Sunday night quarterback, Sept. 19 edition [Sports]

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By Josh Cook

Down! Set! Hike!

Here is quick look back at the weekend that was for the University of Louisville football team.

RECAP

The Cardinals hung tough against then-No. 25 (now No. 24) Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore. on Saturday before losing 35-28.

UofL trailed 21-14 at halftime and fell behind by 21 points (35-14) early in the third quarter before rallying back. The Cards closed to within a touchdown in the fourth period and had three opportunities to tie the game, or take the lead with a touchdown and a two-point conversion, but couldn’t convert.

After two less-than-stellar offensive efforts against archrival Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky, UofL amassed 453 yards of total offense (compared to Oregon State’s 319). Senior quarterback Adam Froman played easily the best game of his brief career - even in spite of his lost fumble and late interception. Froman completed 22 of 38 passes for 288 yards with one TD. He also rushed eight times for 46 yards and two more scores. Senior wide receiver Doug Beaumont was Froman’s top target, collecting nine passes for 121 yards and he nearly had the second touchdown of his career before being tackled just shy of the goal line on a long pass play. Meanwhile senior running back Bilal Powell continued his strong start to the season, rushing 20 times for 83 yards and a TD.

THREE BIGGEST PLAYS

1. Froman’s fumble. On third-and-2 from the Beavers 13, Froman rushed around the right side and was headed for a sure touchdown when safety Suaesi Tuimaunei came up behind the UofL QB and poked the ball out of Froman’s right arm and out of the end zone. Video replays upheld the play and the ball was given back to Oregon State on a touchback the play could’ve given the Cards a 14-0 lead because...

2. Powell stopped on fourth-and-1 on the OSU 3 on UofL’s first possession. The Cards took the opening kickoff and quickly marched downfield - Froman continued with Josh Bellamy on two big pass plays (23 and 17 yards) - and had first-and-10 at the Beavers 11. Powell rushed for 5 yards, then 4 yards before Vic Anderson was stuffed on third-and-1. Then on fourth-and-1 Powell was smothered for a 1-yard loss. Scoring a touchdown on their first possession would’ve given the Cards a great deal of momentum, as well as confidence

3. Froman picked off. On UofL’s final possession Froman quickly moved the Cards downfield by completing passes to Beaumont and Cameron Graham and running for a short gain. However on second-and-7 from OSU’s 49 Froman, who was hit by defensive tackle Castro Masaniai as he threw the ball, was intercepted by James Dockery to end the Cards’ chances of a miracle comeback.

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND

“You’re never pleased about a loss,” UofL coach Charlie Strong said. “I thought we played well but we didn’t play well enough. You have to play for 60 minutes. You just can’t give up plays on defense and offensively we had a chance to go down and win the game and we didn’t.

“You can’t take satisfaction. It’s a loss. What you look at is you hope you can gain something from this loss. You’re in a tough environment. You have a chance to go on the road, you want to play together. We didn’t play great defense today. Our kicking game didn’t play well. So you can always find some negatives where we can help ourselves. Overall, I thought it was our best performance in three games.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND II

“He just held it out and the guy punched it out into the end zone,” Strong said of Froman’s fumble. “If he holds onto it, it’s a touchdown and we’re up 7-0.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND III

“I thought I was in, but the camera doesn’t like and that’s what they have replay for, to get the call right,” Froman said. “I have to do a better job of keeping it up and I didn’t see him coming behind me and just relaxed too soon.”

QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND IV

“They’re a pretty good team, but we did fight today, and it looks like we left one out there today,” Beaumont said. “They’re going to be a pretty good team in the Pac-10, but we’re also going to go up to the Big East and try to compete with them.”

STATS OF THE WEEKEND

Froman averaged an impressive 13.1 yards per completion...The kicking game was costly to the Cards. Oregon State averaged 21.5 yards (compared to UofL’s 11.5) on punt returns and 36.4 yards (compared to UofL’s 19.8) on kickoff returns...On the bright side, the Cards held the Beavers to 2-for-10 conversions on third down.

AWARDS

Offensive Player of the Weekend - Despite a couple of mistakes it was Froman for sure.

Defensive Player of the Weekend - True freshman B.J. Butler, who defensive lineman/linebacker, continues to impress. The Florida native had a pair of sacks for the Cards.

FIVE THINGS I THINK

1. Froman finally looked like the quarterback UofL fans had been hoping he would be when he came in from California. He looked comfortable and he continually drove the Cards downfield on the homefield of a Top 25 team.

2. The same could be said of Bellamy. The JC transfer finally looked like the explosive wide receiver he was supposed to be. He got banged up against UK and only had two catches for 22 yards against EKU (but who didn’t play poorly in that game?), but had three catches for 65 yards and his presence definitely helped open things up for Beaumont and Graham.

3. UofL’s “Wildcard” (you can’t really call it a “Wildcat” in this town, can you?) seemed to work pretty well against the Beavers. Don’t be surprised to see more of those packages installed during the Cards’ bye week.

4. This team could really be something if it could put together 60 solid minutes.

5. Mark my words, UofL won’t lose next weekend. Of course, the Cards don’t play. They have a bye week until traveling to Arkansas State at 7 p.m. October 2.

Photo courtesy UofLsports.com