Its type of play that coaches, players, and fans alike never want to see.
When Louisville Senior Anthony Conner appeared motionless after a tackle early in the second quarter, the mood shifted
quickly in Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium. Although Conner was able to feel and move his extremities while being carted off, it was soon realized that Conner had a broken neck and will never play competitive football again. Fortunately, Connor is suffering from no paralysis.
Louisville Coach Charlie Strong held back tears during his post game presser saying,
“It’s just so tough anytime you lose a player,It’s what happens in this game, but you just never think it’ll happen to one of your own. For that to happen, it is, it’s sad. I think our players, I told them right after the game. I ended up telling them about it, and some of them didn’t take it very well. The whole team didn’t take it very well.”
Strong’s words capped off a roller coaster week for Louisville Football. Beginning with the announcement of a seven year contract extension for Strong. The continuing drama surrounding Louisville possibly replacing a fleeing Missouri in the Big 12 that continues to flare up. Louisville defeating Rutgers, to end a three game losing streak, and of course the Conner injury.
Louisville did show some progress on the field against the Scarlet Knights. Running back Jeremy Wright posted 107 yards and the first 100 yard rushing game for the Cards all season. UofL ran for 187 yards in total, and the offensive line was giving its best blocking since the Kentucky game.
With the pressure from the running game, freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was able to make some big plays of his own. The highlight being an 18 yard strike to Michalee Harris to take the lead in the third quarter.
Bridgewater continues to look able and comfortable in the pocket. Will Stein received no snaps in the game, and a popular banner featuring Stein that has been regularly hung in Cardinal Stadium was taken down by stadium officials before the game. It appears that Stein’s tenure as the quarterback for the Cards is over.
The key to the victory was the Louisville defense who came up with three interceptions. The turnovers were able to disrupt Rutgers while on huge drives, especially the interception to end the game from Dexter Heyman. The pick stopped Rutgers from charging down the field to take the lead with less then two minutes remaining in the game.
Penalties continued to plague the Cards Friday night. They were pushed back 10 times for 72 yards. The penalty problem has to be fixed to keep Louisville in big games.
Although Louisville finally saw the running game come alive, there is still plenty to work on for the coming match up.
The Cards will face Syracuse next week for Homecoming, the Orangemen demolished #11 West Virginia Friday night 49-23.