At some point during the five hour forty three minute slushy slog that was Louisville’s drenched 31-7 victory over Indiana State at renovated Cardinal Stadium, it came to me.
It being how to distill all of the evening’s bizarro twists and turns into a single word.
It is from the Mad Magazine of my youth. When the editors of that ‘zine, who used it often, were once asked by a reader to give a meaning, they replied, “It means the same as potrzebie.”
Just how furshlugginer was it?
Backup kicker Evan O’Hara made the tackle after his kickoff following Louisville’s last TD, then he was mobbed by teammates on the sideline.
Jaylen Smith was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after he found paydirt on the end of a 34 yard pass. His transgression: Honoring a few of the smattering of fans left in the stadium with high fives.
During the second rain delay -- there were count ‘em, one, two, three -- I got an email from a diehard fan who has been following the Cardinals since the 50s. It was a video of Laurel and Hardy dancing to Chubby Checker’s “Let’s Twist Again Like We Did Last Summer.”
Then there was the first score of the 4th Q, the one that put the Cards up 21-7. A one yard TD “scamper” by Mekhi “Refrigerator” Becton. Of the strategy, Bobby Petrino said after the game, “I think Lukayus is mad at me. He wanted the carry.”
During one of the delays, I got a text from another fan. “Lightning striking again and again. Lou Christie.” It’s a 60s Top 40 reference.
The U of L runner with the most rushing yards was a guy who used to be on the team, then left the team with eligibility remaining, then returned to the team, oh, a couple of weeks ago. Jeremy Smith rumbled and stumbled for 56 yards on 6 carries, including a 21 yard ramble.
The three delays all came in the 1st Q. The first with 11:23 to go. The second at 8:52. The third with 3:51 and the score knotted at 7. The game had as much rhythm as an Amish rave.
But the most startling sight of the night probably was Malik Cunningham jogging onto the turf for U of L’s second drive after halftime, instead of Puma Pass. Prior to his entry, the Cardinal offense hadn’t tallied, nor moved the ball much at all. (The first TD was Rodjay Burns punt return.)
In Cunningham’s first four drives at the helm, U of L scored three TDs and a FG. The QB took it in himself from 2 yards out. Then Becton plundered his way over the goal line. Blanton Creque bullseyed a 43 yard FG. And the Cunningham to Smith capper.
Cunningham completed 6 of 7 passes for 75 yards and that strike to Jaylen Smith. He also had 54 net yards on 12 carries.
So, yeah, amid all the bizarro circumstances, who saw a possible QB controversy coming?
To his credit, Cunningham said after the game he didn’t expect to start against the Hilltoppers next week. Asked about open competition at the QB spot, Petrino mentioned that Puma Pass injured a toe, and indicated he deserves some slack because of the awful playing conditions when he was in.
As for an open QB competition, Petrino said, “So, we’ll just have to see what happens.”
If all that strangeness wasn’t enough, Louisville’s main LB Dorian Etheridge hobbled off the field with an injury of unknown severity. This in the wake of the loss against Bama indefinitely of Jonathon Greenard.
U of L’s defense held the Sycamores to 94 total yards in the second half. But school remains out on how much if any it has improved from last season. Especially if the Cards two main cogs remain sidelined for awhile.
After his mediocre performance at center in the opener, Cole Bentley was moved to LG, and was replaced as hiker by Nathan Scheler.
Oh, and Malik Cunningham had to be helped off the gridiron, after aggravating an ankle injury while being sacked.
The bottom line here: U of L overcame the weather, the delays and a listless first half to best a significantly inferior FCS foe. Questions remain as to how successful this team is going to be.
Most Valuable Player: The few hundred soaked fanatics in the stands who stayed until the very end.
-- Seedy K