Louisville Cardinals football
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|Louisville Cardinals football|
|Athletic director||Tom Jurich|
|Head coach||Bobby Petrino
7th overall, 3rd straight year, 67–21 (.761)
|Stadium||Papa John's Cardinal Stadium|
|Past conferences||Independent (1912–1963)
I-A Independent (1975–1995)
Conference USA (1996–2004)
Big East Conference (2005–2012)
American Athletic Conference (2013)
|All-time record||500–445–17 (.529)|
|Bowl record||10–9–1 (.525)|
|Conference titles||8 (2 Missouri Valley Conference, 3 Conference USA, 3 Big East)|
|Colors||Red and Black
|Fight song||Fight! UofL|
|Marching band||U of L Cardinal Marching Band (Marching Cards)|
The Louisville Cardinals Football team represents the University of Louisville in the sport of American football. The Cardinals compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The team is currently coached by Bobby Petrino.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Early history (1912–1942)
- 1.2 Frank Camp era (1946–68)
- 1.3 Lee Corso era (1969–1972)
- 1.4 Alley, Gibson and Weber (1973–1984)
- 1.5 Howard Schnellenberger era (1985–1994)
- 1.6 Ron Cooper era (1995–1997)
- 1.7 John L. Smith era (1998–2002)
- 1.8 Bobby Petrino era (2003–2006)
- 1.9 Steve Kragthorpe era (2007–2009)
- 1.10 Charlie Strong era (2010–2013)
- 1.11 Petrino's Return (2014–present)
- 2 Facilities
- 3 Attendance records
- 4 Louisville Cardinals football seasons and bowl results
- 5 Traditions
- 6 Current coaching staff
- 7 Current players in NFL
- 8 Individual honors and notable players
- 9 School records
- 10 Future non-conference opponents
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Early history (1912–1942)
The University of Louisville began playing football in 1912 where the Cardinals went 3–1. Louisville had played several years at club level and teams were mostly composed with medical students. Beginning in 1914 the Cardinals joined the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) and they would participate in Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC). Due to financial difficulty Louisville did not participate in the 1917–1921 seasons.
When the Cardinals did rejoin football they came back into the SIAA which was going through reorganization losing most major state schools and thus became a small college conference. The Cardinals would face mostly Kentucky state schools such as Eastern Kentucky, Murray State, Western Kentucky, and Morehead State, along with private state schools like Centre, Transylvania, Kentucky Wesleyan, and Georgetown College.
Tom King was the first coach to attempt to build a program at Louisville. King played college football at Notre Dame (1915–1916) under Coach Palmer and Knute Rockne. King was an undersized end for the Irish and was known[by whom?] for his athleticism and speed. Before he came to the football team for punt returns he was on the track team and basketball team, where he was named captain in 1916. His experience at Notre Dame gave him ideas on developing a spread wing offense so his undersized players could be better utilized. He often recruited players like him, that had the ability to outrun their opponent.
His first standout was Fred Koster; at only 160 pounds he was not big enough to play at Male High School. Koster drew national attention to Louisville in 1926 by racking up 68 points in his first 2 games of the season. In six games, Koster scored 18 touchdowns, 10 extra points, and 2 field goals and went on to finish second in scoring in college football with 124 points. Koster was an all-around athlete and was a letterman 16 times, 4 times in each baseball, basketball, football, and track. Koster was a standout forward for the basketball team, leading the team in scoring two years. In baseball, Koster played professionally for 10 years for the Philadelphia Phillies (one season) as well as the minor league teams Louisville Colonels and St. Paul Saints in the American Association.
Tom King had the program going in the right direction until he decided to play Detroit for $10,000. Rockne who was head coach at Notre Dame, and a fellow graduate called King and asked if he would take the Detroit game because Rockne felt his team was not up to it. When King asked what was in it for Louisville Rockne replied $10,000, which was a substantial sum of money in 1928 for an athletics department. Louisville started the season with a 72–0 win over Eastern Kentucky but when they traveled to Detroit they were hammered with injuries and did not win another game or score for the rest of the season, as Detroit went undefeated and claimed a share of the national title.
King served as head football coach for two more years but he also served as track, baseball, basketball and athletic director during his tenure at Louisville. Louisville athletics took a step back when Dr. Raymond Kent was announced as the new president of Louisville.[according to whom?] He was outwardly opposed to collegiate sports. King on the advice of his friend Rockne moved on and in 1933 became assistant coach at Michigan State.
Louisville fell quickly back into the Dark Ages of football[according to whom?] and posted one winning season until World War II. With the onset of World War II, Louisville, like many college athletic programs around the country, was put on suspension until 1946. During that time Louisville played mostly within KIAC and posted a 73–118–8 record with a .378 winning percentage.
Largest victory: 100–0 vs Washington College (TN) on October 18, 1913
Largest defeat: 105–0 vs Murray State on October 8, 1932
Undefeated season: 1925, 8–0, allowing 2 points to be scored all season
Frank Camp era (1946–68)
Frank Camp revived the Cardinal Program in 1946 after World War II ended. Camp was collegiate player at Transylvania University in both football and basketball went on to accumulate a 102–35–04 record as a high school coach before he was tabbed for the head job at Louisville. Camp was responsible for moving away from the traditional KIAC competition and moving towards a more competitive schedule including match ups against some powerhouse traditional teams. Camp would see success early after going 7–0–1 in his second year and was accredited for being able to gel current players with the new recruits return from war.
Camp like King would see another President pull resources and scholarships in the early 1950s would see both Knop, who at the time was being recruited by Bear Bryant of Kentucky, and Johnny Unitas, who was being recruited by Indiana, elect to stay at Louisville and play for Camp. Louisville did see a lot of talent leave and they went into a slump from 1950 to 1954. Camp would only suffer 2 losing seasons for the rest of his career. The loss of the scholarships saw a loss talent on the team. So when scholarships were again available Camp would start to recruit black players and start integration in the sports program in at Louisville.
The most enduring legacy Camp left behind was pioneering integration in the southern athletics. Camp's first African-American player was Lawrence "Bumpy" Simmons, a local product from Central High School. He only played one year in 1952 and left the team on good terms. Camp would bring in Andy Walker, George Cain and Lenny Lyles in 1954 and they would become the first scholarship players at Louisville. Once the university was integrated in 1951 Camp and his assistant coach Wood sought out potential recruits. Coach Wood would be integral in bring in Lyles who was also a track star. All three players would go on to become starters and Lyles and Cain would become a dangerous tandem in the backfield.
Camp would introduce the rivalry of Memphis, taking the Cards out independency and joining the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC)and lead the Cards to their first bowl game during his tenure. Camp's legacy is tied to three players he brought to Louisville Johnny Unitas, Lenny Lyles, and Otto Knop. Camp coached the Cardinals until his retirement following the 1968 season. Camp is the Cardinals' all-time wins leader among head coaches in Louisville football history. Camp would also see the Cardinals leave Parkway Field and move to Manual Stadium which held 17,000 and was relief for players because they no longer had to play on a baseball field and it was well lit. The Cards would then move to Cardinal Stadium in 1957 and it would serve as their home until they moved to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in 1998. In their inaugural season at Cardinal Stadium the Cardinals finished the season 9–1 with their first bowl appearance winning in the Sun Bowl against Drake 34–20. Louisville ended I-A independence by joining the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) in 1963 only to leave independence again in 1974.
During Camp's tenure at Louisville he amassed a 118–95–2 record with a 1–0 bowl record to become the all-time winningest coach at Louisville. He retired following the 1968 season.
Five games into Johnny Unitas' freshman season (Unitas was allowed to play as a freshman because Louisville did not belong to the NCAA), Unitas entered the game against St. Bonaventure when Louisville was trailing, 19–0. Unitas completed 11 consecutive passes, 3 for touchdowns, in a steady rain and helped put the Cards in front, 21–19. But St. Bonaventure kicked a last-ditch field goal and Louisville lost, 22–21. With Unitas leading the way, Louisville won its next four games, including a 35–28 victory over Houston; Louisville was a 19-point underdog against the Cougars. In that game the Cardinals were leading 28–21 and had the ball on their own eight-yard line in the fourth quarter. After two unsuccessful running plays, Unitas dropped back into his own end zone, sidestepped two defenders and threw a pass to Babe Ray, who scored a 92-yard TD.
