LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Mercifully, it has ended. And as bad as Saturdays’ 56-10 beatdown at the hands of arch-rival Kentucky was, it probably could have been worse. Though the disciplinary cracks continued to show for a University of Louisville program that has plunged from playoff contender to college football’s ultimate fixer-upper in the span of 24 months.

Four Louisville players were suspended before the game for a violation of team rules. One of those Tweeted an “LOL” at the suspension. Tight end Micky Crum picked up a second-half personal foul, got into a heated sideline exchange that included not only interim coach Lorenzo Ward but athletics director Vince Tyra, then went back into the game.

A crowd of 49,998 witnessed a Louisville defense giving up more than 50 points for the seventh time this season, and for the fifth straight game. It also saw quarterback Malik Cunningham run for 89 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game with a leg injury.

Louisville finishes its season with nine straight losses. It went just 2-10. It set records for futility. It lost its coach when Bobby Petrino, the winningest coach in the program’s history, was fired with two games to play, and fared no better without him than it did with him.

For the third time this season, the record for Louisville's most lopsided loss at Cardinal Stadium was broken. 

“I just told our players to remember what it feels like to lose eight straight games,” Ward said. “You never want to end this way. . . . There’s a lot of good young players in this locker room. I told them, it starts with discipline. The silly penalties. Their success is going to start with discipline.”

It drew 12 penalty flags for 134 yards on Saturday, many of them back-breakers, one of which took a touchdown off the board, and a couple that enabled Kentucky to sustain scoring drives.

Five different Louisville players, as well as Ward, answered the question of what the program needs most moving forward with the same word: "Discipline."

Re-establishing that will be Job No. 1 for the next coach.

Now Louisville will await word on a new coach. Will Tyra convince Purdue’s Jeff Brohm, whose name already loomed over Saturday’s proceedings in the Cardinal Stadium ring of honor, to come home? Or will it be another name? Syracuse’s Dino Babers, Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell or someone else?

Regardless, the long Louisville nightmare of the 2018 football season is over. On Thanksgiving weekend, at least that’s something.

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