The Louisville Cardinals will find out who their bowl opponent will be in a few weeks, but first they had to face their archrival Kentucky in the 2019 Governor’s Cup.
In a cold and rainy game with a couple dozen fans in attendance, the Wildcats trampled the Cards 45-13.
Kentucky’s 56-10 blowout win against Louisville last year was a rotten cherry on top of the crap sundae that was the 2018 season. The Cards were looking to avenge that loss as well as restore balance and order in the universe.
The Wildcats come into the game just barely bowl eligible, which is a feat unto itself considering their myriad of injuries, particularly at quarterback. They do feature one of the better rushing attacks in the nation, which they used to full effect in this matchup.
The cold, wet conditions usually don’t lend themselves to effective passing, but that didn’t stop the Cards from getting on the board first with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Tutu Atwell. Ryan Chalifoux miss the PAT and Louisville took at 6-0 lead.
Kentucky responded with a four-yard touchdown run, their PAT was good to give them a 7-6 lead. Early in the second quarter the Cats scored another touchdown on a six-yard touchdown run.
They would later kick a field goal to make the score 17-6.
The Cards, meanwhile, struggled mightily. Their four drives since their initial touchdown ended with a punt, turnover on downs, an interception and a punt respectively.
Just when it seemed like the game might be over, Louisville’s defense stopped UK on fourth down to get the ball on Louisville’s 44-yard line with less than a minute to go. Two plays later, Javian Hawkins broke off a 56-yard run for a touchdown, with Chalifoux making the PAT to make the halftime score 17-13 Kentucky.
The Wildcats had 205 total yards in the 20 minutes, all but four gained on the ground. UK’s first forward pass happened with less than two minutes to go in the first half. They averaged 8.4 yards per carry.
And while the Cards had the momentum going into halftime, they didn’t keep it long as it took the Cats less than a minute to score on a 60-yard touchdown run. This was the first of four touchdowns for Kentucky, all on the ground and all over 30 yards, two for over 60.
Meanwhile all Louisville could manage to do was punt. Evan Conley was swapped in at quarterback for Louisville in the last minute of the third quarter, Cunningham was rumored to be suffering from a stomach ailment, but it did not provide any offensive spark.
Micale Cunningham completed 6 of his 11 passes for 78 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
UK’s offensive strategy from the first half continued into the second. They only threw two passes in the game, completing one for four yards. They rushed 40 times for 517 yards and six touchdowns.
Evan Conley finished throwing 4-8 for 31 yards.
Javian Hawkins rushed for 142 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown. He passed Bilal Powell for fourth on the school’s single season rushing list.
Tutu Atwell was the leading receiver, catching four passes for 57 yards and a touchdown.
Kentucky finishes the regular season with an 7-6 record (3-5 SEC). Louisville falls to 7-5 on the year (5-3 ACC).
Both the Cards and the Cats will find out who they will face in their respective bowl games after the conference championships are decided next week.<