The Cards finally took the field for the first time of the 2012 season and they started the year off on the right note. Teddy Bridgewater and the UofL rushing attack were sensational in leading Louisville to a convincing 32-14 victory over rival Kentucky in a game that was never really in doubt. Once again, the team that won the rushing battle won the game. Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry each rushed for over 100 yards and combined for 4 touchdowns. John Wallace added a chip shot field goal from 22 yards to complete the scoring.
As a unit, I was very impressed with the UofL offense. They did not open it up as much as I was hoping, but they didn’t have to. The Cards gashed Kentucky with the run game and once it was apparent the Cats could not stop the run, there was no need to abandon it. As I mentioned earlier, Perry and Wright both rushed for over 100 yards, but they also averaged 6.8 yards (Perry) and 4.8 yards (Wright) per carry.
The reason they were able to run so effectively was because of the offensive line. A group a certain UK defensive lineman said they didn’t think was that good, opened up holes all day and allowed the Cards to control the line of scrimmage. As well as Wright and Perry ran the ball, the credit goes to the big hogs up front.
But the man who really controlled the game was quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Teddy completed 19-21 passes, one of which was a throw away, for 232 yards. He spread the ball out nicely by finding nine different receivers and frustrated the UK defense by keeping plays alive with his feet while keeping his eyes down the field. There’s been a lot of hype about Teddy this year and quite frankly, he did nothing to quiet that talk. This kid is a star.
Defensively, the Cards have some work to do. While they did hold Kentucky under 100 yards rushing, they did allow UK quarterback Maxwell Smith to throw for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns. UofL did force two UK turnovers, but never was able to get pressure on Smith consistently, which is a big part of what Charlie Strong and Vance Bedford want to do. The Cards must improve on pressuring the quarterback.
I thought the secondary was pretty good for the most part. There were a few times I felt the UofL cornerbacks gave too big of a cushion, particularly on third down situations, but that could be a product of not wanting the ball to get thrown over their head. They made Kentucky grind out drives by throwing underneath. You can’t it wasn’t successful, the Cats only scored 14 points.
-First, let’s address the commentary of Rod Gilmore. UofL fans have known this for years, but it bears repeating, he’s horrible.
-No one stood out in the receiving group, but that may be how it is this year. Teddy has so many targets to choose from, it very well could be a different guy each week. Damian Copeland and Andrell Smith led the receivers against UK with 4 catches each, while DeVante Parker added 3 catches for 57 yards.
-Running backs/special teams coach Kenny Carter received a 15 yard celebration penalty following UofL denying UK on their fake punt attempt. That made me laugh, not sure Charlie Strong found it as funny though.
-Finally, there has been much talk about Strong’s decision to put in Will Stein and sit Teddy. Strong explained his decision by saying Stein works his butt off and deserved to play. I agree and disagree with that decision. I agree Stein deserves to play, but I would’ve liked to see Teddy get another series or two before pulling him. Remember, even though Teddy played a lot last year, he’s still a young player.
The Cards are on a bit of a short week as they return to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium next Saturday at 3:30 against Missouri State. We’ll have our preview up later in the week.
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