By Aaron Williams–
True freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater waited until the fourth quarter to throw his two and only interceptions of the game, depriving the University of Louisville of a victory over the University of Marshall in a contest that the Cards had come from behind to lead. The first pick allowed Marshall senior quarterback Rakeem Cato to set his offense up on the Louisville 30-yard line late in the tight game. Three downs and one defensive pass interference penalty later, the Herd was set up on the Louisville 8-yard line. From there it was a simple 4-yard toss from Cato to sophomore receiver CJ Crawford to put the Herd up 17-13 on the young Cards.
The second pick snuffed out Louisville’s hopes of countering the four point swing in the lead and allowed Marshall to take a knee and run the clock down.
“Offensively, we can’t turn the ball over. We cannot have penalties at critical times. We have to be able to run the ball. Look at us on defense, don’t give them the big play. Go stop them. We didn’t do that today,” said head coach Charlie Strong in his comments to the media following the loss.
“The biggest thing is we have to be a better team at home. Coach mentioned that we are 5-2 on the road since Coach Strong has been here, but we are like 2-5 at home and it’s all about defending your home turf. The fans did their part, they were loud for us….we just have to win the game,” said Bridgewater of the loss to Marshall. The young quarterback recorded his first collegiate start against the Thundering Herd on Saturday.
The Cardinals’ defense had its moments, including a blocked field goal attempt at the 7:46 mark in the third quarter by senior defensive end William Savoy. However, Marshall senior kicker Tyler Warner would come back with a minute to play in the third and draw the Herd within three points of the Cards with a successful field goal from 24 yards out making the score 13-10 Louisville.
Savoy voiced his opinion that the loss was a reflection of a lack of leadership on the young Cardinals squad.
“It starts with leadership… me as a senior and the other seniors, we have to get it going. If everybody comes out low, as a senior you have to bring the energy to practice, and we didn’t do that this week,” said Savoy.
Following a failed field goal by the Thundering Herd, the Cards expanded their lead to 13-7 with under a minute to play in the first half. Bridgewater found Victor Anderson on a 41-yard pass for a touchdown that was made possible by an impressive juke from the senior running back. The resulting field goal attempt was blocked by Marshall.
The Marshall defense at times certainly resembled a full on stampede that frustrated Bridgewater in the first half. Louisville found the offensive rhythm that Coach Strong placed such an emphasis on late in the same half when Bridgewater opted for a nine yard run that ended in a lunge into the end zone for six. Senior Cardinal kicker Chris Philpott would tack on the extra point to make the score 7-7. The tying touchdown came after Bridgewater’s touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Jarrett Davis was stripped away by an illegal shift penalty two plays prior.
Freshman Marshall receiver Jazz King was the recipient of a 2-yard touchdown pass from Cato at the end of a 79-yard drive that put the Thundering Herd up 7-0 on the Cards early in the first quarter.
The Cards travel to Chapel Hill to face the Tar Heels of North Carolina this Saturday, Oct. 8 at noon.
Photo: Deepa Singh/The Louisville Cardinal