Much like the last time these teams met in 2007 at the Orange Bowl this one was ugly at times and it was a grind it out type of game. The Cardinals got the hard fought win over the Demon Deacons 20-10. Our Cardinals are now 4-1 on the season and 2-1 in the ACC good for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Cardinals are now 2-0 against Wake Forest.
This game was ugly especially in the first half. The Cardinals had 3 fumbles and 11 penalties for the game and at times this one was really hard to watch especially the offense, but there were some bright spots. First Reggie Bonnafon a kid who one week ago to the day buried his father. I lost my father when I was 38 years old and I did good to function that first week let alone following a game plan and leading a college football team to victory as a college freshman. Reggie did this all in his first career start. This just proves how special that some of these athletes are. Not only are they athletically gifted, but they are wise beyond their years. Reggie had some mistakes but was able to manage the game and make some big plays when the offense needed him the most. He threw for 206 yards with no interceptions and ran for 46 yards. This kid is the real deal and I firmly believe that he is the future at the QB spot for this Louisville team.
Brandon Radcliff who is described by his coaches and his teammates as one of the hardest workers on the team. Everyone speaks very highly of this young man. He is just another stud in the Louisville group of running backs and tonight was his moment to shine. With 2 touchdowns and 129 yards rushing this was his best performance as a Cardinal. We will also be hearing this kids name a lot in the future.
I know a lot of Cardinal fans have been really down on this offense especially the offensive line, but when you talk with these kids and their coaches and hear how hard they are working and trying to get better it just puts everything in perspective. Jake Smith after the game tonight talked about an offensive line that needs to get better and even admitted that the touchdown by the Wake Forest defense tonight being his fault. Coach Petrino said about his offense tonight that basically they had been playing with a new group every week due to players being banged up and how that lack of consistency had also contributed to the groups slow progress. As Jake Smith also mentioned in his post game tonight. These guys have one of the greatest offensive minds in the college game on the sidelines and there’s no doubt that we will see improvement. Thanks to the solid play of Reggie and Brandon the offense did have good balance today with 206 yards through the air and 215 yards on the ground. This unit will get better. Just try to have patience folks.
Don’t know how many times that I have typed this, but what about this Cardinal defense… I also said after that first game how it was very clear that the defensive philosophy that was instilled by the last coaching staff was still present with this group. Tonight in his post game Lorenzo Mauldin who finished with 3 sacks said that they were just doing what they did last year and that the defense has just carried over. These guys held Wake Forest to -22 yards rushing today folks and had 8 sacks along with three interceptions. That is just flat out getting after it. Gerod Holliman added to his national lead with 1 interception, James Burgess had 1 interception and Sheldon Rankins had 1 interception. For all of the talk about an exciting offense to watch I am really enjoying watching this defense play. This is a special group and they are really getting it done every week. Don’t take that for granted stressing about the offense not scoring 60 points every week.
It wasn’t a beautiful win but if you are a Cardinal fan then you have gotten used to close wins. The last coaching staff was all about the grind it out ugly defensive win. For three years we watched our Cardinals do this every weekend. That’s how the program was being built for the last 3 seasons and the talent was also recruited for that. It’s going to take this coaching staff some time but they will put their signature on the offense. In the meantime put on your hard hats and cheer for this defense as they are one of the best units in the county. And stay behind this offense. They are a good group of kids who are working their tails off and deserve credit for that. GO CARDS!