In the next day's Louisville Courier-Journal, reporter Jimmy Brown wrote: "If Coach Frank Camp is smart, he'll take Unitas, enclose him in a cellophane bag and put him away with the Cardinals' uniforms for safekeeping over the winter."[this quote needs a citation]
In his sophomore season, Unitas completed 77 of his 154 passes and threw 12 TDs. Louisville went 3–8 that year. At Florida State, Unitas completed 17 of 22 passes in a 41–14 victory. Louisville, though, almost lost Unitas after his sophomore season after an administrative hassle which saw 15 players dismissed from school, leaving the Cardinal roster empty. Unitas thought about leaving and transferring to Indiana. But, he decided against leaving when he was reminded that Indiana shunned him earlier in his career. Unitas holds just a few records at Louisville, most of them eclipsed by quarterbacks John Madeya, Ed Rubbert, Browning Nagle, Jeff Brohm, Marty Lowe, Chris Redman, Dave Ragone and Stefan LeFors. Unitas finished his career completing 247 of 502 passes for 2,912 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Unitas left Louisville and became the ninth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1955, but was cut by them in a numbers game. The Steelers had four quarterbacks; they only needed three. Unitas was the odd man out.
Unitas took a job with a Pittsburgh tiling company following the cut and then he joined the Bloomfield Rams, a semi-pro team. He made six dollars a game. But Unitas did not linger long in the bush league. The Colts got wind of him and invited him for a tryout. He made the team, signing for $7,000.
Unitas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979 and his record 47-consecutive-game touchdown passes is a record compared to Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. (Drew Brees broke the record in 2012.)
A trailblazer in the integration of the Louisville Cardinals football program, Lenny Lyles was an outstanding player on both sides of the football from 1954 to 1957. Although he faced many unwelcoming crowds in his time at Louisville he always had the support of his coaches and teammates. On a recruiting trip to IU, track star Milt Campbell would advise Lyles against IU so Lyles would settle in his hometown university and play for Camp. The Central High product was a prize recruit for Louisville not only for his skill on the field but also to help attract other black players to the school. Louisville was coming out of a de-emphasis on sports and scholarships were now available to offer.
A four-year starter for the Cardinals, Lyles totaled 2,786 yards on the ground and scored a school-record 42 touchdowns in his storied career, including 18 in 1957 to set a single season record which stood for more than 40 years. He is the school's second all-time scoring leader with 300 points in his storied career. He became the first Cardinal to surpass the 1,000-yard mark in a single season. In 1957, his 1,207 yards not only earned him All-America acclaim but led all of college football. He was selected in the first round of the 1958 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts, where he teamed with Johnny Unitas.
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A four-year letterwinner at linebacker and center from 1949 to 1952, Otto Knop earned honorable mention Associated Press Little All-America honors as a sophomore and United Press International All-America his junior year. He was inducted into the UofL Athletic Hall of Fame in 1979 in its second induction class, and was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994. His most memorable highlight was a fumble recovery that led to the tying touchdown in a stunning 13–13 deadlock at heavily favored Miami (FL) in 1950.
- 1958 Sun Bowl
Louisville 34, Drake 20 on January 1, 1958 | El Paso, Tx
The University of Louisville made its first bowl appearance January 1, 1958, as Frank Camp's squad battered Drake 34–20 in the Sun Bowl. The victory over the Drake Bulldogs capped a near-perfect season for the Cardinals. UofL finished with a 9–1 record. Louisville's squad was headed by Lenny Lyles, the nation's leading rusher. Unfortunately, Lyles went down in the first quarter with an injury. He managed just six yards on two carries. In Lyles' absence, Ken Porco and Pete Bryant stepped forward offensively. Porco ran for a game-high 119 yards on 20 carries. Bryant added 80 yards on 14 carries, while also tossing a 20-yard scoring pass.
- The Miami Game
Louisville 13, #9 Miami 13
November 10, 1950 | Miami, Fl (28,824)
Louisville had played Miami the previous year at Manual Stadium and suffered a 0–26 drubbing. When they met in Miami the following year, Miami was ranked 9th nationally with a 6–0 record and was looking forward to the Orange Bowl at the end of the year. Louisville felt they had a chance against Miami when their quarterback was injured in Miami's previous game. Louisville played excellent defense and played all 35 players that went on the trip. The Cards kept the game close with 0–7 score at the half. Louisville would tie it up in the third quarter only to see Miami retake the lead early in the fourth. Louisville would come back and score late putting the capacity crowd of 28,824 into a dead silence. On the extra point attempt Louisville split the upright and would have taken a 14–13 lead but a penalty was called for not having enough men on the line. On the scoring play a Louisville player left the game with an injury and in the excitement of the touchdown the assistant coach forgot to send in his backup. The game would end in a 13–13 tie but was still considered a huge victory for the Cards. Camp credited the Louisville defense and bench of playing a complete game. Louisville would come home to 5,000 fans at Standiford Field and was greeted by the mayor. This game would become the greatest forgotten game in Louisville history.
Johnny Unitas Comeback Game : 21–22 vs St. Bonaventure October 27, 1951
Undefeated Season: 1947 7–0–1 one year after revival
Lee Corso era (1969–1972)
Following Frank Camp's retirement, Navy defensive backs coach Lee Corso was hired to take over as Louisville's head football coach. Under Corso, the Cardinals went 28–11–3. Corso's final season saw the Cardinals finish 9–1 and ranked #18 in the final AP Poll. Corso would be the last coach until John L. Smith to leave Louisville with a winning record overall. After four seasons at Louisville, Corso left to become the head football coach at Indiana. Today, Corso is a well-known college football analyst for ESPN College Gameday.
Tom Jackson spent three seasons as a linebacker for the Cardinals leading the team in tackles all three campaigns. He earned All- Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year honors in 1970 and 1972. He played all three seasons under the watchful eye of the colorful Lee Corso as the Cards posted a 23–7–2 mark in Jackson's three seasons as an active player. Jackson was drafted in the fourth round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He played 14 seasons in the NFL.
Louisville 24, Long Beach State 24
December 19, 1970 | Pasadena, Ca (21,097)
In 1970, the University of Louisville's Missouri Valley Conference Championship team tied Long Beach State 24–24 at the Pasadena Bowl to close the season. Long Beach trailed Lee Corso's Cardinals almost the entire game after John Madeya scored a pair of touchdowns. On the strength of a safety and some nifty running by fullback Leon Burns, LBSU managed to forge a fourth-quarter tie. A strange play near the end of the game had the Louisville faithful thinking they just might secure a victory. Madeya threw a screen pass to tailback Tom Jesukaitis, who was supposed to go out of bounds. Instead Jesukaitis put the ball in the air again, throwing a pass to Cookie Brinkman who went in for a touchdown. The rulebook prohibits more than one pass on a single play, however, and UofL was penalized five yards. Louisville's Paul Mattingly was named Defensive Player of the Game. He blocked a 32-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter and was in on a game-high 17 tackles.
Alley, Gibson and Weber (1973–1984)
Following Lee Corso's departure Louisville's football program struggled mightily as fan support grew weaker and weaker. The years between Corso's departure and Howard Schnellenberger's arrival are considered the dark years for Louisville football. Louisville only made one bowl appearance during the tenures of T. W. Alley, Vince Gibson and Bob Weber, the 1977 Independence Bowl, which they lost to Louisiana Tech. All three of those head coaches had losing records at Louisville. T. W. Alley was hired to replace Corso, but was fired after two unsuccessful seasons. Vince Gibson was then hired to lead the football program. During Vince Gibson's tenure at Louisville, Gibson nicknamed his team the "Red Rage". Although the moniker is no longer used to describe the football team, several other university organizations over the years have used the "Red Rage" nickname. Gibson had the best overall record of the three coaches between Corso and Schnellenberger at 25–29–2. After Gibson came Bob Weber, who went 20–35 in five seasons. After Weber's tenure, athletic officials considered dropping from Division I-A (now FBS) to I-AA (now FCS) in football, due to the program's on-the-field struggles and low attendance and fan support, but decided to stay at the I-A level.
