The downward trend for the Louisville football team in the second half of the season reached rock bottom on Saturday. With a chance to send Lamar Jackson off to New York City to collect a Heisman Trophy and lock up an Orange Bowl berth, Louisville displayed each and every one of its flaws in a 41-38 loss to Kentucky at Papa John's Cardinals Stadium. Now, Louisville will sweat out Jackson's chances to win the Heisman and its bowl possibilities, likely wholly dependent on the results of others for both.
The deficiencies with this team that plagued them in the second half of the season all showed up once again. A week after being embarrassed by Houston in a game marred by fumbles, missed assignments, penalties, undisciplined defense, and the offensive line being dominated by defensive opponents, it all happened again. Lamar Jackson was intercepted twice and turned the ball over late with a crucial fumble in trying to stretch out and extend a drive that would've iced the game.
The story of this game, however, was Louisville's inability to defend a Kentucky offense that had been relatively one-dimensional up to this point. Kentucky and Stephen Johnson, however, beat Louisville through the air. He finished the game completing 16 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns. And where he was most effective was throwing the ball deep. He completed passes of 75 yards, 29 yards, 28 yards, and 35 yards. To add insult to the injury of the big throws, Johnson ran for 83 yards and Kentucky converted 10 of 18 third down attempts and its only fourth down attempt.
One would imagine, with the deficiencies that emerged down the stretch, there will be a reevaluation of a lot of personnel and staff across the board.