Louisville football defeats Rutgers, rivalry ends
By Noah Allison
With Louisville heading into the ACC and Rutgers into the Big 10, Thursday night’s
matchup proved to be the last conference rivalry game between these foes. U of L’s 24-10
victory closed the book on the Cardinal-Scarlet Knight rivalry. The past games may not
have captured the attention and imagination of the country as a whole, but folks in The
Ville and New Brunswick, N. J. will always hold dear the memories of beating each other,
and shudder in the painful memories of losing.
“It’s just a constant battle, it’s the respect for the football programs, and that’s a good
football team,” Head Coach Charlie Strong said. “You’ll miss this game, because it’s a fun
game and a tough battle. And you like it when we go there and they come here.”
In a season where the number eight Cardinals have flashed offensive brilliance and
lived off of defensive abuse, the ESPN primetime game was a chance for the Cardinals to
showcase their abilities to the nation. At a time in the second quarter U of L was winning
17-3 and it seemed like the route was quickly coming on, but its Rutgers-Louisville and the
Cards couldn’t land a haymaker early.
With leading receiver DeVante Parker sidelined with a shoulder injury, the offense
struggled to hit the big play and spread the field.
But junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater still threw for 304 yards, went 21-32, threw
for two touchdowns and was the second leading rusher on the night with 32 yards. Senior
wide receiver Damian Copeland had a career-high eight catches for 115 yards and bailed
Teddy out on multiple third downs.
“Copeland, he is Mr. Reliable in this offense. He’s always in the right place at the right
time and he’s a detail player and it just showed tonight with his performance. He lays it all
on the line for this team every week. He’s a guy who’s been in this system for four or five
years now and he just understands everything we’re doing conceptually and he applies it on
the field,” Bridgewater said.
Senior running back Senorise Perry, carried the Cardinals through tough times with 104
yards rushing and a touchdown on just 13 rushing attempts.
The energy, provided by Card Nation, kept Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium rocking all
night, and the Cardinal defense was rocking Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova all night as
well. Nova completed 19 of 36 pass attempts for 202 yards. In the process he was sacked
eight times and threw four interceptions.
“Tonight’s performance was amazing. Even with eight sacks, we missed about four or
five. When you can put pressure on the quarterback and you can just rush four, you feel
like you have a pretty good front. I think Marcus Smith and Lorenzo Mauldin playing the
outside are two of the best defensive ends in the country,” Strong said.
The Rutgers rivalry provided games that will linger in the story of U of L football years
into the future.
An unspeakable loss to Rutgers in 2006 ended U of L’s National Championship hopes. A
hobbled Teddy Bridgewater limping off the bench in 2012 to erase the Cards deficit and get
U of L to its second BCS bowl appearance.
Although Rutgers got the ultimate laugh in that upset years ago, Charlie Strong closed out
the series the only way U of L fans would be satisfied, by winning.