BOZICH | Louisville focus shifts from style point to survival at - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Louisville focus shifts from style point to survival at Virginia

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Scott Stadium at Virginia was less than half full 10 minutes before the Louisville game Saturday. Scott Stadium at Virginia was less than half full 10 minutes before the Louisville game Saturday.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDRB) — For the Louisville football team, the focus shifted from style points to survival at halftime of the Cardinals’ visit to Virginia Saturday.

Favored by 33 points, Bobby Petrino’s team trailed the Cavaliers, 10-7, after the first 30 minutes at Scott Stadium. Virginia (2-5) lost home games the last two weeks to Pittsburgh and North Carolina.

Blame at least three dropped passes. Three quarterback sacks, for 28 yards in lost yardage. A shanked punt. Poor punt coverage. An ineffective running game (only 3.5 yards per attempt). Poor tackling.

That covered most of the issues.

Virginia became A) the first opponent to score first against the Cards and B) the first opponent to lead after the first quarter.

Louisville turned seven first-half possessions into three punts, a fumble (Jeremy Smith handoff from Lamar Jackson), a touchdown, a stop on downs and the clock running out in the second quarter.

Louisville did outgain Virginia, 261-170, but the Cardinals were fortunate the home team did not add at least three more points after Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall called a misguided halfback pass on fourth down at the U of L 23-yard line late in the second quarter.

The U of L offensive and defensive lines both failed to fire. Quarterback Lamar Jackson led the Cardinals with 37 yards rushing on seven carries. But Brandon Radcliff managed only 16 yards on seven carries. Jackson was also sacked three times.

Virginia, meanwhile, protected quarterback Kurt Benkert without a sack and the Cavaliers averaged 4.2 yards per rush.

Louisville will receive the ball to start the second half.

Scalpers were ecstatic to greet Louisville fans at Scott Stadium for the game, which started at noon. As one scalper holding a fist full of tickets told me during a walk across the parking lot, “Please send more.”

Steve Hadley, a U of L fan who graduated from Butler High School, rode his motorcycle 688 miles from Ponte Verde, Fla. to watch Lamar Jackson, Josh Harvey-Clemons and the Cards.

“I got two good seats for $35,” Hadley said. “Can’t wait.”

Lyndon Clemons and his daughter, Lynette, arrived from Boynton Beach, Fla. There is a reason that dateline sounds important. Clemons was the assistant principal at Boynton Beach High School who helped Jackson transition comfortably to the school three years ago for his junior season.

“My first chance to see Lamar in person this season,” Clemons said. “Everybody in Boynton Beach is excited and proud about what he’s doing. He’s a fabulous young man.”

The capacity of Scott Stadium is listed at 61,500. Virginia has announced crowds of 40,882 and 39,522 for its last two home games. The stadium was less than half full 10 minutes before kickoff.

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