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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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