Although this was a low point for the Cardinals in their history they did produce some notable NFL talent. Walter Peacock (1972–1975), Louisville's all-time leading rusher would become the first star of this era, at 3,204 yards Peacock would account for much of the Cards offense. On the defensive side of the ball Louisville Legends Frank Minnifield (1979–82), Otis Wilson (1977–79) and Dwayne Woodruff (1976–78) would go on to long NFL careers. Louisville would also begin producing elite wide receivers such as Ernest Givens (1984–85) and Mark Clayton (1979–82), Clayton would go on to become the first Cardinal to break the 1,000 yard mark with 1,112 receiving yards in a season (1981) until Arnold Jackson surpassed him in 1998. Joe Jacoby (1978–80) would go on to a very successful NFL career with 3 Super Bowls wins and becoming a 4 time Pro-Bowler for the Washington Redskins. Jacoby was not the only offensive line to see a long NFL career, Bruce Armstrong would go to play 13 season with the New England Patriots and accumlate 6 Pro-Bowls and 2 2nd team selections along the way.
Howard Schnellenberger era (1985–1994)
Following five unsuccessful seasons under the guidance of Bob Weber, Howard Schnellenberger, a native of Louisville and 1983 National Champion as the head football coach at Miami, was hired in hopes of making Louisville a national title contender for the first time ever. At the press conference announcing his hiring, Schnellenberger drew laughs when he said the Cardinals were "on a collision course with the national championship. The only variable is time."
Prior to accepting the Louisville job, Schnellenberger turned a lowly Miami football program that was nearly dropped from the athletic department into a national champion in five years. Schnellenberger also played at Kentucky for and served as offensive coordinator at Alabama under Bear Bryant. His hiring brought excitement to Louisville football that had never been seen before among the Louisville fan base. His best team was the 1990 unit, which went 10–1–1 and routed Alabama in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl en route to their first-ever appearance in a final poll. The 1990 season highlighted what was, at the time, the most successful decade in U of L football history. His teams earned 90 percent of the school's all-time TV appearances, its first-ever appearance in a major bowl, helped increase attendance by nearly 40 percent, an average over the past six years of more than 1,000 above stadium capacity.
His teams played a coast-to-coast schedule against the top conferences in the nation and produced victories over such teams as Texas (1), Alabama (1), Michigan State (1), North Carolina (1), Virginia (1), North Carolina State (1), West Virginia (1), Boston College (1), Arizona State (2), and Pittsburgh (4). Schnellenberger also would see a lot of talent going on to play in the NFL. Some of his notable talent was Ray Buchanan, Ted Washington, Sam Madison, Jeff Brohm, Roman Oben and Joe Johnson.
Schnellenberger also took Louisville to the Liberty Bowl in 1993, where it defeated Michigan State. 1993 would become a reflection of what the coach was trying to build by scheduling Texas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Arizona St., Pittsburgh and West Virginia. With Louisville announcing that it would give up independent status and join Conference USA, a weak football conference, Schnellenberger left for Oklahoma after the 1994 season. While he never won a national title at Louisville, he did succeed in reviving a program that had been on life support when he arrived. For that reason, even though he had a losing overall record of 54–56–2 in 10 seasons (largely because his first three teams only won eight games total), he remains very much in the good graces of Cardinal fans.
Schnellenberger's lasting legacy at U of L however, is Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, which he proposed from the minute he arrived. Schnellenberger planned and raised the money for its construction, but left for Oklahoma before the stadium opened. In 2006, Louisville named the Cardinals' football fieldhouse the Howard L. Schnellenberger Football Complex with Schnellenberger in attendance before U of L's game against Florida Atlantic University. The most valuable player award for the UofL and UK is also named after him because he was born and raised in Louisville and he played college at Kentucky.
- 1991 Fiesta Bowl
Louisville 34, Alabama 7
January 1, 1991 | Tempe, Az (69,098)
Louisville was invited to the bowl game after schools such as Notre Dame and Virginia declined to participate in protest of the Arizona voters' rejection of recognizing The Martin Luther King holiday.
Playing in its first bowl game in 13 years, the Cardinals felt they had something to prove at the 1991 Fiesta Bowl. The squad proved its point in a 34–7 thrashing of Alabama. The Cardinals came out on all cylinders, scoring 25 points in the first quarter. Browning Nagle tossed two long touchdown passes and Ray Buchanan recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown. Nagle threw for a Fiesta Bowl record 451 yards, including 223 during a 25-point first-quarter explosion. He completed 20-of-33 passes and had three scoring passes. Alabama's offense did not experience much success. For the game, the Tide rolled for just 189 yards of total offense. UofL defensive back Ray Buchanan was tabbed as the game's defensive most valuable player.
- 1993 Liberty Bowl
Louisville 18, Michigan State 7
December 28, 1993 | Memphis, Tn. (21,097)
The 1993 Cardinals put a cap on an 8–3 regular season with an 18–7 victory over Michigan State at the Liberty Bowl. Howard Schnellenberger's squad registered the first win ever by the Cardinals over a Big Ten foe. The conditions were hardly ideal for an aerial display, but quarterback Jeff Brohm checked in with one of the guttiest efforts in the history of Cardinal football. Brohm, playing with two steel pins and one steel plate in the index finger of his throwing hand completed 19-of-29 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown amidst 20- degree temperatures and freezing rain. Most of that courage was shown in the fourth quarter. Entering the final frame, Louisville trailed 7–3.With 12:05 remaining, Brohm connected on a 25-yard strike to Reggie Ferguson to put the Cardinals in front for good. Just over three minutes later, it was the defense's turn to make a big play. Pinned back to their one-yard line, the Spartans were merely looking to get some breathing room for their offense. Running back Craig Thomas took the handoff and was immediately met by All-American defensive end Joe Johnson and reserve linebacker Tyrus McCloud for a safety. On the ensuing possession, the Cardinals marched down the field for an insurance touchdown when Anthony Shelman bolted into the end zone from 11 yards out.
Ron Cooper era (1995–1997)
Following the departure of Howard Schnellenberger to Oklahoma, Ron Cooper was hired away from Eastern Michigan, where he had a 9–13 record in two seasons as the head football coach. Cooper had also been an assistant at Notre Dame under Lou Holtz. Cooper was the first African American head football coach in Louisville football history, and also the youngest. He was 32 years old when he was named head coach. The committee responsible for hiring Cooper was very impressed with Cooper's optimism and vision for the program. Louisville went 6–5 and 5–6 in Cooper's first two seasons, but fell to 1–10 in Cooper's third and ultimately final season, prompting newly hired athletic director Tom Jurich to fire Cooper.
John L. Smith era (1998–2002)
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After the firing of Ron Cooper, Jurich hired Utah State head coach John L. Smith as the new Louisville head football coach. Smith kick-started the program and went 7–5, 7–5, 9–3, 11–2 and 7–6 in his five seasons as head coach. Following the 2002 season, Smith accepted an offer to become the head football coach at Michigan State.
Smith's teams were known for offensive prowess. "John L.", as he was called, would also begin the cycle of bring great college quarterbacks to Louisville starting with Chris Redman (1996–99), Dave Ragone (1998–2001) and Stephan LeFors (2000–03). On the receiving end would see great receivers including all-time NCAA reception setter Arnold Jackson (1997–2000), Ibn Green (1996–99) and a future Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch (2001–02).
Chris Redman closed his career as the NCAA all-time leader in passes attempted and completed and was one of just three Division I-A signal callers to throw for more than 12,000 yards in a career. The Parade National High School Player of the Year at Louisville Male, Redman finished his Cardinal career completing 1,031 of 1,679 passes for 12,541 yards and 84 touchdowns. A first-team All-Conference USA selection and the league's Offensive Player of the Year in 1999, he also added the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award to his mantle. As a junior, Redman rewrote the UofL and C-USA record books, passing for 4,042 yards and 29 scores despite playing in just 10 regular season games. His 44-of-56, 592-yard afternoon against East Carolina was the nation's top single game passing performance in 1998.
A former junior-college standout, Deion Branch played for the Cardinals from 2000 to 2001. Despite playing just two seasons, Branch put up remarkable numbers. He stands seventh all-time in receiving yards with 2,204, ninth with 143 receptions and tied for fourth with 18 touchdowns. Branch registered his best season in 2001 when he caught 72 passes for 1,188 and nine scores. He also caught 71 passes for 1,016 yards and nine scores in his initial years with the Cardinals. Coming out of Louisville, Branch was originally drafted by New England in the second-round (65th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft. He played four years with the Patriots and is in his fifth with the Seahawks.
A native of Albany, Ga., Branch made his name in the post-season, totaling 21 receptions in two Super Bowls (XXXVIII, XXXIX). He recorded a game-high 10 receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots' 32–29 Super Bowl XXXVIII victory over the Carolina Panthers. He was named the Super Bowl MVP after tying a Super Bowl record with 11 receptions in the Patriots' 24–21 victory over the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
- Mills Kills
Louisville 27, #20 Southern Miss 30
November 30, 1999 | Louisville, Kentucky (41,826)
Louisville was tied 27–27 with Southern Miss with under two minutes to go with the 1999 Conference USA title on the line. Facing fourth and 5 at the Louisville 37, Southern Miss went into punt formation. Shawn Mills was leaving the field after getting into a heated discussion with head coach Jeff Bower. The punter, Jamie Purser, threw a 27-yard pass to Mills which led to a Brett Hanna field goal attempt that won the game.
- Rain Game
Louisville 26, #4 Florida State 20
September 26, 2002 | Louisville, Kentucky (38,109)
In a driving rainstorm, remnants of Hurricane Isidore, Louisville hosted the #4-ranked Florida State Seminoles to overtime with a 20–20 tie. In the first play of overtime, FSU QB Chris Rix threw an interception to Louisville's Anthony Floyd. On the second play of overtime, Louisville's Henry Miller took a hand-off from quarterback Dave Ragone and went 25 yards for the game-winning touchdown; the final score was 26–20. The PJCS crowd stormed the field and tore down the goal posts.
Bobby Petrino era (2003–2006)
Bobby Petrino, Auburn offensive coordinator and a former Louisville offensive coordinator under Smith, was hired to be the new head football coach. Petrino also served as offensive coordinator for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars under Tom Coughlin and tutored Jake Plummer while serving as an assistant coach at Arizona State. Petrino had a reputation for being an offensive juggernaut, and the results showed. The high-scoring offense that was seen during John L. Smith's tenure not only continued but got better under Petrino's guidance. The Cards earned national rankings as high as sixth in 2004 and 2006 during Petrino's tenure. Petrino went 41–9 in four seasons as head football coach, the best winning percentage (.82) of any head coach in Louisville football history. Prior to the 2006 season, Petrino agreed to a ten-year contract extension with Louisville, giving the impression he was going to be at Louisville for the long haul. Louisville went 12–1 in 2006, winning the Big East championship and the Orange Bowl, the school's first appearance in a Bowl Championship Series bowl game. The Cardinals had hopes of playing in the BCS National Championship Game before losing at Rutgers in November. After winning the Orange Bowl, and only six months after agreeing to a contract extension, Petrino left after accepting an offer to be the head coach of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, a position he resigned before completing his first season, after 13 games.
During his first tenure as head coach, Petrino coached the likes of Stefan LeFors, Brian Brohm, Hunter Cantwell, Michael Bush, Harry Douglas, Gary Barnidge, Elvis Dumervil, Amobi Okoye and William Gay.
- Miami part 2
Louisville 38, #3 Miami 41
October 14, 2004 | Miami, Fl (63,715)
It had been 54 years since Louisville would field a team that could compete with Miami. Louisville once again took a team down to Miami in hopes of pulling off a stunning upset. The Cardinals walked into the Orange Bowl to face the # 3 Miami Hurricanes riding a 30 home game winning streak. This game would be played on Thursday night and give Louisville rare national exposure for their emerging football program.
The Cards were led by Stefan LeFors who had the #17 ranked Cardinals undefeated and ready to take-down Miami. LaFors led the way with great passing and his scrambling abilities in the first half as Louisville took a 24–7 lead into halftime. Louisville's defense was able to hold Miami to 3 three and outs in the second quarter as they added 17 points and created a 21-point lead. Running backs Eric Shelton, Lionel Gates and Michael Bush led a three headed monster as the offense was able to balance its attack in the first half.
In the second half Louisville would try to halt Miami's offense and come away with an upset. Miami was able to pull the game within striking distance late in the 3rd quarter and would take the lead on an untouched Devin Hester 78 yard punt return for a touchdown. Louisville had been kicking away from the dangerous return man all game but Hester made them pay when Brent Moody sent it Hester's way. Early on the 4th quarter Lefors would leave the game with a concussion as he fumbled the ball leading to a Miami touchdown. Brian Brohm would enter the game and this would be the first real action highly touted freshmen would see. Brohm and Gates would lead the drive to retake the lead 38–34, with 4 minutes left to play. With another huge return by Hester to give Miami great field position. Miami would eat away yardage and the clock until they got into the redzone. Kerry Rhodes, who had already had an interception in the game, dropped a potential game ending pass from Miami's Berlin with 1:38 remaining. Louisville would get another chance to end game on a fourth and four that Miami was able to convert on a 5 yards pass that eventually led to a Miami touchdown and subsequent win.
Lefors would go 17 for 22 with 242 yards and 3 touchdowns before being sidelined for the game. Gates would rush for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns for the night leading all running backs. But the game really showed the direction that coach Petrino was leading the Cardinals and the future looked bright with Louisville entering into the Big East Conference the following season. The Cardinals would finish the season 11–1, finish with a #9 ranking and win against another rising program when they defeated Boise State in the Liberty Bowl with a final score of 44–40.
- First Big East Game
Louisville 44, #25 West Virginia 46 (3OT)
October 15, 2005 | Morgantown Wv. (59,797)
Louisville was the preseason favorite to win the Big East in 2005, their first season in the league. The then-#19 Cardinals got off to a great start, leading the unranked Mountaineers 17–0 at the half, and limiting the Mountaineers to just 56 total yards in the first half. Louisville continued to hold steady until WVU quarterback Adam Bednarik left the game with an injury. The Mountaineers' dual-threat backup QB Patrick White entered the game and, along with running back Steve Slaton, took charge. With 8:16 left in the fourth quarter, and Louisville leading 24–7, West Virginia reeled off 17 unanswered points to send the game into overtime. The extra periods were heated, with each team matching the other step-for-step. During the third overtime, West Virginia's Slaton ran in a touchdown, with wide receiver Dorrell Jalloh pulling in the 2-point conversion. Louisville answered back, with Michael Bush scoring on a 3-yard run. During UL's 2-point attempt, the Mountaineers covered all of Louisville's wideouts, forcing Brohm to tuck and go. West Virginia defensive back Eric Wicks spotted Brohm rushing, and stuffed him at the 3 yard-line. The Mountaineers defeated the Cardinals in three overtimes, 46–44. Louisville would go on to face Virginia Tech in the Toyota Gator Bowl.
- First Blackout Game
#5 Louisville 44, #3 West Virginia 34
November 2, 2006 | Louisville, Kentucky (43,217)
On a freezing night in early November, the undefeated, #5-ranked Louisville Cardinals played the undefeated, #3-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers in front of the largest national audience to watch an ESPN-broadcast college football game. Louisville was the first team all season to physically match West Virginia's running game, and this resulted in an injury to Steve Slaton. This affected his ball handling, causing him to fumble the ball three times. One was recovered for a Louisville touchdown by linebacker Malik Jackson. Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm threw for 354 yards and one touchdown in a 44–34 Louisville victory over the Mountaineers.
- 2007 Orange Bowl
Louisville 24, Wake Forest 13
January 2, 2007 | Miami (74,730)
Anthony Allen scored two touchdowns, one on a trick play, and Brian Brohm threw for 311 yards to lead Louisville past Wake Forest 24–13 in the 2007 FedEx Orange Bowl. The Cardinals averaged 39 points and ranked second in the nation in total offense this season, but fell behind 13–10 in the final period before their offense went into high gear. Alphonso Smith nearly blocked Carmody's errant kick and also harried Louisville's punter into a 14- yard boot that set up a 44-yard field goal by Sam Swank of Wake Forest. But Sam Swank made a 36-yarder to cap a 61-yard drive and put the Demon Deacons ahead 13–10 early in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals responded with an eight-play drive capped by Allen's 1-yard plunge for a 17–13 lead with 12:31 to go. They quickly forced a punt, and mounted a 10-play drive that ended with Brock Bolen's 18-yard scoring run. Brohm finished 24-for-34 and was chosen the game's most valuable player. The Demon Deacons trailed 10–3 at halftime but scored on their first possession of the third period when Nate Morton slipped behind the Louisville secondary to catch a 30-yard TD pass from Skinner.
