BOZICH | This time Louisville finishes, toppling Notre Dame, 31- - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | This time Louisville finishes, toppling Notre Dame, 31-28

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WDRB) – Three quick thoughts on Louisville's 31-28 victory over Notre Dame Saturday, a victory that pushed the Cardinals' record to 8-3 as they prepare for their season finale against Kentucky Nov. 29

1. This time the Cardinals finished the job – unlike the games they lost against Virginia, Clemson and Florida State. For that they can thank Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza, who pushed a 32-yard field goal wide right with 57 seconds to play.

Against Virginia and Florida State, Louisville led in the fourth quarter. Against Clemson, the game was tied in the third quarter and Louisville had four chances to score from inside the Tigers' 10-yard line in the final minute.

This time the Cards watched Notre Dame score the first two touchdowns of the second half to move ahead, 20-17, and then roared back with two touchdowns in the final 21 minutes to win.

The Cards gave up a touchdown on a pass that Terrell Floyd batted into Will Fuller's hands five minutes into the fourth quarter. John Wallace missed a field goal that would have put Louisville ahead by six.

Notre Dame drove to the Cards' nine before the Louisville defense stopped them three times, resulting in the 32-yard field goal that Brindza missed.

Credit goes across the board.

Halfback Brandon Radcliff ran like he intended to take the job from Michael Dyer. He finished with 136 yards on 17 carries.

Quarterback Reggie Bonnafon wasn't great, but he was good enough, especially running the football. Bonnafon threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker and also ran for a pair of scores in the first quarter.

Bonnafon completed 8 of 21 passes for 180 yards – and ran for another 35 yards.

Parker had four catches for 65 yards. He's only played in five of Louisville's 11 games, but Parker is already Louisville's third leading receiver with 29 catches.

2. This was different than finishing the road schedule at Cincinnati, the way Louisville did last season. Or by playing at Rutgers, the final road stop for the Cards in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

Or by playing in front of 5,000 or so people, the way Louisville did 10 years ago against Tulane at the Louisiana Superdome.

“Pretty special,” Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said.

Louisville fans delivered an impressive performance at Notre Dame Stadium. Highway 31 was packed with Cardinals' fans for the final two hours of the drive from northern Indianapolis to South Bend.

Several thousand fans gathered outside the North end zone, near the Knute Rockne statue to cheer for the players after the team bus arrived several hours before the game.

Notre Dame Stadium seats 80,795 – and I'd estimate at least 15,000 Louisville fans attended the game. When Louisville surged ahead, 31-20, in the fourth quarter the loudest noise in the place was not the Notre Dame band. It was Louisville fans delivering a “C-A-R-D-S,” cheer.

Notre Dame is scheduled to visit Papa John's Cardinal in 2019, with the Cardinals making a return trip to South Bend in 2023.

3. Up Next – Kentucky visits Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Saturday – and sooner or later a game time will be announced.

Checking Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings make Louisville the favorite by 13.34 points. Bobby Petrino went 4-0 against Kentucky during his first stop as Louisville's head coach – and his U of L teams never trailed against the Wildcats.

Louisville native Paul Hornung and his wife, Angela, hosted 100 fans for the game, bringing two buses to South Bend. Hornung flipped the coin prior to the game, a coin toss that the Cardinals lost.

“I really enjoyed it,” Hornung said. “I'm so glad they asked me.”

Even at 78, Hornung keeps trying to move the chains. His group also made the five-plus hour trip back to Louisville after the game.

“I want to get back,” Hornung said. “I have a horse running at Churchill Downs Sunday.”

Notre Dame finishes it season at Southern Cal next Saturday. Expect more speculation about Brian Kelly's future as the Irish coach, especially with Florida on the look for guy with head coaching experience whose pedigree tilts toward offense.

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