BOZICH | Georgia's speed takes bite out of Louisville in Belk Bo - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Georgia's speed takes bite out of Louisville in Belk Bowl beatdown

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WDRB) – Kyle Bolin. Reggie Bonnafon. Teddy Bridgewater. Brian Brohm. Dave Ragone. Chris Redman.

Pick a University of Louisville quarterback. Any quarterback.

Any or all of them could have played for the Cardinals against Georgia in the Belk Bowl Tuesday night. It still would have been a struggle for Bobby Petrino's team.

What the Cards needed with Marcus Smith, Calvin Pryor and Elvis Dumervil, guys who could tackle a dynamic running back.

The first post-game questioning did not begin with Petrino's decision to start Bolin at quarterback. The post-game questioning started with Louisville's defensive meltdowns against the Georgia offense.

The Bulldogs raced, and I do mean raced, to a 37-14 victory in Bank of America Stadium in front of 45,671 chilled fans. They started it by scoring first and ended it by sacking Kyle Bolin on the game's final play.

Georgia had 222 yards at halftime. That might not be much for Oregon, but it was the most any opponent put on Todd Grantham's defense during the first half in any Louisville game this season.

They finished with 505. Only Florida State gained more against U of L – and you remember what happened in that game.

Nick Chubb, Georgia's dynamic freshman tailback, looked like Herschel Walker, Garrison Hearst, Terrell Davis or any other great Georgia tailback you'd like to add to the conversation.

Actually, strike that. Chubb looked better than those guys. He finished with 33 carries for 266 yards, which was a Georgia bowl game record as well as a Belk Bowl record. Put Chubb in the first tier of 2015 Heisman Trophy candidates.

It was also more than any team ran for against the Cards this season.

You get the picture. Georgia lost Hutson Mason, its starting quarterback, to an injury during the second quarter. Didn't matter. Nothing mattered -- except how many yards Chubb was going to get.

The Belk Bowl pre-game drama percolated on which guy Petrino was going to start at quarterback – Bolin or Bonnafon?

Petrino had fun with the topic from the moment the Cards' bowl assignment against Georgia was announced, refusing to share his decision. Petrino took a hundred questions for every one he took about his defense.

His defense was solid, stout against the run, on the prowl for interceptions against the pass.

Until it wasn't.

Georgia scored on its first possession. Chris Conley flashed past U of L cornerback Charles Gaines to catch at 44-yard touchdown pass from Mason.

The Bulldogs added a field goal on their third possession.

Georgia scored on its next two possessions – first on a crackling 31-yard run by Chubb, who broke free from two tacklers and away from several others, then on a 22-yard field goal by Marshall Morgan.

Louisville, meanwhile, had issues. Bolin found Gerald Christian in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass. But Bolin was only 8 for 18 in the first half and failed to find DeVante Parker, who was open for a touchdown on one play.

Bonnafon played his way back to the bench by forcing a pass to Parker when he was double covered.

Georgia only scored one more touchdown in the second half, but it sucked all the suspense from the stadium.

Trailing 20-7, Louisville punted and forced the Bulldogs to start at a drive at their 3-yard line. Get a quick stop. Force a punt. Score. Game on.

Chubb had a different idea. He roared off right guard through the Louisville defensive front, around the Louisville linebackers and away from the Cards' defensive backs.

He was not tackled until he reached the Louisville 15, 82 yards from where he started. Two plays later, the Bulldogs had scored again to lead, 27-7.

Ball game.

Louisville did show some signs of life. In his farewell moment at U of L, Parker caught four passes on a 70-yard drive, including a dynamic catch and run on third-and-20 to keep the drive alive, and U of L closed within 27-14. After a stop, the Cardinals took over, but looking for a big play on their first snap, Bolin forced a deep ball toward a covered receiver, and Georgia picked it off. From then on, it was all up to the Georgia running game to put away the win.

Parker finished with eight catches for 120 yards. Brandon Radcliff carried 19 times for 21 yards. And Bolin threw for 301 yards, his second straight 300-yard game.

Louisville finishes its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 9-4. The loss ended Louisville's streak of five consecutive victories against SEC opponents as well as back-to-back bowl victories.

The Cards are schedule to open next season against another speedy SEC team, Auburn, in Atlanta.

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