Louisville Card File: Murray State

cardfootballAre there any takeaways at all from what was essentially a glorified scrimmage in front of 50,179 last evening at Papa J’s?

A few things perhaps. But it’s simply hard to extrapolate meaningfulness when the opponent is so much smaller, so much slower, so much less talented and less well coached.

I mean the Cards had their way with the Racers, like a French premier and a Paris lady of the night.

U of L went three and out on its first possession. Then scored nine consecutive times it had the ball.

Murray State scored on that 57 yard pass on a trick play against a confused Cardinal defense with 6:17 to play in the opening period. But only had 36 yards on the thirty other plays it ran in the opening half. After that score, the visitors had 29 yards total offense on the next 22 snaps.

But, always looking for something to muse about, here are a few of things.

1. Now I understand why Bobby Petrino has been so laudatory of freshman QB Reggie Bonnafon. The former Trinity Shamrock QB, who played but one season in the position, and a disappointing one team-wise at that, is a preternaturally mature presence on the turf.

Not meaning to instigate any sort of quarterbacking controversy at all, I dare say Bonnafon appears to have more leadership skills than starter Will Gardner. It simply appeared his teammates were more genuinely appreciated of Bonnafon’s accomplishments last night. The rookie seemed in charge at every moment.

8/11 in the air for 112 yards and a 27 yard TD pass to Michaelee Harris.

5 rushes for 22 net yards, including 2 TD scampers.

Louisville is never going to suffer from lack of QBs in the Petrino era. That said, the immediate future is secure. Reggie Bonnafon is the real deal.

2. Murray State wishes it still had Frank Beamer on the sideline.

Louisville is glad Bob Weber is no longer on its sideline.

What’s Homer Simpson say? Do’h!

With Beamer in charge in ’84, the Racers beat the Weber-mentored Louisville Cardinals for the second straight time, 26-23.1

3. Louisville’s defense is woefully thin. Especially in the secondary.

The second and third teamers offered little resistance on the visitor’s two second-half TD drives. Holes were huge for Racer rushers. Cardinal corners and safeties, on most pass plays, weren’t within five yards of the receivers.

4. L.J. Scott is a load.

11 carries for 126 net yards. And a score.

The Ohioan reminded me of a fellow who used to similarly blast through defenses in the City by the Lake. Marion Motley of the Cleveland Browns of yesteryear.

Brandon Radcliffe proved the Cards are indeed deep at RB. 97 net yards and two TDs in 11 carries.

It makes one wonder yet again why Petrino didn’t give them a few touches last week against Miami?

5. ESPN’s second and third tier announcing crews are pretty lame. As if we didn’t know that already.

After a play when Kai De La Cruz’s helmet came off and his red mohawk was on display, one of the announcers said “That red mohawk makes it easier for Gardner to spot De La Cruz.”

Except, you know, but for the fact that the wideout is normally under helmet.

After Murray State finally forced U of L to punt — with :56 to play in the 3d quarter — one of the guys in the booth actually said something like, “If Murray State could have held Louisville like that early on, it might have been an entirely different game.”

Invoke your inner Homer Simpson again.

6. Twenty three Cardinal defenders were in on at least one tackle. That’s an unusually high number. It underscores how many guys played. Nobody had more than four.

Keith Kelsey and James Burgess just always seemed to be around the ball.

7. Freshman Jon Brown kicked off 7 times for an average that exceeded starter John Wallace by five yards per kick.

8. Louisville’s 25 pass receptions were spread out among 12 different receivers.

9. The Cardinal fan base seems to have kicked it up a notch. The attendance and that most folks were actually in their seats at kickoff are great signs.

And, well, that’s about it.

Games against FCS schools will hopefully become a thing of the past in future seasons. I believe U of L is contractually obligated to play Samford sometime in the next couple of seasons. Hopefully, it will be Stanford after that.

Next week: U of L’s first road ACC test in Charlottesville against a dangerous Virginia Cavalier team. Frankly, it is one of the Cardinals’ biggest tests of the season in its new league.

More on that later as kickoff approaches.

— Seedy K