November 24, 2012
Cards lose to UConn in 3OT
Mario Benavides on playing his last game at home:
Cards lose to UConn in 3OT
The Louisville football team lost to Connecticut 23-20 in triple overtime Saturday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Despite some late-game heroics from sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the Cards came alive too late and couldn't capitalize in the third overtime.
The loss to Connecticut is the team's second straight loss. After the game, Coach Charlie Strong had one message for his team and the media - "we're still alive".
It Was Over When
After stalling most of the game, Louisville's offense seemed to come alive in the final drive of regulation and the ensuing three overtime periods.
The overtimes eventually caught up with Louisville. The Cards connected on a field goal in the first OT and scored on the first play of the second OT, but were held scoreless in the third.
The drive started strong with Bridgewater hitting Parker for a 16 yard completion. A quick sideline pass to Damian Copeland drew the Cards to the UConn 5-yard line. On third down, Bridgewater rolled right and was intercepted by UConn's Blidi Wreh-Wilson.
With the Cards' coming away empty handed all that was left for UConn to win was the field goal. Sure enough, the Huskies rushed three times for 12 yards and then Chad Christen split the uprights on a 30-yard game-winning field goal.
Teddy Bridgewater suffered a fractured wrist against Connecticut. The injury happened late in the first half when he was horse-collared and thrown to the turf.
He landed awkwardly on his shoulder and wrist. He immediately left the game and didn't join his teammates at halftime. After a quick x-ray, he was fitted for a stabilizing cast and returned to the field.
Bridgewater missed the first two series of the second half, but returned to the field on the Cards' third possession of the third quarter. Late in the game, Bridgewater was tackled and had a UConn defender roll up on his leg. He briefly left the field, but returned to the game for the overtime periods.
Coach Charlie Strong said that Bridgewater showed courage and was a great example of toughness. Despite the broken wrist, Bridgewater is expected to play in the Cards' Thursday night matchup against Rutgers.
Play of the Game
Bridgewater to Parker for six yards and the touchdown!
The biggest play by far was the Cards' game-tying touchdown at the end of regulation. Louisville's offense was shut down nearly the entire game, but Bridgewater and the Cards were able to cobble a drive together in the final minute of the fourth quarter. DeVante Parker's six-yard touchdown catch tied the game with just 24 seconds to play.
"Yeah, obviously this leaves a sour taste in my mouth now, but it doesn't change the fact that I love this school, love my team, and love these fans. It is just kind of surreal right now. "
Preston Brown on getting ready for Rutgers:
"We need to go out and play hard every second to get the win."
Jeremy Wright was pretty infective in the running game Saturday, rushing 16 times for just 43 yards, but the junior running back was able to contribute down the stretch. Wright caught nine passes for 72 yards, including a 14-yarder grab on the final drive of regulation.
Bridgewater was definitely off on Saturday, struggling with the offense even prior to his wrist and leg injuries. Still, he deserves credit for the toughness he showed by returning to the game not once, but twice! Even though he didn't win the game for Louisville, he's the reason they were in position to have a chance to win. For the game, Bridgewater completed 30-of-53 passes for 331 yards and two touchdowns.
Calvin Pryor was credited with 11 tackles against Connecticut. He was one of three Cardinals who had double-digit tackles on Saturday. Both James Burgess and Preston Brown also had 10 tackles. Burgess also had an interception.
Roy Philon had Louisville's only sack of the game. He was also credited with a tackle for loss, along with Adrian Bushell, George Durant and Lorenzo Mauldin.
Odds and Ends
Official attendance for Louisville's home finale was announced at 45,618. That figure is the total number of tickets sold, not the actual attendance. There were large pockets of empty seats in the end zone and along the top of the Flight Deck.
Prior to the game, coach Charlie Strong and fans said goodbye to 13 Cardinal seniors. The senior class has enjoyed a 28-21 record during their four years in the football program. Key seniors who played their last home game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Saturday include Mario Benavides, Alex Kupper, Daniel Brown, Will Stein and Adrian Bushell.
The Corvin Lamb experiment continues to be a head scratcher. With Senorise Perry out for the season, Lamb was expected to see more action. Instead, he carried the ball just three times for nine yards. Coach Strong was very critical of his running backs during his post-game media conference.
The Louisville offensive line played its worst game of the season. The group didn't open any holes in the rushing game and failed to protect quarterbacks Bridgewater and Stein. Louisville gave up a season-high five sacks to UConn.
The Cardinals and Huskies met for the ninth meeting in series history. Louisville still holds a 5-4 series advantage.
Former Card running back Victor Anderson and group of other former players took in the action from the field.
Officials from the Orange Bowl watched the Cards from the Papa John's Cardinal Stadium press box. It was probably a good thing for the Big East that they spoke to media prior to the game and not after watching Saturday's game.
The Cards are now 0-3 on Senior Day under Coach Charlie Strong.
Hakeem Smith made the 36th-striaght start of his career on Saturday.
The Cards missed a big opportunity when James Burgess intercepted a pass and gave the team field position on the 29 yard line. It was Bridgewater's first series of the second half. The Cards were unable to get a first down and then John Wallace missed a 46 yard field goal wide right. The series could have been a huge momentum swing in the game, but instead the Cards came away empty handed.
On the team's next drive, Bridgewater and the Cards drove the field down to a first and goal situation on the UConn 2-yard line. Because of Bridgewater's injury, Stein checked into handle the snap from under center. He was sacked for a 5 yard loss. Bridgewater returned to the game for 2nd and 3rd down, but the Cards couldn't find the end zone. Instead, they had to setter for a field goal that narrowed the margin to 10-3.
Louisville receivers dropped 6 passes on Saturday.
Louisville will play its final game of the 2012 regular season Thursday against Rutgers. The game will go a long way in determining the Big East Championship. Rutgers lost to Pittsburgh on Saturday. Stay tuned to CardinalSports.com throughout the
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