In the shock of the season, the Kentucky Wildcats came into Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium a 26.5 point underdog, but left victors of the Battle for Governor’s Cup by a final score of 41-38. With barely over a minute to go, the Cardinal offense had the ball at the UK 9-yard line and it appeared as though the Cards would escape with a narrow victory. A Lamar Jackson fumble, followed by a 47-yard field goal from Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis with 12 seconds left sealed the fate of the home team.
I wish I had an explanation for what went wrong in the last two games of the season. Kentucky outgained Louisville by 20 yards on offense (581 to 561), had 2 fewer turnovers (Louisville 4, Kentucky 2), and more time of possession (32:30 to 27:30). An unfitting end to an otherwise fantastic season. Lamar Jackson finished 16-25 passing with 281 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, he added 171 yards on 25 carries and 2 more touchdowns with that costly fumble on the 9 yard line. Cole Hikutini finished his Louisville career with 7 receptions 100 yards and a touchdown, Reggie Bonnafon caught the other touchdown pass.
While the ending to this season will likely be more remembered than the beginning that is not how it should be. 9-3 is a record that used to be celebrated, not considered a disappointment. While the players and coaches this team had are not accurately represented by the final record, the team gave us one of the most fun and exciting seasons in Louisville history. I am always proud to be a Cardinal, now lets hope for the Orange Bowl and a Heisman winner and bring positive vibes to a team that gave the city so many during the course of this season. I had the pleasure of sitting with a young Cardinal fan who helped remind me that we should cherish the little moments instead of dwelling on the missed opportunities. It’s not always entirely about a win or a loss, it’s simply being there, giving high fives, doing the C-A-R-D-S chant, dapping up a young fan at the end of any good play, and the fans who make you proud to support your team that makes being a part of CardNation such a special thing. Thank you to the seniors and thank you Eli Porter, never stop cheering for the red and black.