What a win. What a game. What a season. What a team. What a coaching staff.
There are so many dreams we had as soon as Jeff Brohm decided to come home.
Having seasons like this was certainly talked about. But for it to happen in Brohm’s first season is not something many of us expected. This is just an enormous occasion that I know will be celebrated accordingly by our fans.
Your 10-1 Louisville Cardinals are going to the ACC Championship Game.
Let it soak in.
Feels good, don’t it?
Let’s talk about the most stressful game in the history of the world.
Not sure the last time we had such a rollercoaster of a game. Virginia last week was a certifiable nailbiter, but a back-and-forth game like this with so much at stake? Man. We all need to do more cardio.
Louisville got off to a hot start with a quick 3-and-out and a surgical drive with clever playcalling filled with misdirections to go up 7-0. But after failing to get off the field for another 3-and-out on 3rd-and-long the Canes chunked their way down the field for a quick score to tie things up at 7-7.
On the ensuing drive Plummer had a receiver wide open streaking down field, but there wasn’t enough air under it and Miami’s Kamren Kinchens made a hell of a play to pick the ball off. Miami would capitalize again on third down to go up 14-7.
But Louisville responded with a much needed possession kicked off by a huge kickoff return from Maurice Turner and Isaac Guerendo carrying the offense to the endzone to make it 14-14.
The Cards forced a quick 3-and-out to get the ball back and seize momentum, but on 3rd-and-short Jack Plummer missed TE Josh Lifson on what should have been an easy first down.
Miami would take the momentum right back with some trickeration and a touchdown on Brashard Smith’s reverse 34-yard touchdown run to put the Canes ahead again, 21-14.
Then one of the most frustrating drives in recent memory I can remember happened. Louisville got all the way down to the Miami 7 on an impressive one-handed grab from Chris Bell (who led the team in receiving today, by the way). Plummer would miss a wide open Thrash in the endzone on the 1st-and-goal and then fail to complete anything on the next two plays. The Cards had to settle for a chip shot field goal, which the struggling Brock Travelstead missed (more on him later).
The Louisville defense would get another quick 3-and-out to give the offense the ball back with just over two minutes left. The offense moved the ball at will once again and had an awesome touchdown pass to OL Trevonte Sylvester. Travelsteads extra point attempt was blocked and he was benched from field goal kicking duties for the rest of the game. Maybe he should wear a smaller undershirt.
Miami 21 - Louisville 20
Frustrating half to say the least. Between Plummer’s and Travelstead’s errors, it felt like we’d let a lot of points on the field and had set up Miami for success when we had opportunities to put them away.
The Cards opened the quarter with a solid drive capped by an impressive 40-yarder from back up kicker Nick Lopez to push Louisville ahead 23-21.
Things went back and forth with the offenses not doing much until Miami broke through with freshman RB Mark Fletcher, who had a hell of a game with 126 yards and 2 TDs, got the Canes down to the goal line and then punched it in to put the Canes back on top, 28-23.
The defenses on both sides would duke it out with the offenses for a few more series before the Cards offense came alive again and Jack Plummer looked like a different version of himself marching down the field with throws to TEs and RBs to get them all the way inside the 10. Evan Conley would punch it in from his famous Wild-Con formation to put the Cards ahead (his first touchdown since 2019, too). UofL would go for 2 and get convert for the first time since 2017 on a swing pass to Jamari Thrash. Louisville 31 - Miami 28.
The Canes would respond with an impressive 51-yard field goal from Borregales to tie things up with just over 5 minutes left.
Then on the ensuing driver Kevin Coleman scored the game-winning touchdown on an insane 58-yard swing pass, highlighted by Miami defenders knocking each other out
All the Cards had to do was get a stop and run the clock out. But that would have been too easy.
Instead, Miami marched all the way down to the Louisville 3. But the defense stepped up for the biggest series of the season and shut Miami down on 4 consecutive plays to turn the ball over. Canes receiver Restrepo was pretty bummed about it so he punched Storm Duck to give the Cards 15 yards.
Louisville would get the ball back with just 1:30 left and Miami had only 2 timeouts (bet they wish they didn’t burn one on that 4th-and-goal attempt). Plummer almost converted the first down but the Cards had to give the ball back. Miami took over on their own 25 after getting penalized for punching another Louisville player.
Then one of the most stressful plays I can remember in school history happened.
Tyler Van Dyke, who played too well for my liking and did not turn the ball over enough (at all), launched a Hail Mary that was somehow caught by Restrepo inside the Louisville 5, but a host of Cards led by Quincy Riley wrangled him down and punched Louisville’s ticket to Charlotte for the first time in program history.
Just an insane series of events from start to finish. But man oh man am I beyond thrilled with the result.
Hope everyone celebrates the hell out of this one and gets prepared for what should be an awesome championship game against the Seminoles.
Go Cards. Jeff Brohm Rules.