Steve Kragthorpe era (2007–2009)
Less than 48 hours after Petrino's departure for the Atlanta Falcons, Steve Kragthorpe was hired from Tulsa, where he had gone 29–22 in four seasons as the head football coach. Things began to go downhill in Kragthorpe's first season as the Cardinals, fresh off an Orange Bowl win with most of the players returning, began the season ranked in the top 10 in the AP and Coaches' Poll but struggled to a 6–6 record and were not invited to a bowl for the first time since Ron Cooper's final season in 1997. A 5–7 2008 season followed that, and after finishing the 2009 season 4–8, Jurich fired Kragthorpe. Much of the fan base and media felt like Kragthorpe underachieved, was not a strong recruiter, and never had control of the program throughout his tenure as head coach.
Charlie Strong era (2010–2013)
On December 9, 2009, Charlie Strong was hired as Louisville's 21st head coach. Strong had been a defensive coordinator for 11 years at South Carolina and Florida, studying under the likes of Lou Holtz and Urban Meyer. Strong is the second African American head football coach in Louisville football history.
Although obtaining his first head coaching position at the age of 50, Strong's energy immediately rejuvenated the Louisville fan base. After back to back 7–6 seasons in 2010 and 2011, Strong led Louisville to an 11–2 season in 2012 capped with a Sugar Bowl win over Florida, Louisville's second BCS game victory in school history, and after the season, Strong agreed to terms on a new contract that made him the seventh-highest paid head football coach in the country.
Strong's 2013 Cardinals team posted a 12–1 overall record with a dominating victory over Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The 12-win season was the Cardinals' second in program history.
- 2013 AllState Sugar Bowl
#22 Louisville 33, #4 Florida 23
January 2, 2013 | New Orleans, La. (54,178)
Louisville safety Calvin Pryor predicted the Cardinals would "shock the world" against Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Terell Floyd returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown on the first play, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater directed a handful of scoring drives and No. 22 Louisville stunned the fourth-ranked Gators 33–23 in the Sugar Bowl. Bridgewater was 20 of 32 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns against the heavily favored Gators. Among his throws was a pinpoint, 15-yard timing toss that DeVante Parker acrobatically grabbed as he touched one foot down in the corner of the end zone. His other scoring strike went to Damian Copeland from 19 yards one play after a surprise onside kick by the Gators backfired badly. Jeremy Wright had short touchdown run which gave the two-touchdown underdogs from the Big East a 14–0 lead from which the Gators never recovered. Down 33–10 midway through the fourth period, Florida tried to rally. Andre Debose scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and Driskel threw a TD pass to tight end Kent Taylor with 2:13 left. But when Louisville defenders piled on Driskel to thwart the 2-point try, the game was essentially over.
Petrino's Return (2014–present)
- Louisville Runs Away from FSU on ESPN 'GameDay' Debut
#10 Louisville 63, #2 Florida State 20
September 17, 2016 | Louisville, KY. (55,632)
Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
The Louisville Cardinals football team plays its home games at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Prior to that the team played its games at Cardinal Stadium. The stadium was constructed with a capacity of 42,000 in 1998 for $63 million. However, the university completed a major expansion and renovation for the 2010 season. The $72 million project, which began in December 2008, features an elevated south-end terrace connecting the east and west sides of the stadium, 33 additional suites, 1,725 additional club seats, a second 100-yard-long club room, and 13,000 more chairback seats, bringing the total capacity to 55,000-plus.
Papa John's Cardinal Stadium will play host to its 17th season of Cardinal football in 2014 and has become one of the best home fields in the country. Specifically, since 1998, the Cardinals are 70–25 at home. Louisville went undefeated at home in 2001 and 2006 and won a school-record 20 straight home games from 2004 to 2007 (Syracuse snapped the streak with a 38–35 win in 2007). The structure, which sits on the south end of the metropolitan campus, is constructed with the ability for future expansion to more than 80,000 seats.
The Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex which honors the former Cardinal head coach, also sits inside the stadium area and houses the team's coaches, staff, training room, strength and conditioning area and academic services for the student athletes. Schnellenberger initially proposed building the on-campus Papa John's Cardinal Stadium during his tenure at Louisville and is credited with keeping the project alive.
- 55,632 vs. Florida State, September 18, 2016 
- 55,428 vs. Miami, September 1, 2014 
- 55,414 vs. Florida State, October 30, 2014 
- 55,396 vs. Clemson, September 17, 2015 
- 55,386 vs. Kentucky, September 2, 2012 
- 55,332 vs. Ohio, September 1, 2013 
- 55,327 vs. Kentucky, September 4, 2010 
- 55,215 vs. UCF, October 18, 2013 
- 55,168 vs. Rutgers, October 10, 2013 
- 55,106 vs. Cincinnati, October 15, 2010 
Old Cardinal Stadium
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Cardinal Stadium is the name of a former college and minor league baseball and college football stadium in Louisville, Kentucky. It is on the grounds of the Kentucky Exposition Center, and was called Fairgrounds Stadium when it first opened its doors to baseball in 1957.
The lone Bluegrass Bowl was held here in 1958. Cardinal Stadium was home to the Louisville Raiders football team from 1960 through 1962. It was the home to two minor league baseball teams in Louisville: the Louisville Colonels in 1968–1972 and the Louisville Redbirds in 1982–1999. It was to be the home of the American League Kansas City Athletics when their owner Charles O. Finley signed a contract to move the team to Louisville in 1964, but the American League owners voted against the move. The Kentucky Trackers of the AFA played at Cardinal Stadium 1979–1980. It also served as the home of the University of Louisville football team from 1957 to 1997 and their baseball team 1998–2004. It was also used heavily as a high school football stadium, hosting state championship games from in 1964–2002, including hosting all four state championship games played annually 1979–2002. Several local schools also played some games in Cardinal Stadium prior to 1998, including the annual St. Xavier–Trinity rivalry featuring the two major boys Catholic high schools in the city (a game now played at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium).
Attendance records for Cardinal Stadium
- 40,457 (11) Tennessee September 5, 1991 L, 11–28
- 39,826 (1) Penn State September 20, 1997 L, 21–57
The University of Louisville's Trager Center indoor practice facility just north of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, was officially opened on Thursday, Dec. 1 and used by the Cardinal football team. The indoor practice facility features a 120-yard FieldTurf field, a 100-meter four-lane sprint track, pole vault and long jump pits, as well as, batting cages for both baseball and softball. It's also equipped for the soccer, field hockey and lacrosse teams to use.
