Louisville fans can finally exhale after the Cardinals picked up their first win of the season in convincing fashion over the Samford Bulldogs.
The game was never in doubt as Louisville took advantage of two early Samford turnovers and took an early 14 – 0 lead. Freshman quarterback, Lamar Jackson, got the start for the Cardinals showed off his ability to run. Jackson scored the first two touchdowns on a 14 yard and a 13 yard run. He would go on to rush for a school-record 184 yards.
Jackson was not finished in the first quarter as he took off on a 73-yard run bringing the Cardinals down to the two yard line. Brandon Radcliff would punch it in to put U of L up 21- 0.
It was very important for Louisville to get off to the fast start as they have struggled through the first three games. The 21 first quarter points were more than they had scored total (17 points) in the first half of the first three games.
The prevailing story each week has been who the starting quarterback will be. Reggie Bonnafon started the first game with Jackson coming in to finish. Jackson started the second game with Kyle Bolin finishing. Bolin started the third game with Jackson getting in on specific situations. This week it was Jackson and it looks the position could be his for the foreseeable future.
Bobby Petrino was asked about settling on Jackson going forward. Petrino said, “Yeah, I think we’ve settled on Lamar. You know, he came out and played well tonight.”
Petrino used Bonnafon in a number of situations as well. He praised him saying, “I do like Reggie (Bonnafon) being on the field. I think Reggie can really help us. Between the two of them, when they are on the field together, we’re a faster football team. Reggie can certainly run with the ball and he made a nice catch, threw a touchdown pass. He’s been handling our short yardage this week and he’s been doing a nice job with that, with the exception to the one pick. I think he was just trying to get a little greedy. He needed to just run the ball and get the first down. I think it just makes us a faster football team.”
Bonnafon finished with 62 yards passing and one touchdown. He also ran 6 times for 26 yards and caught a pass for 13 yards.
Louisville’s offense wasn’t the only strength as the defense gave up only 201 total yards. The Cardinals forced four turnovers. Three of the turnovers were interceptions allowing the Cardinals to extend their nation-leading streak to 17 games.
It was very important to get the proverbial monkey off of Louisville’s back by getting this first win. The schedule doesn’t get any easier as they go on the road for two straight ACC games. The first is next week against unbeaten (4 – 0) North Carolina State. Then it is on to Tallahassee to face what should be an unbeaten Florida State.
Petrino talked about the importance of getting the first win. “What’s good is to see the smiles on their faces in the locker room. They put a lot into it. They’ve invested a bunch. So to be able to see it pay off and be able to smile and hug each other and be happy after a game is really what you are looking for. So I’m happy for our players.”