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Posted in ACC, Baseball, Basketball, College Football, College Sports, ESPN, Heisman Race, Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals, NCAA Football, University of Louisville

University of Louisville Sports Update

—By Beau Kilpatrick

December 11, 2017

 

Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 2.09.19 PMI must first start by apologizing for not writing an article in quite some time. Graduate school has taken up a lot of my time and I have been working on some interesting projects at the University of Louisville.

With that being said, there is a lot to talk about in the world of Cardinal sports.

The Louisville football program wrapped up there 2017 season by finishing third in the ACC Atlantic, 8-4, behind No. 1 Clemson and No. 24 NC State. The Cardinals will be travelling to Jacksonville, Florida, on December 20, to take on No. 23 Mississippi State in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Both teams are 8-4 and are evenly matched per ESPN.com. U of L can thank junior quarterback Lamar Jackson for their success. Jackson recently finished third in the 2017 Heisman Trophy campaign after winning the award in 2016.

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More on the 2017 Heisman Trophy Ceremony

Third place is confounding at best since Jackson broke many of his previous records this year. He finished the regular season with 4,932 yards, 42 touchdowns, completing 60 percent of his passes, and only throwing six interceptions out of nearly 400 passes. Jackson carried the offense for most of the season but found help with the running game in the latter half of the season in Malik Williams and Reggie Bonafon. This could be why, unlike last season, the Cards have finished strong; winning four of their final five games; including their final game against their in-state rivals, the Kentucky Wildcats, by stomping #BBN 44-17.

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Governor’s Cup Highlights

Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 2.14.50 PMLouisville fans had a lot to cheer about this football season and have one more game to go. However, we have crossed into basketball season and the UK vs. U of L rivalry game will be coming up on Saturday, December 29. The game will be aired on CBS at 1 p.m.

The Louisville basketball program (6-2) has faced numerous challenges in the off-season. The lingering effects of the Katina Powell scandal still hang over the program and a pay-to-play scandal has also been exposed recently. Allegations against freshmen recruit Brian Bowen claim that he and his family were paid $100,000 by ADIDAS to commit to the University of Louisville. Amidst the allegations, hall of fame coach Rick Pitino and celebrated athletic director Tom Jurich have been fired from their positions at the university. Former assistant David Padgett has taken over the reigns, replacing Pitino on the hardwood.

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Head Coach David Padgett

Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 2.23.19 PMDeng Adel is leading the basketball team with 16 points per game and 128 points on the season. Senior Ray Spalding is leading the big men with 9.8 rebounds per game and 14 steals on the season. The seven-footer Anas Mahmoud has 30 blocks in eight games and freshman forward Jordan Nwora is lighting up the rim, making 50% of his three-pointers. More Stats

The University of Louisville has had more than its share of ups and downs in the past few years and the lingering turmoil is far from over. The basketball team will suffer more consequences in the future when they must atone for the mistakes of ADIDAS, Rick Pitino, and Tom Jurich. However, our football team is in great shape, our basketball program is making the best of their current situation, and let’s not forget about our amazing College World Series baseball team—who will be taking the diamond in mid-February under coach Dan McDonnell. Check out the upcoming  baseball schedule.

As always: GO CARDS!! #L1C4!!

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Posted in ACC, Basketball, College Football, College Sports, ESPN, Heisman Race, Journalism, Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals, NCAA Football, Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, University of Louisville

Louisville football offers a welcome distraction

By Beau Kilpatrick—

Lamar Jackson and company gave Louisville fans a much-needed distraction from the federal basketball investigation. The No. 17 Louisville Cardinals demolished the Murray State Racers in 55-10 win Saturday afternoon.

This game, along with last week’s win over Kent State, is considered a “tune-up” game for the Cards. These non-conference games usually appear at the beginning of a season in an effort to boost moral of the players and to get them back into game-mode. However, this year they appear near mid-season. U of L’s schedule will become much more difficult beginning on Thursday when they travel to challenge the No. 24 NC State Wolfpack.

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Lamar Jackson did what he does best, and that is, to be a beast! He collected 349 total yards, 100 on the ground and 249 through the air. Jackson rushed for one touchdown and threw for three. And that was just in one half of football. He was operating with the precision of a skilled surgeon.

 

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Jawon Pass. Photo courtesy of Michael Reeves

Jawon “Puma” Pass started the second half at quarterback for the Cards. Louisville had such a commanding lead at the half, coach Petrino decided to protect his Heisman winner, Jackson, and give the freshman some experience.

