A number of questions had to be answered by the Louisville Cardinals coming into the 2015 college football season. How would they replace the players they lost with only nine starters returning? How would the extremely young offensive line hold up especially against a Will Muschamp defense? And which quarterback or quarterbacks would start for the Cardinals?
Cardinals’ fans didn’t have to wait long to see who would start as the U of L received the opening kickoff. Coach Bobby Petrino sent out both sophomore Reggie Bonnafon and freshman Lamar Jackson on the opening play of the game. Unfortunately, Louisville’s trickery did not go as planned as Jackson received the botched snap and scrambled only to throw an interception to Tray Matthews.
Auburn quickly took the ball down and scored on a Jeremy Johnson one yard touchdown run to make it 7 – 0.
Bonnafon would be the lone quarterback for the rest of the half, but struggled throughout by taking several huge sacks and fumbling an attempted handoff midway through the second quarter. The fumble was recovered by Auburn’s Justin Garrett who then ran 82 yards untouched to the end zone to put the Tigers up 14 – 0.
Auburn kicked a field goal before the half ended to take a 17 – 0 lead in to the half.
The lead got bigger in a hurry to start the second half as Jeremy Johnson threw a 33 yard touchdown pass to Ricardo Lewis.
Down 24 – 0 it looked as if the Cardinals were done. However, the true freshman Jackson would make sure the Cardinals would not be done. He scored the Cardinals’ first touchdown of the season on a 10 yard run late in the third quarter to make the score 24 – 10.
His athleticism was on full display in the second half as he rushed for a team-high 106 yards on 16 carries. He also threw for 100 yards on 9 of 20 passing. He was instrumental in bringing the Cardinals to within 7 with 2:59 to play. With the young offensive line struggling he was able to get out of trouble by using his legs and move the ball forward.
However, Auburn would not let the Cardinals offense back on the field as they were able to close out Louisville and get the first win of the season.
Even though U of L lost what was a huge opening game, the sky is the limit for this team. Jackson proved he could play and looks like the present and the future for this team. His opening was similar to another great U of L quarterback named Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater came in early in his freshman season and never looked back.
It is still too early to tell if indeed Jackson is the answer at quarterback, but it sure seems like he has a leg up for the foreseeable future. There are still a number of questions that remain, but the season is still very young.
Louisville will play its first home game of the season next week as the Houston Cougars come into to Papa John’s Stadium. Game time is set for 12:00.