Kentucky jumped out to an early 13-0 lead in the second quarter after two field goals from Austin Macginnis and a touchdown run from Boom Williams. Then Louisville quarterback Reggie Bonnafon went down with a knee injury, and was helped off the field, and the excitement Louisville fans had had about destroying Kentucky had vanished, instead they were filled with despair and doubt for what this game could turn into. Head coach Bobby Petrino looked down the sideline and the next man up was redshirt freshman, and Lexington native Kyle Bolin.
Bolin came out, they emptied the backfield, and two stellar pass plays later, the Cards were on the board. Bolinâ€™s first drive would be a preview of what was to come in Bolinâ€™s opening act. Bolin was 21-of-31 on the night for 381 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception.
Putting together one of the most solid quarterback performances of anyone for Louisville this season, Bolin came off the bench and shocked everyone in Papa Johnâ€™s Cardinal Stadium, except his teammates and coaches. Petrino and multiple players all expressed the same sentiment, they werenâ€™t surprised he went out and did his job.
â€œHe did a great job,â€ Petrino said. â€œHe came in, executed, made a lot of plays and helped us win the game.
Both defenses stepped up, with Kentucky stifling the run and holding Louisville to 39 carries for 83 yards. The Cardinal defense was oppressive on third-down conversions, only allowing three conversions on 16 chances. Each team had two interceptions.
Emotions were running high all game, including the pre-game, when both teams and coaching staffs were involved in a scuffle on the field. A couple of other scuffles followed, with both teams receiving multiple offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct calls.
But perhaps no moment of tension was more powerful than when Bobby Petrino got involved in the pre-game skirmish. Petrino was photographed grabbing Kentucky assistant coach Daniel Berezowitz, a picture that got around to his team before the game. Charles Gaines was one of the players who saw it pre-game and it evoked a reaction from him that he said resonated through the whole game
â€œThatâ€™s why we won the game,â€ Gaines said. â€œWhoâ€™s winning in that picture?â€
— Michael Reaves (@MichaelMReaves) November 29, 2014
Aside from the animosity between the teams off the field, they swapped blows between the lines as well. There were seven lead changes in the game, which Petrino described as â€˜wildâ€™ during his postgame remarks.
The game was big in the books for a couple of Cardinals. DeVante Parkerâ€™s three touchdown catches put him at 33 for his career, tying a school record. It was Petrinoâ€™s 50th win as head coach of the Cardinals, and heâ€™s now 5-0 against Kentucky in the Governorâ€™s Cup, 6-1 against the Wildcats in his career. And Gerod Hollimanâ€™s interception in the fourth quarter was his 14th, tying an NCAA record for interceptions in a single season set in 1968 by Al Worley.
Saturdayâ€™s game was Louisvilleâ€™s Senior Day, and 23 seniors were honored including Michael Dyer, Lorenzo Mauldin and Eli Rogers. But on a day that was spent celebrating the past, and the players that have contributed for the last four seasons, a sophomore stole the show and provided a little glimpse of what could be to come for CardNation.
Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune