Louisville, KY December 31, 2015 (Analyzed Sports) Charron Elliott
Saturday night’s Music City Bowl game took place inside of Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. The game featured the 7-5 Louisville Cardinals of the ACC and the 8-4 Texas A&M Aggies of the SEC. The Aggies came into Saturday’s matchup having loss two of their best quarterbacks in Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen after their decisions to transfer to other schools, which led to Jake Hubenak making his first career start for A&M. As for the Louisville Cardinals they came into the game after a 38-24 win over their arch rival the Kentucky Wildcats to end their 2015 regular season. Freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson had 17 rushes for 186 yards and two touchdowns against the Wildcats, which broke a school record for most rushing yards from a quarterback in a game.
The game began with the Aggies electing to receive the football to start the 1st quarter, which was a very bold move by Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin considering he was using a third string quarterback in Hubenak. On the Aggies first play on offense Louisville’s linebacker James Burgess was called for targeting and was forced to leave the game after delivering a huge hit on Aggie’s wide receiver Damian Ratley. On the same exact play Louisville’s starting cornerback Shaq Wiggins was injured as well, but even with that said the Aggies offense couldn’t take advantage of the short-handed Louisville defense. On the contrary Louisville’s Jackson put on a show during the Cardinals first offensive drive. Jackson rushed for 17 yards on the Cardinals first two plays, then threw a 56 yard pass to Cole Hikutini that eventually led to a six yard touchdown run for Jackson. Louisville’s opening drive lasted just 1:57 and they took an early 7-0 lead in the game with 11:50 remaining in the 1st quarter.
The Louisville defense then forced another punt by the Texas A&M offense, but their starting linebacker Trevon Young would be injured and carted off of the field during the defensive stand. The A&M defense was finally able to stop Louisville, but it’s offense was still unable to get going with 8:37 remaining in the 1st quarter. Then Jackson took over again with 6:41 to go in the 1st quarter as he had rushes for 15 yards and three yards, which eventually led to a two yard touchdown pass to Louisville tight end Micky Crum with 5:15 remaining in the first quarter. However Hubenak would get going on the next drive for the Aggies as he found wide receiver Josh Reynolds on a 33 yard pass for an Aggies first down. Then later in the drive Hubenak connected with Aggies wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones for an eight yard pass, which set up a nine yard touchdown run by running back Tra Carson. The score was now 13-7 Louisville with 2:21 remaining in the 1st quarter. That score would change in a matter of literally 1:07 as Jackson ran for a 61 yard touchdown, to give Louisville a 20-7 with 1:14 remaining in the first quarter.
Louisville would keep the lead heading into the 2nd quarter, which would begin with Aggies offense controlling the football. Neither team was able to score until later in the 2nd quarter as the Aggies offense got going. Hubenak led the offense 97 yards in eight plays for the longest drive of the game which was 3:59 and was capped off by a four yard touchdown pass to Seals-Jones. The halftime score would remain 20-14 Louisville, as Lamar Jackson had 141 yards passing, two passing touchdowns, 187 yards rushing, and one rushing touchdown for the Cardinals offense in the 1st half!
The 2nd half began with Louisville possessing the football, however they were unable to get anything going on their opening drive. The Aggies offense had three first downs on their opening drive as Hubenak seemed to be getting more comfortable, but then with 9:13 remaining in the 3rd quarter he made a crucial mistake. Hubanek didn’t see Louisville’s Harvey-Clemons coming from behind him and as a result he fumbled the football. Louisville defensive end James Hearns recovered the loose football and the Cardinals offense took over. However the Aggies defense was able to force Louisville to punt the football on its next offensive position. Then Harvey-Clemons forced Hubenak to make another crucial mistake in the game, as he intercepted the pass attempt from Hubanek with 5:55 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Lamar Jackson would find Keith Towbridge with 2:56 remaining in the 3rd quarter for a 17 yard touchdown pass. The lead would be 27-14 Louisville to end the 3rd quarter.
The Cardinals would begin the 4th quarter with the football but were unable to do anything on offense. Texas A&M would drive the football down the field all the way to the Louisville 21 yard line with 11:10 remaining. However Aggies kicker Taylor Bertolet would miss the 39 yard field goal attempt to cut into the Louisville lead. The A&M defense would then force the Cardinals to another scoreless possession on offense and got the ball back again with 7:05 remaining in the game. This time the A&M offense would score after a 29 yard touchdown pass from Hunabek to Christian Kirk making the score 27-20 Louisville. Bertolet would connect on the point after to make it a six point game with 4:47 remaining.
The A&M defense was able to force a three and out by Louisville, giving Hubenak a chance to tie the game with 3:52 left in the game. The Louisville defense was able to force A&M to 3rd down and five with 2:18 to go, but then Harvey-Clemons was called for defensive holding, which gave the Aggies a new set of downs. The Louisville defense was again able to hold the Aggies offense, this time to a 4th down and 10 with 1:58 left in the game. Then the Cardinals were called for yet another penalty, which would be committed by defensive end Pio Vatuvei who was called for illegal hands to the facemask of Hubenak. The Cardinals defense would be forced to stop the Aggies again and they did for three straight downs, which led to the game being decided by a 4th down and eight on the Louisville 24 yard line. Louisville forced an incompletion by Hubenak, with 1:44 remaining in the 4th quarter and looked to have sealed the game. A first down run by Lamar Jackson with 1:22 left in the game, would leave no doubt in the final result. Louisville had defeated the Texas A&M Aggies in the Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl 27-21.
“He really executed,” said Louisville football head coach on Jackson’s performance. Lamar Jackson rushed for 227 yards (a Music City Bowl game record) and he threw for 226 passing yards. “It was just great execution by our line and our tight ends blocking.. We have been prepping all week for this game.” As for Bobby Petrino it will be his first bowl game victory in his second tenure as a head football coach at the University of Louisville. “I’m just happy for our players, that’s what this means to me.. We don’t really have a lot of seniors but our players have invested a lot into our program.” With that being said one thing is for certain the future of the freshmen quarterback Lamar “Action” Jackson looks very promising at the University of Louisville.
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Post Tagged with Louisville Cardinals, ACC, Bobby Petrino, SEC, Lamar Jackson, Music City Bowl, Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M Aggies, Jake Hubenak, Damion Ratley, Micky Crum, Cole Hikutini, Trevon Young, Tra Carson, Ricky Seals- Jones, James Burgess, Josh Harvey-