After dropping two strait games, the Cards came out and beat down Rutgers on their home turf to secure their sixth win and attaining bowl eligibility. There are no guarantees, but I would be shocked if Louisville does not play in a bowl game. In fact, athletic director Tom Jurich told the team after the game he is positive they will go bowling somewhere.
Back to the game.
The Cards jumped on Rutgers from get go and didn’t let up. Justin Burke was playing the best football of his collegiate career, but had to leave the game after experiencing back spasms. Before his injury, Burke was 9-11 for 138 yards and 2 touchdown passes, both to Bilal Powell. More than the good numbers, Burke was precise with his throws. His timing was excellent and his location was tremendous. It’s really a shame he had to come out.
Will Stein came in and was just fine, as most who follow the Cards expect. Charlie Strong said after the game he told Will to not worry about winning the game, just play within the offense and manage the team. Will did just that, but he did throw a 1 yard touchdown pass to Cameron Graham in the 2nd quarter.
As well as the quarterbacks played, the Louisville rushing attack was just as good. The offensive line handled the Rutgers defense and opened a bunch of holes all day. And when the opportunity was there, the running backs took advantage.
Bilal Powell, for the first time since before his injury against Pitt, looked like his old self. He ran with that great combination of speed and power again, and also had that elusiveness we saw early in the year. Bilal ran for 128 yards and scored a combined 3 touchdowns. Jeremy Wright once again produced a highlight reel play with a huge 64 yard touchdown run, adding more evidence that he will be a special player at Louisville.
Defensively, the Cards controlled the game. They sacked Rutgers quarterback Chas Dodd ten times and picked him off twice, including a pick-six by Johnny Patrick who had two INTs on the day. In my opinion, the defense dominated this game and if you wanted to give credit to one unit or player for the win, it would be because of the defense.
All in all, simply a fantastic day for the UofL program. I’ll have more tomorrow about the job done by Charlie Strong and his staff, but now is a time to celebrate a huge win for the program.
Great work by the football Cardinals.