By Weston Payne —
The Governor’s Cup returned to Lexington after No. 15 Kentucky (9-3) pummeled football (2-10) at Cardinal Stadium. The Wildcats won easily 56-10 over an undisciplined Cardinal team.
UK’s 46-point victory is the largest of the modern era since they topped U of L by 73 points in 1922. Louisville becomes the first Power 5 conference school ever to surrender at least 50 points in five consecutive games.
“It’s been a tough year, you never want to go out losing nine straight [games],” interim coach Lorenzo Ward said.
On top of losing to their arch rival, the blowout finally marks the end of a completely ruinous season. It’s a sad conclusion for the collegiate careers of 11 seniors, nine of which depart as starters (Jaylen Smith, Micky Crum, Lukayus McNeil, Linwood Foy, Kenny Thomas, Jeremy Smith, Dee Smith, Henry Famurewa and Cornelius Sturghill).
Following the defeat, Crum was seen lingering on the field for over ten minutes. The tight end received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during the contest and remained on the sidelines despite Ward attempting to direct him to the locker room. Crum explained his actions on social media.
“Hardest thing ever…just don’t ever want to be done with this game!” Crum tweeted postgame.
Kentucky’s offense played like a juggernaut with 601 total yards. Sophomore quarterback Terry Wilson completed 74 percent of passes and totaled 340 yards with four touchdowns.
Louisville ended the game with 305 yards of offense, along with a total of 12 costly penalties for 134 yards.
Safety Dee Smith touched on the large sum of personal fouls postgame, several of which cost the team crucial yardage: “We have to hold each other accountable for those selfish penalties.”
Overall, the Cardinals were never players in the ball game. They had opportunities to turn things around but never capitalized with a lackluster offense and poor defense.
It was a start typical to this season with back-to-back three-and-outs for U of L. UK responded with consecutive rushing scores for an early 14-0 lead.
Quarterback Malik Cunningham kick-started the Louisville offense with a 75-yard touchdown run. The freshman gave his team a fighting chance and ignited the home crowd which (up until that point) seemed to be out-cheered by Kentucky fans.
The Wildcats answered with a seven-play, 77-yard drive that ended with running back Benny Snell Jr. scoring on a 24-yard run. The UK junior tore up the U of L defense whenever he could and gave his team a 21-7 lead.
Cunningham led the Cards 60 yards down the field and nearly scored a touchdown. Penalties hindered the score and the offense opted for a field goal, proving their final score of the matchup.
“We shoot ourselves in the foot a lot,” freshman Colin Wilson said.
On the following possessions, Kentucky’s Wilson passed for two touchdowns and a 35-10 score at halftime.
Neither team scored in the third quarter for one of the best stretches of play all season long from the Cardinal defense.
UK continued their march to victory with a touchdown to start the fourth quarter. At this point, U of L lost its drive to compete and allowed two more touchdowns to cement a 56-10 defeat.
“After watching big plays and missed tackles you see players’ minds wandering elsewhere,” Jeremy Smith said on the lack of effort.
The University of Louisville now begins its search for a full-time head coach who can salvage and rebuild a struggling program. Based on previous statements from athletic director Vince Tyra, Card Nation won’t have to wait long for a decision.
Popular candidate Jeff Brohm, former Louisville player and current Purdue head coach, has dodged questions regarding returning to coach for his home city.
“I want Louisville to do what’s best for them,” Brohm said when Purdue became bowl-eligible. “I’m a fan. But right now, I’m the coach at Purdue. This is where I want to be and I like it here.”
You can follow the Louisville Cardinal on twitter @thecardsports.
Photos by Taris Smith, Nancy Hanner, Adrianna Lynch and Jessica Abell / The Louisville Cardinal