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Jawon Pass rushes for a TD

Jawon fumbled his first snap of the half and it was returned for a touchdown by Murray State. But Pass would regain his composure and finish the half with 151 yards and two touchdowns. Jawon “Puma” Pass is the future for the Louisville football program and he will command the team after Lamar Jackson leaves for the NFL, which will most likely be after this season.

With Jaylen Smith out with a hand injury, fans saw some unfamiliar names in the receiving corp. Jackson’s primary target is Smith; however, freshman Dez Fitzpatrick is quickly gaining the trust of No. 8. Fitzpatrick has been a scoring machine this year and grabbed two more scores against the Racers. But it was another freshman, Corey Reed, who shined on Saturday with four catches for 94 yards.

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Louisville’s running game has been a primary focus of concern for the Cards. Other than Jackson, U of L runningbacks have struggled carrying the rock. So, coach Petrino tried out some different options during the “tune-up” game. Seven different backs carried the ball, but it was sophomore Trey Smith that stood out. He rushed 11 times for 67 yards and came into the game with only a minute and a half remaining in the third quarter. That is pretty impressive for only a quarter of play.

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The game was a blowout but it allowed Louisville to experiment with some young players who are battling for playing time. I think the experiment was a success because we have identified some new weapons that Lamar Jackson can use on the field.

No. 17 Louisville Cardinals will challenge No. 24 NC State on the road Thursday night. The game will be broadcasted Thursday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

At halftime, the University of Louisville basketball team was brought onto the field. The fans at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium showed their love and support for these athletes by giving them a huge standing ovation with deafening cheers. It is important for these basketball players to know that the fans, the university, and the city have their back.

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David Padgett was also announced as the new head coach and the fans cheered him as well. However, coach Padgett remained in a suite at the stadium and waved to the cheering fans through the glass. He said that it’s not about him, which is why he did not join the team on the field. He wanted the team to realize that the love and support was solely for them to relish.

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 11.54.10 AMThe game was great. It showed the solidarity that fans have towards this university and gave us a welcoming distraction from the NCAA and FBI investigations. As a member of the U of L community, I can say that we always support our athletes and this university, especially when we need it the most. We are U of L.

As always, GO CARDS!! #L1C4

Posted in ACC, Basketball, College Sports, ESPN, Journalism, KFC YUM! Center, Louisville Cardinals, University of Louisville

The end of an era: Pitino and Jurich fired

By Beau Kilpatrick—

University of Louisville basketball head coach Rick Pitino was fired Wednesday around noon, and Athletic Director Tom Jurich has been “relieved of his duties,” according to WLKY news.

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Rick Pitino (left) and Tom Jurich (right)
The University of Louisville basketball program has found itself in hot water once again. Yesterday (Tuesday, September 26, 2017) at noon, U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim announced details relating to an FBI investigation into a college basketball bribery scandal.

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U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim
The U.S. Justice Department has broken the findings into two tiers. The first tier consists of four schools having been identified in the formal complaint; Auburn, Oklahoma State, University of South California (USC), and Arizona. The assistant coaches associated with these schools have been suspended as the investigation continues to unfold.

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The second tier identifies the University of Louisville and two of its assistant coaches, ADIDAS, and five-star recruit Brian Bowen among others. James Gotto, in charge of global sports marketing with ADIDAS, is charged in the scheme. It is reported that Gotto funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to bribe three players into committing to ADIDAS sponsored schools, mainly, the University of Louisville. The second part is that these athletes would then sign with specific NBA agents after college that would sign the athletes to endorsement deals with ADIDAS.Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 11.56.01 AM

The Louisville basketball brand has been tarnished over the past few years. Fans and the university have suffered through a scandalous affair between Rick Pitino and Karen Sypher in 2003, a stripper and sex scandal from 2010-2014, and now this. The worse part is that the deals made by U of L assistant coaches were going on as the basketball team was receiving its punishment from the NCAA for the Katina Powell scandal. It is reported that undercover FBI agents were involved in the sting operation and planted audio/video recording devices in a Las Vegas hotel room when a meeting occurred in July between ADIDAS representatives and Louisville assistant coaches, where money was exchanged.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 11.19.36 AMADIDAS and U of L have recently agreed to a new deal worth 160 million dollars and that is now in jeopardy. ADIDAS and Louisville may part ways after this incident, which would leave the endorsement door wide open for Nike, Under Armor, and Reebok.

The question is: What is to come of Louisville basketball? Honestly, I believe that the basketball program deserves the infamous “Death Penalty” from the NCAA. There have been too many violations in recent years for anybody to ignore. I think that the program deserves the two-season suspension and four-year probation once reinstated. The entire coaching staff should be released of their duty, including the legendary Rick Pitino and even Athletic Director Tom Jurich. After a hypothetical “Death Penalty,” I think that U of L should hire a promising up-and-coming coach to rebuild the program from the ground up. We need it. We deserve it.

