium into a frenzy as the score came to 10-10. Uconn then ran out the clock and the teams went to overtime.
In the first overtime, Bridgewater went down with what looked like a serious leg injury, after the game it was diagnosed a small ankle case.
Louisville kicked a field goal to capture the lead at 13-10. Uconn would then go cold and have to settle for a field goal after a near Louisville interception on third down. That dropped interception would have given the Cards the win; instead Uconn drilled the field goal.
The Huskies wasted no time scoring in three plays on their first possession in second overtime. Backup quarterback Johnny McEntee found Shakim Phillips for a short score, making the score 20-13. Louisville in similar fashion scored on their first play when injured Teddy Bridgewater re-entered the game.
On the first play, Teddy found Parker for a 25 yard score 20-20. Louisville would then get the ball to start 3rd overtime and moved quickly down to the goal line. In the play of the game, Bridgewater tried to throw a fade route to Parker much like he did to tie the game in the last minute of the 4th quarter. But this time, the Connecticut defender was ready and intercepted the ball, giving the Huskies the chance to win it with a field goal. They did exactly that on their second play sending the 19th ranked Cardinals into shock with a 23-20 win in Louisville.
After the game, Louisville’s head coach Charlie Strong was very agitated with his Football team.
“Its tough when you lose one like that,” he said. “We have to play better.”
He did reiterate after the game that even tough the Cardinals lost today they still have a lot to play for on Thursday against Rutgers. Because Rutgers lost to Pittsburgh on Saturday, the Cards and the Scarlet Knights will play for the Big East championship and a spot in the leagues BCS bowl tie in.
“The goal is to finish out the season the right way,” Strong said.
Photo: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal