Lucas Oil Stadium prior to kickoff. Photo by Mike Gilpatrick, River City Cards.
penalties make opener closer than expected
With football being back the Cardiac Cards have returned for another season. Fans everywhere rush to grab stress balls and heart medicine. Louisville football faced the Purdue Boilermakers in Lucas Oil Stadium.
With the return of the Heisman winner and a 16-ranked team it should have been an easy victory for Louisville. Well, the Cards won, but only by a touchdown. The final score of 35-28 reflected a not-so-pretty performance by the favorites.
Purdue went into halftime with a 14-10 lead. Much of that was because of a pair of lost fumbles inside the two yard line by the Louisville offense. Their ball control woes would continue into the second half. Louisville struggled in the start of the second half, settling for a field goal and allowing a touchdown by the Boilermakers. The 21-13 deficit late in the third quarter pushed fans to the edge of their seats in fear of an opening game loss.
Lamar Jackson took control.
The 2016 Heisman winner found ways to push the offense down the field and score 22 more points in the final 20 minutes of the game. Jackson finished 378 passing yards and two touchdowns through the air and added another 107 yards on the ground. His 485 all purpose yards and two touchdowns was a stat that commentators and analysts marked as 'average'.
Freshman receiver Dez Fitzpatrick provided a second half spark and became a favorite target of Jackson. Fitzpatrick finished with four receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball the nickname "Tax Boyz" was proven to be true. Louisville intercepted three passes, with the one by Stacy Thomas being taken to the house. They also recovered a fumble.
However, the defense took a big hit when Jaire Alexander went down in the first half with a high ankle sprain. He would not return and his status is currently unknown for next game.
The one stat line in the game that drove Louisville fans mad were Louisville's 16 penalties for 110 yards. False starts by the offensive line contributed to over half of those- an issue that will surely be addressed by the new offensive line coach Mike Summers. The win gives #16 Louisville a 1-0 start to the season. They travel to North Carolina (0-1) Saturday, Sept 9, at noon