Louisville Cardinals football seasons and bowl results
Year-by-year results (1946–present)
|Frank Camp (Independent) (1946–1962)|
|1957||Louisville Cardinals||9–1||W Sun Bowl|
|Frank Camp (Missouri Valley Conference) (1963–1968)|
|Lee Corso (Missouri Valley Conference) (1969–1972)|
|1970||Louisville Cardinals||8–3–1||4–0||1st||T Pasadena Bowl|
|Tom W. Alley (Missouri Valley Conference) (1973–1974)|
|Tom W. Alley:||9–13||6–5|
|Vince Gibson (Independent) (1975–1979)|
|1977||Louisville Cardinals||7–4–1||L Independence Bowl|
|Bob Weber (Independent) (1980–1984)|
|Howard Schnellenberger (Independent) (1985–1994)|
|1990||Louisville Cardinals||10–1–1||W Fiesta Bowl||14|
|1993||Louisville Cardinals||9–3||W Liberty Bowl||24|
|Ron Cooper (Independent) (1995)|
|Ron Cooper (Conference USA) (1996–1997)|
|John L. Smith (Conference USA) (1998–2002)|
|1998||Louisville Cardinals||7–5||4–2||3rd||L Motor City Bowl|
|1999||Louisville Cardinals||7–5||4–2||T-2nd||L Humanitarian Bowl|
|2000||Louisville Cardinals||9–3||6–1||1st||L Liberty Bowl|
|2001||Louisville Cardinals||11–2||6–1||1st||W Liberty Bowl||17|
|2002||Louisville Cardinals||7–6||5–3||T-3rd||L GMAC Bowl|
|John L. Smith:||41–21||25–9|
|Bobby Petrino (Conference USA) (2003–2004)|
|2003||Louisville Cardinals||9–4||5–3||T-3||L GMAC Bowl|
|2004||Louisville Cardinals||11–1||8–0||1st||W Liberty Bowl||6|
|Bobby Petrino (Big East) (2005–2006)|
|2005||Louisville Cardinals||9–3||5–2||2nd||L Gator Bowl||19|
|2006||Louisville Cardinals||12–1||6–1||1st||W Orange Bowl†||6|
|Steve Kragthorpe (Big East) (2007–2009)|
|Charlie Strong (Big East) (2010–2012)|
|2010||Louisville Cardinals||7–6||3–4||T-5th||W Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl|
|2011||Louisville Cardinals||7–6||5–2||T-1st||L Belk Bowl|
|2012||Louisville Cardinals||11–2||5–2||T-1st||W Sugar Bowl†||13|
|Charlie Strong (American Athletic Conference) (2013)|
|2013||Louisville Cardinals||12–1||7–1||2nd||W Russell Athletic Bowl||15|
|Bobby Petrino (ACC) (2014–present)|
|2014||Louisville Cardinals||9–4||5–3||3rd, Atlantic||L Belk Bowl||24|
|2015||Louisville Cardinals||8–5||5–3||3rd, Atlantic||W Music City Bowl|
|2016||Louisville Cardinals||9–4||7–1||2nd, Atlantic||L Citrus Bowl||21|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|Years||Coach||Games||Record (W-L-T)||Winning %|
|1914||Dr. Bruce Baker||5||1–4||.200|
|1932||C. V. Money||9||0–9||.000|
|1998–2002||John L. Smith||62||41–21||.661|
Louisville has been to 20 bowl games; their overall bowl record is 10–9–1. During the BCS era (1998–2013), the Cardinals appeared in two BCS bowl games. Louisville attended a bowl each season from 1998 to 2006, and has an active streak of seven seasons with bowl appearances (2010–2016).
|1957||Sun Bowl||Drake||W 34–20|
|1970||Pasadena Bowl||Long Beach State||T 24–24|
|1977||Independence Bowl||Louisiana Tech||L 14–24|
|1990||Fiesta Bowl||Alabama||W 34–7|
|1993||Liberty Bowl||Michigan State||W 18–7|
|1998||Motor City Bowl||Marshall||L 29–48|
|1999||Humanitarian Bowl||Boise State||L 31–34|
|2000||Liberty Bowl||Colorado State||L 17–22|
|2001||Liberty Bowl||BYU||W 28–10|
|2002||GMAC Bowl||Marshall||L 15–38|
|2003||GMAC Bowl||Miami (OH)||L 28–49|
|2004||Liberty Bowl||Boise State||W 44–40|
|2005||Gator Bowl||Virginia Tech||L 24–35|
|2006||Orange Bowl (BCS)||Wake Forest||W 24–13|
|2010||Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl||Southern Miss||W 31–20|
|2011||Belk Bowl||NC State||L 24–31|
|2012||Sugar Bowl (BCS)||Florida||W 33–23|
|2013||Russell Athletic Bowl||Miami (FL)||W 36–9|
|2014||Belk Bowl||Georgia||L 14–37|
|2015||Music City Bowl||Texas A&M||W 27–21|
|2016||Citrus Bowl||LSU||L 9-29|
- 1970: Missouri Valley Conference
- 1972: Missouri Valley Conference (co-champs)
- 2000: Conference USA
- 2001: Conference USA
- 2004: Conference USA
- 2006: Big East Conference
- 2011: Big East Conference (co-champs)
- 2012: Big East Conference (co-champs)
Current Series stands at 14–15 Kentucky (14–9 for Louisville in Revival Era)
First Meeting: October 28, 1912 L, 0 – 41 | Last Meeting: November 26, 2016 L, 41 - 38 | Next Meeting: November 2017 @ Kentucky
Louisville and Kentucky football series was revived in 1994 after the success of the basketball series that restarted in 1983. They played all games at Commonwealth Stadium until Papa John's Cardinal Stadium (PJCS) was completed in 1997. The all-time series is 14–14 but in the revived series it is 14–8. Louisville played Kentucky in their first 4 seasons and twice in the 1920s holding the Cardinals scoreless in all contest. Kentucky then left the SIAA in 1922 and joined the Southeastern Conference and has limited its play of state schools since. It would be 70 years before these two schools would face each other again.
In 2013, it was announced that the game would be moved to the final game of the season following Louisville's 2014 move to the ACC. This scheduling change fits with other end of year SEC vs. ACC rivalry games such as Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, Florida vs. Florida State and South Carolina vs. Clemson.
Current Series Stands at 23–19–1 for Louisville
First Meeting: September 25, 1948 L, 7 – 13 | Last Meeting: November 23, 2013 W, 24 – 17 | Next Meeting: Presently unknown due to Louisville move to ACC in 2014
Current Series Stands at 22–30–1 for Cincinnati
First Meeting: November 4, 1922 W, 28 – 0 | Last Meeting: December 3, 2013 W, 31 – 24 | Next Meeting: Unknown
|Team||Games Played||1st Meeting||Last Meeting||Record (W-L-T)||Last Result|
|Boston College*||9||Oct. 18, 1986||Nov. 5, 2016||6–3–0||W 52–7 @ BC|
|Clemson*||3||Oct. 11, 2014||Oct. 1, 2016||0–3–0||L 42–36 @ Clemson|
|Florida St.*||17||Oct. 4, 1952||Sept. 17, 2016||3–14–0||W 63–20 @ Louisville|
|N. Carolina St.*||7||Nov. 2, 1951||Oct. 22, 2016||6–1–0||W 54–13 @ Louisville|
|Syracuse*||15||Oct. 5, 1985||Sept. 9, 2016||9–6–0||W 62–28 @ Syracuse|
|Wake Forest*||4||Jan. 2, 2007||Nov. 12, 2015||4–0–0||W 44–12 @ Louisville|
|Duke||2||Sept. 7, 2002||Oct. 14, 2016||2–0–0||W 24–14 @ Louisville|
|Miami||13||Nov. 11, 1933||Sept. 1, 2014||3–9–1||W 31–13 @ Louisville|
|N. Carolina||7||Sept. 24, 1988||Sept. 15, 2012||4–3–0||W 39–34 @ Louisville|
|Pittsburgh||17||Oct. 9, 1976||Nov. 21, 2015||8–9–0||L 34–45 @ Pitt|
|Virginia||5||Oct. 15, 1988||Oct. 29, 2016||3–2–0||W 32-25 @ UVA|
|Virginia Tech||7||Sept. 8, 1979||Jan. 2, 2006||2–5–0||L 24–35 Gator Bowl|
|Notre Dame^||1||Nov. 22, 2014||Nov. 22, 2014||1–0–0||W 31–28 @ Notre Dame|
(*)Division Opponent (^) Associate Member will play every 3 yrs''
The cardinal was chosen as the mascot in 1913 by Dean John Patterson wife to reflect the state bird of Kentucky. The suited mascot would not appear until 1953 when cheerleaders first suited up T. Lee Adams for action. Now the Cardinal Bird dubbed Louie appears at most Louisville sporting events and along with the spirit squad leads the crowds in cheers. During some home football games Louie could be seen parachuting into PJCS on occasion and in the stands starting the C-A-R-D-S chant to the crowd. Other duties are to lead the team onto the field at the start of the game and being a part of pregame and halftime marching band shows.
- Cheerleading and Lady Birds
The cheerleading squads are a national powerhouse with the large co-ed squad winning 15 National Cheerleaders Association Collegiate National championships (1985–86, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998–99, 2003–05, 2007–09, 2011), the all girl squad winning 9 championships (1998–99, 2001–05, 2009, 2011) and the small co-ed cheerleading squad winning 7 championships (2005–11). The University of Louisville Spirit Groups hold more national titles than any other sport offered at the university. The teams are coached by James Speed, Todd Sharp, Misty Hodges.
