In a game with a blocked punt, a fake punt, a couple of onside kicks, the craziest personal foul you will ever see, and questionable play calling down the stretch from both teams, N.C. St. escaped with a Belk Bowl victory 31-24 over the Louisville Cardinals. They end the seaon 8-5, and UofL ends their season 7-6.
Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater will be sore for a while, as it seemed like he was knocked down on every play. He had to sit out for two plays, but both times he came right back in, when it looked like he may be out for the game. He took some big hits either on the run or in the pocket after delivering passes. It was like seeing Hunter Cantwell against Virginia Tech, or Dave Ragone against Kentucky. But the young QB hung in there and completed 24/43 passes for 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, the last being on a desperation 4th down play to try and keep the game going.
N.C. State did not score an offensive touchdown in the second half, but Mike Glennon did his damage in the first half. He threw for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception. One TD pass was 35 yards, and another was for 67 yards. Both long TD passes involved UofL defenders slipping and/or missing tackles. N.C. State went into the half leading 21-10.
The first drive of the 2nd half was about as frustrating as it could get for UofL fans. After forcing a punt, the Cards were called for a roughing the kicker penalty, keeping the drive alive. Then on another 4th down, Glennon was scrambling and on his way out of bounds, when Preston Brown pushed him out and was holding him up to keep him from falling. That drew a flag for a personal foul (???) and the Wolfpack tacked on 3 more points.
The next series, Bridgewater threw a good looking pass to Eli Rogers, who let David Amerson go over his back and take the pass from him. He then followed a lot of good blocks and bad tackling and made it all the way to the endzone for a 65 yard TD return and a 31-10 Wolfpack lead.
Down 21, it was time to call out all the stops, and that is what Charlie Strong did. A fake punt resulted in a long run for Preston Brown, and that led to a great pass by Bridgewater and a better catch by Nate Nord for the touchdown. Then the Cards called an onside kick and recovered it, but could not do anything with that possession after a big 3rd down drop by Eli Rogers.
UofL would tack on another touchdown to make it 31-24, and end up getting the ball back for one last shot to tie it. Too much pressure from the N.C. State defense would put Teddy Bridgewater in a spot where he had to make a desperation throw, and that resulted in his final interception, and closed out the season for this Cards team.
The Cards made many mistakes, and had plenty of chances to get back in the game. However, seeing that the majority of players that contributed tonight were freshmen and sophomores, the future is bright for this UofL program. 2012 should be a fun season!