The University of Louisville football team was able to accomplish two important things last Saturday versus Kent State – win a collegiate football game and get younger players valuable game experience.
The Cardinals picked up their first home win, dismantling Kent State 42-3 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Louisville jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and suffocated Kent State’s offense, limiting the Golden Flashes to 150 yards of total offense – which included just 11 yards through the air on two completions.
“I thought we got a lot of good things done this past weekend,” UofL head coach Bobby Petrino said. “I was really happy with the way our defense played. They were very physical and ran full speed to the ball.
“Offensively, we got the ball in a lot of different guys’ hands. Lamar (Jackson) threw the ball for a very high percentage. Didn’t like the fact that we had the interceptions: one of them, certainly wasn’t his fault, it went right through the receiver’s hands. But, I thought he played well. I thought he executed.”
Obviously, the most important part of the weekend was to get the win, as Louisville ran its record to 3-1. However, just as valuable was to the opportunity to continue to develop depth.
“We got a lot of young guys in and used a lot of defensive linemen,” Petrino said. “I also thought G.G. (Robinson) had one of his best games. I was really excited to see how physical he played. So, it was a good deal for them.”
With Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson racking up statistics and playing at a high level, the chance to get quarterback Jawon Pass into the game hadn’t presented itself until the fourth quarter on Saturday.
Leading 42-3, Pass entered the game with the ball resting on the Cardinals’ 1-yard line. It was not the ideal spot for a freshman making his first appearance in a college game. The Carver High product responded by connecting with fellow freshman Josh Johnson for an eight-yard gain, and hit Emonee Spence with a nine-yard completion.
Pass finished 5 of 8 through the air for 75 yards and appeared to have his first touchdown pass before the ball was fumbled and recovered by Kent State on its 9-yard line.
“Jawon came in, he did a nice job,” Petrino said. “He really showed he can throw the ball. I was really happy with his confidence and the fact that when he saw something, he believed it and made a couple checks out there – did a good job distributing the football, getting it in the right places.”
Another rookie, Colin Wilson made his debut in the backfield and displayed his potential to the Louisville fan base. The Green Cove Springs, Fla., native carried three times for 33 yards, including a 21-yard run – the second-longest rush in the game.
“I thought Colin Wilson did a nice job running with the ball and being physical,” Petrino said. “He also showed that he can catch it. I think that’s one of the things that really shows up in our offense more this year than in the past few years is our ability to throw the ball to our running backs.”
Louisville remains home this week, facing FCS opponent Murray State, which lost 27-7 to Austin Peay last weekend. Should the Cardinals take care of business like they did last week, Petrino will get the opportunity to see if his young players can perform even better the second time around.
The Cardinals and Racers will kick off Saturday on the ACC’s Regional Sports Network at 3:30 p.m.
by Rocco Gasparro