The University of Louisville Ladybirds dance team won its seventh national title in 2008, making back-to-back titles for the squad after the win in 2007. In 2004, they successfully defended their crowns from 2002 and 2003 at the National Dance Alliance Collegiate Championship and U of L also won the Universal Dance Association title in 1995 and 1997.The Ladybirds have long been successful, placing in the top five in the national competition 13 of the last 19 years. The group is under the direction of coach Todd Sharp.
The University of Louisville Cardinal Marching Band is made up of students from UofL and Metroversity students from the Louisville area. The group has been featured on ESPN, ABC World News Tonight, Oprah, Sports Illustrated, Extreme Makeover:Home Edition, just to name a few. The Marching Cards also has various performance groups in the spring semester including a dance band, a brass band and a spirit band. The Marching Cards is the official band to perform "My Old Kentucky Home" each year at the Kentucky Derby since 1938.
The University of Louisville football program created its annual Card March tradition prior to all home football contests to help bring fans out to the stadium earlier and to give the football team added inspiration before the game. The tradition began when the team buses would stop on Denny Crum Overpass on Central Ave and walked through the tunnel towards the stadium. Changes arrived in 2013 with the Card March beginning approximately two hours and 15 minutes prior to the announced (example 1:15 p.m. for Sunday's 3:30 p.m. kickoff). The team buses will drop the players off at Floyd Street at the south end of the stadium, which is the entrance to the Bronze D/E lots. After exiting the buses, the team will proceed to enter Gate 4 and then head into the stadium. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and greet the players with the assistance of the UofL marching band, cheerleaders, and Ladybirds. Fans should take note, if there are any bad weather conditions during the scheduled Card March times, that the team will proceed to the back of the Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex and will not travel to the designated Card March location.
Johnny Unitas statue
Right outside of the Schnellenberger Complex, before the north endzone of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium stands the legendary quarterback himself. One of UofL's most celebrated athletes, Johnny U's number 16 jersey is the only football Cardinal jersey with both it and the number retired. This statue helps commemorate Unitas' stellar career, as football players give him a rub for good luck before taking the field.
The Louisville spring game is usually held in early April at PJCS. The admission and parking are free for the event and the men's baseball team usually play before or after game. This event give opportunity for fans to see the team and any newcomers that may have come on campus early for spring workouts. 2013 spring game began later and offered dollar beers to draw more fans into attendance. This game has become more popular with the opening of PJCS and increasing higher ranked recruiting classes Louisville has brought in in recent years.
Helmets and logos
Louisville has experienced many changes in helmets over the years. Visually presented below is a list from 1960 to the present day. Before 1960 Louisville would use the traditional brown leather helmets until they would wear all white facemaskless helmets. Louisville jerseys would stay traditionally the same with plain white jersey with red lettering or a red jersey with black lettering. As seen in the picture of Fred Koster vertical stripes was the look for many national teams at the time. With more games being called on the radio the advent of numbers on the helmet and sleeves where made to help identify the players on the field. Sometime in the mid 2000s Louisville added a combination of new uniforms including an all black uniform as an alternative. Recently Louisville and Adidas finalized a contract for roughly 39 million dollars. Since then Adidas and Louisville have paired on many great designs to catch recruits and medias attention. In most recent news Louisville sported an all chrome red helmet against Florida State University on September 17, 2016. A butterfly design was placed on the back of these specific helmets to give tribute to the late Muhammad Ali.
Card Chronicle Bird Mask
Louisville's athletic success during 2012–2013 spawned local popularity of a Cardinal mask that resembled a former logo of the blog "Card Chronicle." The mask has become known as CCBM or the Card Chronicle Bird Mask. Photos of Louisville fans donning the mask are often featured in the "News and Notes" posts on the blog. The mask has often been spotted during Louisville athletic broadcasts, and in 2013, a group of Card Chronicle readers started the Card Chronicle Bird Mask March before each home football game. The CCBM March is held adjacent to the more traditional Card March, which features Louisville players and coaches walking into Papa John's Cardinal Stadium prior to all home football games.
Current coaching staff
|Bobby Petrino||Head Coach|
|Lonnie Galloway||Offensive Coordinator/ Wide receiver|
|Todd Grantham||Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers|
|Kolby Smith||Running Backs|
|Tony Grantham||Special Teams Coordinator/Inside Linebackers|
|Chris Klenakis||Running Game Coordinator/Offensive Line|
|Cort Dennison||Recruiting Coordinator/Asst Secondary|
|L.D Scott||Outside Linebackers|
|Joe Miday||Strength and Conditioning|
|Scott Wilks||Assistant Strength and Conditioning|
|Andrew Wagner||Director of Operations|
Current players in NFL
Individual honors and notable players
College football awards
|2016||Heisman Trophy||Lamar Jackson||QB|
|2016||Maxwell Award||Lamar Jackson||QB|
|2016||Walter Camp Award||Lamar Jackson||QB|
|2014||Jim Thorpe Award||Gerod Holliman||S|
|2006||Lou Groza Award||Art Carmody||K|
|2005||Bronko Nagurski Award||Elvis Dumervil||LB|
|2005||Ted Hendricks Award||Elvis Dumervil||LB|
|1999||Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award||Chris Redman||QB|
|Louisville Cardinals retired numbers|
|16||Johnny Unitas||QB, S||1951–55|
|Louisville Cardinals Ring of Honor|
|10||Dwayne Woodruff||DB, RB||1975–78|
|26||Lenny Lyles||DB, RB||1954–57|
|55||Doug Buffone||C, LB||1962–65|
|56||Otto Knop||C, LB||1949–52|
|77||Bruce Armstrong||TE, OT||1983–88|
All Americans and notable players
Consensus and unanimous first-team All-Americans in bold.
|2016||Lamar Jackson||(AP, Walter Camp, Sporting News, AFCA, FWAA, USA Today, Pro Football Focus, Athlon, ESPN, Fox Sports, SI First Teams)|
|2014||Gerod Holliman||(AP, Walter Camp, Sporting News, AFCA, FWAA, USA Today, CBS, ESPN, Scout, SI First Teams; also Jim Thorpe Award winner)|
|2013||Marcus Smith||(FWAA 1st Team / Athlons, Walter Camp, USA Today 2nd Team / AP, CBS Sports 3rd Team)|
|2013||Calvin Pryor||(Athlon's 2nd Team)|
|2012||Keith Brown||(FOXSports.Net Freshman All-American)|
|2011||Teddy Bridgewater||(CBSSports.com Freshman All-American; Yahoo! Sports Freshman All-American;
Sporting News Freshman All-American; FoxSportsNext Freshman All-American)
|2011||Jake Smith||(Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-American)|
|2010||Hakeem Smith||(Rivals.com First Team; Phil Steele Freshman All-American Second Team)|
|2010||Johnny Patrick||(Phil Steele Third Team)|
|2008||Victor Anderson||(Sporting News First Team; collegefootballnews.com Second Team)|
|2007||Brian Brohm||(Playboy Magazine)|
|2007||Harry Douglas||(Associated Press Second Team)|
|2006||Peanut Whitehead||(Sporting News First Team)|
|2006||Art Carmody||(Associated Press Second Team)|
|2006||Kurt Quarterman||(Associated Press Third Team)|
|2006||Latarrius Thomas||(Sporting News Third Team)|
|2006||Art Carmody||(SI.com Honorable Mention)|
|2006||Kurt Quarterman||(SI.com Honorable Mention)|
|2005||Elvis Dumervil||(AFCA, Associated Press, Walter Camp, SI.com, collegefootballnews.com First Teams; also Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner)|
|2005||Eric Wood||(Sporting News, Rivals.com First Team)|