 

Unfortunately, it’s the players that will once again be penalized for actions of the basketball administration. Two years ago we had Damien Lee and Trey Lewis who become the face of sacrifice for the university as they were told that the team was banned from post-season play. They paid the price for the players and coaches that came before them.

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Damion Lee (left) and Trey Lewis (right)
This year’s team will undoubtedly face similar consequences for the actions of the administration. Players like Quentin Snider and Ray Spalding were born and raised in Louisville. They went to Ballard and Trinity High School. They attended Rick Pitino’s youth basketball camps. They bleed red; always have, and always will. But, they will be the ones that suffer the consequences. Their future careers as professional basketball players are on the line and this new scandal could unfortunately damage their draft stock. Other players like V.J. King, Deng Adel, and Anas Mahmoud have embraced Louisville as their home and now they may be considering transferring to another university, where they will have to sit out a year (per NCAA rules) just in hopes of finishing out their college careers and trying to get into the NBA.

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Louisville natives: Quentin Snider (left) and Ray Spalding (right)
Once again, it’s our students, our athletes, our fans, our athletics program, our reputation, and our university that will take the brunt force of the penalties enforced due to the selfish incompetence of a few.

As always, GO CARDS!! #L1C4

Posted in ACC, College Football, College Sports, ESPN, GameDay, Heisman Race, Journalism, Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals, NCAA Football, Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, University of Louisville

No. 3 Clemson blacks out No. 14 Louisville 47-21

By Beau Kilpatrick—

It was the first home game of the season for the Louisville Cardinals. It was a battle between the defending national champions and the reigning Heisman trophy winner. ESPN College Game Day broadcasted from in front of U of L’s law school. This was also the program’s annual “Black Out” game.

No. 14 Louisville lost to its nemesis No. 3 Clemson 47-21.

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Lamar Jackson has been the talk of the country once again as he sat atop the Las Vegas leader board for a possible repeat in winning another Heisman trophy—a feat that has only been accomplished once and that was over forty years ago.

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Jackson had a pretty good game against the dominant defense of Clemson. He had 381 total yards, three touchdowns, and he threw his first interception of the season. By the standards set for most quarterbacks, he had a pretty good game. But he’s not like most quarterbacks and we have grown accustomed to the electricity that Lamar brings to the field. That same electricity did not show up to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Saturday night.

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The offense looked flat. Jackson completed 21/42 passes, but a lot of those balls were catchable. The receivers were just dropping them. Mix that with some off the mark route running, and a young offensive line trying to block the bestial Tigers, and you could just tell that it was going to be a long night for the Cardinals.

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Many fans were hoping to see the ball get carried by Malik Williams because he looked very impressive last week against UNC. That was not the case. Although, he did jump over a Clemson defender. Williams rushed for a measly 35 yards and Reggie Bonnafon managed only 17 yards. Jackson was Louisville’s leading rusher with 64 yards.

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Clemson’s defense held the Cardinals in check for most of the night. So if Lamar Jackson is on the sideline that means our defense is on the field, and they were on the field for a very long time. The Louisville defense held their own against the Tigers through the first half, but because the offense struggled to move the ball, they were gassed by the fourth quarter. All-American Jaire Alexander missed the game due to a minor knee injury (no word yet on his return) so the secondary relied on backups to fill in a few spots. However, the secondary got burned a few times without its All-American and others not on the field.

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Luckily for the Cardinals, losing to Clemson isn’t that big of a deal in the larger scheme of things in college football. The rest of their schedule looks like winnable games—at least on paper—and, as of now, they can still contend for the ACC Atlantic division. Louisville has played against three Power-5 teams in a row, which is more than most other teams can say. Now, they will have a few easy weeks before returning to ACC play.

Next, Louisville will host Kent State (1-2) Saturday, September 23, at 12 p.m. Broadcast details have not been released to date, but I will update when the information comes available. Following the Kent State game, Louisville will host Murray State (1-2) on September 30 at 3:30 p.m.

 

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Louisville has now lost to Clemson four years in a row, every year since joining the ACC. This has become the Cardinals’ nemesis and I hope that we can exact our revenge on the Tigers soon.

As always: GO CARDS!! #L1C4

Posted in ACC, College Football, College Football Playoffs, College Sports, ESPN, GameDay, Heisman Race, Journalism, Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals, NCAA Football, Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, University of Louisville

The No. 14 Cardinals are flying high with Lamar Jackson

By Beau Kilpatrick—

The football gods are smiling down upon the No. 14 Louisville Cardinals once again. The Cards recently travelled to North Carolina on Saturday and defeated UNC in their ACC opener 47-35.

