166. 166. Which is about as equal as you can get.
The leading ball carrier for the Cardinals — for both squads actually — was Michael D . . . uh, sorry. No. That’s right, it was Brandon Rad . . . gosh, sorry, that’s not right either. Okay, Dominique Brown, right? Wrong, he toted the pigskin exactly, uh oh, no, sorry again, he didn’t have a carry.
Reserve QB Reggie Bonnafon, come on down. 82 yards. 76 net, for a 5.8 ypc average. Including that 36 yard TD scamper on a bootleg late for the Cards’ night cap.
As for the runningest QB in all the land — BC’s Tyler Murphy, that transfer from GatorLand — he had 41 net yards (60 not including sacks) on 12 carries.
That’s certainly a satisfying scenario.
Thus, one might be inclined to intone that Louisville got in touch with its inner smash mouth.
Which would, frankly, be an overstatement.
Three times early on, U of L had first and goal. Twice the Cardinals came up empty. On the other occasion, Louisville’s first drive, Bobby P, unlike the Florida State game, went for three.
On the second posssession, Brandon Radcliffe coughed it up on first down.
On the third attempt, an opportunity U of L should never have had,1 Michael Dyer was thwarted on a fourth down plunge.
So, that’s the yin and yang of that facet of Louisville’s O. I’m inclined to wonder: Where’s the panache in the Cards’ running game? Misdirection? Pitchouts. Option plays? O line play is improving . . . now and again . . . but is far from a given. Why not even a hint of subdued razzle dazzle? You know, like an inside reverse perhaps?
That fourth down call for Dyer was pedestrian at best. Perhaps, a really bad scheme, one with little chance for success.
So, I think it fair to say that Bobby Petrino, who was the national college football offensive savant during his first stint as head coach at Louisville, has, during his absence from upper echelon competition, fallen behind such as Gus Malzahn and Kevin Sumlin and Mark Helfrich in that regard. The bigger query is how much? Is he just rusty? Or is it something else?
It’s going to be fascinating to watch this play out in the seasons to come. Because, as those of us who have been paying attention have learned, Petrino considers his running attack as important as his passing game.
* * * * *
All in all, Reggie Bonnafon had an exemplary relief stint, after starter Will Gardner retweaked his knee. His rushing stats are stated above. He was also 4/5 passing with two TDs and no picks.2
But I’ve got to ask, is it a Shamrock thing? The propensity to make dunderheaded decisions in the heat of action. Reggie’s fellow Trinity alum James Quick apparently is making them off the field as well as on. Suspended, he didn’t even travel to Beantown. So much for some grilled mackeral at Legal Seafood.
Bonnafon’s boneheaded gaffe last night in the second quarter, one could argue, cost the Cards a score. On 2d & Goal from the BC six yard line, the QB scurried to the two, and, as he was being tackled out of bounds, he inexplicably tossed the ball forward into the endzone, where it went out of bounds.
Let’s be frank here, Boston College should have been awarded the ball on a touchback, 1st & 10 at its own 20. It’s that Kenny Stabler thing. Instead, on a day when any number of zebras blew big calls, this may have been the worst.3
Fortunately it worked to U of L’s advantage. They called it an illegal, incomplete forward pass. Confirmed it somehow on review. U of L’s ball still, with loss of down and five yards.
The Cards still didn’t score.
I’m tellin’ ya, things have gotten weird for Shamrock footballers. Ya know, ever since they reopened the Saint Matthews White Castle . . . just sayin’.
* * * * *
There are reasons why phrases become clichés.
It’s because, well, they’re truisms.
Like, “he has a nose for the football.”
As in, Gerod Hollimon has a nose for the football.
Which he obviously does.
Went for the hat trick last night. And, he came kinda close for a fourth pick late.
* * * * *
DeVonte Parker. Eight receptions. 144 yards. A TD.
* * * * *
Defense, as has been the custom this season more often than not, won the day. Yes, those stalwarts get tired, give up some big yardage plays now and again,4 both on the ground and in the air, fail to show up for a drive or two because of fatigue, but still win the skirmishes like I said, more often than not.
Don’t believe me? Ask Tyler Murphy.
B.J. Dubose, DeAngelo Brown, James Burgess, and James Sample had the most tackles. Sheldon Rankins had six, including a sack and a half. And an interception that thwarted BC’s last gasp for victory.
* * * * * *
Louisville unfortunately reverted to form, when it came to fundamentals and focus.
Ten penalties for 87 yards. Several at most inopportune times.
Louisville however did score 17 points off turnovers. To zero for the Beantowners.
Louisville was resilient. The Cards fell behind 3-13, blowing several great TD opportunities. But, stayed the course, righted the ship5 and prevailed going away, sailing off on its way to South Bend, through the tea-infused waters of Boston Harbor, with a 21 point W.
— Seedy K