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Cardinals' Commanding Win Ignites L&N Stadium in Home Opener Spectacle

This triumph marked a historic moment in Louisville football history, as it signified the program's first 2-0 start since the glory days of 2017 and the first shutout since silencing Syracuse 30-0 on a crisp November evening in 2020.

In a spectacle that could rival the grandest of sports extravaganzas, L&N Stadium was ablaze with fervor. On this electric Thursday night, 45,273 fervent fans descended upon the sacred Louisville turf, united under the banner of their beloved Cardinals. The return of coach Jeff Brohm to his hometown brought an air of anticipation, and the event lived up to its billing in every way. In what can only be described as a triumphant homecoming, the Cardinals left no room for doubt, decimating Murray State with a resounding 56-0 victory. This triumph marked a historic moment in Louisville football history, as it signified the program's first 2-0 start since the glory days of 2017 and the first shutout since silencing Syracuse 30-0 on a crisp November evening in 2020. Notably, Brohm's inaugural game back in Louisville drew the largest crowd since 46,459 faithful supporters witnessed the Cardinals' heart-wrenching 35-31 loss to Florida State last year. Speaking after the game, Brohm expressed the importance of winning and the relentless drive to avoid losing at all costs. "Winning has to matter," he affirmed, emphasizing the collective determination of the coaching staff and players. Even ACC commissioner Jim Phillips couldn't resist the allure of this momentous occasion. He was spotted engaging in lively discussions with Brohm's father, Oscar Brohm, and Louisville athletic director Josh Heird throughout the evening. The atmosphere was nothing short of electric as fans continued to pour into L&N Stadium right up to the kickoff. The Cardinals delivered a show worthy of the grand stage, with running back Jawhar Jordan emerging as the evening's shining star. Jordan ignited the crowd's fervor with a dazzling 72-yard touchdown run just before halftime, extending the lead to an imposing 28-0. By the time his remarkable night concluded, the Arizona native had amassed 135 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries, averaging an astonishing 19.3 yards per tote. His contribution extended beyond the ground game, as he added 43 yards from two receptions. The Louisville receiving corps, spearheaded by Jamari Thrash, continued to dazzle. Thrash, a transfer from Georgia State, showcased his prowess with 82 yards on three receptions. Quarterback Jack Plummer had an arsenal of eight pass catchers at his disposal, propelling him to five throws of 20 or more yards. Thrash's longest reception, a spectacular 73-yarder, was the exclamation point in the second quarter, extending the lead to 21-0. The night was particularly poignant for the receivers as they honored former Cardinals wideout Ernest Givins, whose No. 29 jersey holds a special place in the annals of Louisville football history. Fast forward nearly four decades, and Kevin Coleman stepped into a similar spotlight. He not only fielded punts with aplomb but also recorded two receptions for 32 yards, including a jaw-dropping one-handed catch for 30 yards early in the first quarter. Even with the game securely in hand at 56-0 with 7:45 remaining, the crowd erupted in cheers as freshman quarterback Pierce Clarkson entered the game. The former four-star prospect, who played a crucial role in recruiting for the Cardinals, was one of nine quarterbacks to take the field. While Plummer, Brock Domann, Harrison Bailey, and Brady Allen were the only others to throw passes, the depth displayed was a testament to Brohm's commitment to developing future talent. As the dust settles on this resounding victory, the Cardinals will enjoy a well-deserved nine-day hiatus before facing off against Indiana on September 16 at the illustrious Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The anticipation for this clash is sure to build, fueled by the promise of more exhilarating moments in the Cardinals' quest for greatness.

Michael Stadlman

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Friday, September 8, 2023

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