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 10.57.18 AMESPN College Game Day announced that their next broadcast would be at the University of Louisville this Saturday as the Cards host ACC nemesis, and reigning national champion, the No. 3 Clemson Tigers. To compliment the gracious presence of Game Day, the game itself has been moved back to 8 p.m. for a primetime showdown. Louisville hosted the prestigious football show last year for their monstrous win over the Florida State Seminoles. I think ESPN is finally aware of how we handle football here in the ‘Ville. Also, to add some extra excitement, the university announced that this would be their annual “Black-Out” game.

Lamar Jackson has reclaimed his lead in the 2017 Heisman race (somehow America forgot about the incredible season the reigning Heisman winner had in 2016). The game at UNC was no different. The Cardinal quarterback passed for 393 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for an additional 132 yards with three more scores. “Action” Jackson accumulated a total of 525 yards and six touchdowns against the Tar Heels. These are truly incredible stats that fans may not see from another player in quite a while.

Jackson has already gained over 1,000 yards of offense and has earned eight touchdowns in the first two games of the season. If his average remains on this trajectory, he may be able to surpass the records he set last year.

More of Jackson’s stats: http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/lamar-jackson-player-stats

The stats alone do not tell the story. Just watching him in action will leave you amazed at how he can perform the way he does. He is the most electric player in college football. Just when UNC thought they had him wrapped up for a sack, he somehow escaped and threw a 75-yard laser to Jaylen Smith over the middle for a touchdown. On another play, he sat in the pocket for a few seconds, hoping a receiver would get open, and when they didn’t, he ran straight up the middle. He somehow squeezed between two linemen (where there wasn’t even a hole to run through) and somehow broke loose for a 43-yard rushing touchdown. The ironic thing is that the sportscasters were talking about how UNC shouldn’t get comfortable because of the electric explosiveness of Jackson.

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Lamar Jackson (8) and Jaylen Smith (9)
His favorite target, thus far, has been Jaylen Smith. Smith has recorded back-to-back games with over 100 yards. He gathered 183 yards and a touchdown Saturday. Freshman receiver Dez Fitzpatrick was virtually unknown until last week when he was targeted for 95 yards and a TD. This week, Fitzpatrick received 78 yards and a pair of scores. This explosive freshman appears to be a star in the making with Jackson under center.

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Another positive takeaway from Saturday’s game was the breakout performance in the running game from a name that doesn’t end with Jackson. Junior college transfer Malik Williams finally made a name for himself in impressive fashion. After Brandon Radcliffe went to the NFL, fans were curious as to who might step up in the backfield. Williams recorded 149 yards against UNC and looked like he may have secured his role in alleviating the rushing load that has been placed upon Jackson. Running back Jeremy Smith has been listed as injured and will not return this season.

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Malik Williams
More on the game against UNC: http://www.espn.com/college-football/boxscore?gameId=400937456

The big news this week though is the matchup against No. 3 Clemson. Louisville has yet to beat Clemson in the three years it has been in the ACC. Last year was a heartbreaker for the Cardinals with a little bit of scandal on the side. The (then No. 3) Cards were six points behind (then No. 5) Clemson when they fell three yards short. There was controversy over the first-down marker, and per NCAA regulations, it was not where it should have been for the receiver to know how far to go. But that’s over and the Cards have a chance to seek revenge at home against the No. 3 Tigers in 2017.

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The play that haunted Louisville: https://goo.gl/images/8mhgPx

Clemson lost a lot of players to the NFL after the 2016 season, including Deshaun Watson. So their offense is trying to rebuild around junior quarterback Kelly Bryant; who has a pretty good arm and can run better than Watson. However, Clemson’s defense is a beast. This is what U of L coach Bobby Petrino and his cohorts will be focusing on this week.

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Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and UL coach Bobby Petrino
Louisville has struggled with self-inflicted wounds, which appears to be carried over from last season. False starts and fumbles are the biggest issues that the Cardinals must correct if they want to take down coach Dabo Swinney and his Tigers.

All-American cornerback Jaire Alexander is still on a day-to-day status regarding a minor knee injury he suffered two weeks ago against Purdue.

Overall, this is going to be an epic showdown and hopefully, with College Game Day here, the Cardinals can stomp the Tigers like they did the Seminoles a year ago.

The game will be broadcasted in primetime on ABC at 8 p.m., Saturday, September 16.

As always: GO CARDS!! L1C4!!