|2005||Eric Wood||(collegefootballnews Second Team)|
|2005||Mario Urrutia||(SI.com, Sporting News Honorable Mention)|
|2005||Rod Council||(Sporting News Honorable Mention)|
|2004||Travis Leffew||(Associated Press Third Team)|
|2002||Broderick Clark||(collegefootballnews Second Team)|
|2001||Bobby Leffew||(Sporting News First Team)|
|2001||Dewayne White||(collegefootballnews Second Team)|
|2001||Dewayne White||(Football News, Sporting News Third Teams)|
|2000||Anthony Floyd||(Walter Camp First Team)|
|2000||Anthony Floyd||(Football News, Associated Press Second Teams)|
|2000||Dave Ragone||(Football News Honorable Mention)|
|2000||Micah Josiah||(Football News Honorable Mention)|
|1999||Ibn Green||(AFCA First Team)|
|1999||Ibn Green||(Football News, Sporting News Second Teams)|
|1999||Chris Redman||(Football News Honorable Mention)|
|1998||Ibn Green||(Football News, Sporting News Second Teams)|
|1998||Ibn Green||(Associated Press Third Team)|
|1996||Sam Madison||(Football News First Team)|
|1996||Sam Madison||(Gannett News Third Team)|
|1996||Sam Madison||(Playboy Magazine)|
|1995||Jamie Asher||(Football News, United Press First Teams)|
|1995||Roman Oben||(College Sports, Football News Second Teams)|
|1995||Tyrus McCloud||(Sporting News Second Team)|
|1995||Sam Madison||(College Sports, Associated Press Third Teams)|
|1995||Tyrus McCloud||(Associated Press Third Team)|
|1995||Roman Oben||(Playboy Magazine)|
|1994||Roman Oben||(Gannett News First Team)|
|1994||Jamie Asher||(Sporting News Honorable Mention)|
|1993||Anthony Bridges||(Football News, UPI, Associated Press Second Teams)|
|1993||Ralph Dawkins||(Football News Honorable Mention)|
|1993||Joe Johnson||(United Press Honorable Mention)|
|1992||Ray Buchanan||(Football News Second Team)|
|1992||Ralph Dawkins||(Football News Honorable Mention)|
|1992||Ray Buchanan||(Associated Press Honorable Mention)|
|1991||Ray Buchanan||(Playboy Magazine)|
|1991||Ray Buchanan||(Associated Press Honorable Mention)|
|1990||Mark Sander||(Associated Press Third Team)|
|1989||Mark Sander||(Associated Press Honorable Mention)|
|1989||Allen Douglas||(Associated Press Honorable Mention)|
|1988||Ted Washington||(Sporting News Honorable Mention)|
|1987||Chris Thieneman||(Associated Press Honorable Mention)|
|1987||Chris Sellers||(Associated Press Honorable Mention)|
|1985||Matt Battaglia||(Associated Press Honorable Mention)|
|1979||Otis Wilson||(Sporting News First Team)|
|1972||Tom Jackson||(Walter Camp First Team)|
|1972||Howard Stevens||(Walter Camp, Football News, United Press, Associated Press Second Teams)|
|1972||Tom Jackson||(Associated Press Second Team)|
|1972||Scott Marcus||(Gridiron News Second Team)|
|1972||Tom Jackson||(Football News Third Team)|
|1972||Tom Jackson||(United Press Honorable Mention)|
|1972||John Madeya||(Associated Press Honorable Mention)|
|1972||Gary Barnes||(Associated Press Honorable Mention)|
|1972||Frank Gitschier||(Associated Press Honorable Mention)|
|1970||Bill Gatti||(Associated Press Honorable Mention)|
|1963||Ken Kortas||(Dell Sports First Team)|
|1961||John Finn||(Little America Third Team)|
|1961||Ernie Green||(Honorable Mention)|
|1957||Lenny Lyles||(Associated Press First Team)|
|1957||Ken Kortas||(Playboy Magazine)|
|1952||Otto Knop||(Little America First Team)|
|1949||Tom Lucia||(Associated Press First Team)|
|1948||Bob Bauer||(AP Little America Honorable Mention)|
|1941||Charles Isenbery||(AP Little America Honorable Mention)|
|1939||Lou Zimlich||(Little America First Team)|
|1930||Tom Thompson||(Little America First Team)|
|1930||Guy Shearer||(Little America Honorable Mention)|
- David Akers – former Philadelphia Eagles placekicker
- Bruce Armstrong – former offensive lineman, notably with the New England Patriots
- Gary Barnidge – former tight end, currently with the Cleveland Browns
- Deion Branch – wide receiver, 2005 Super Bowl MVP with the New England Patriots
- John Brewer – fullback for the Philadelphia Eagles
- Jeff Brohm – former quarterback with the San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns; now head coach at Purdue
- Doug Buffone – former linebacker, notably with the Chicago Bears
- Curry Burns – former safety, notably with the New Orleans Saints
- Michael Bush – former running back, drafted in 2007 by the Oakland Raiders, currently on the Chicago Bears
- Mark Clayton – former wide receiver, notably with the Miami Dolphins
- Adam Froman – former quarterback
- William Gay – former cornerback, drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2007 NFL Draft currently with the Pittsburgh Steelers
- Ernest Givins – former wide receiver, notably with the Houston Oilers
- Jay Gruden – former quarterback, six-time ArenaBowl champion, 1992 Arena Football League MVP, Arena Football League hall-of-fame coach, current head coach of the Washington Redskins
- Gerod Holliman – former safety; 2014 Jim Thorpe Award recipient
- Arnold Jackson – former wide receiver from 1997 to 2000; broke the NCAA Division I record for career receptions with 300
- Joe Jacoby – former offensive lineman, notably with the Washington Redskins
- Chris Johnson – former cornerback, currently with the Baltimore Ravens
- Joe Johnson – former defensive end, notably with the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers
- Scott Kuhn – former tight end, also with the Baltimore Ravens
- Stefan LeFors – former quarterback, 2004 AXA Liberty Bowl Offensive MVP, also formerly with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League; now the head high school coach at Christian Academy of Louisville
- Robert McCune – former linebacker, currently with the Baltimore Ravens
- Kevin Miller – former wide receiver, notably with the Minnesota Vikings
- Frank Minnifield – former cornerback, notably with the Cleveland Browns
- John Neidert – former linebacker, won Super Bowl III with New York Jets
- Roman Oben – offensive tackle drafted by NY Giants played on Super Bowl winner Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Will Rabatin – former offensive lineman
- Kerry Rhodes – former safety, currently with the Arizona Cardinals
- Eric Shelton – former running back, drafted in 2nd round of 2005 draft by the Carolina Panthers
- Kolby Smith – former running back, drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2007 NFL Draft
- Johnny Unitas – Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, notably with the Baltimore Colts
- Ted Washington – former defensive tackle, notably with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots
- Erik Watts – former quarterback and current professional wrestler
- Dwayne Woodruff – former defensive back, notably with the Pittsburgh Steelers
- Consecutive wins: 10, 1925–1926
- Consecutive wins at home: 20, 2003–2007
- Consecutive games without being shut out: 181 (September 30, 2000-currently) last shutout was at Florida State September 23, 2000 (L 0 – 31)
- Consecutive shutouts of opponents: 7, 1925
- Consecutive bowl appearances: 9, 1998–2006
- Largest Victory: 100–0 vs Washington College (TN) on October 18, 1913
- Largest Defeat: 0–105 vs Murray State on October 8, 1932
|Tot. Offense||845 yrds vs. Syracuse, 2016||6,468 yrds in 2004||Fewest Yrds Allowed||58 yrds vs. Murray State, 1990||2,106 yrds in 1972|
|Fewest Tot. Offense||13 yrds vs. Arizona State, 1992||1,989 yrds in 1964||Most Yrds Allowed||801 yrds vs. Kentucky, 1998||5,502 yrdsin 2003|
|Points Scored||73 points vs. Murray State, 2007||597 points in 2004||Fewest Rushing Yrds||-56 yrds vs. Grambling, 2000||879 yrds in 2000|
|Most Yrds Passing||615 yrds vs. ECU, 1998||4,498 yrds in 1998||Most Rushing Yrds||480 yrds vs. Army, 1999||3,167 yrds in 1975|
|Fewest Yrds Passing||26 yrds vs. Tulsa, 1991||719 yrds in 1976||Fewest Passing Comp.||2 comp. vs. Southern Miss. 2012||69 comp. in 1971|
|Most Yrds Rushing||445 yrds vs. Houston, 2003||3,005 yrds in 2004||Most Passing Comp.||43 comp. vs. Tulane, 2000||264 comp. in 2003|
|Fewest Yrds Rushing||78 yrds vs. Arizona State, 1992||459 yrds in 1964||Fewest Pts. Allowed||0 points 11 times||91 points in 1972|
|Rushing Att.||66 att. vs. NIU, 1995||685 att. in 1977||Most Pts. Allowed||68 points vs. Kentucky, 1998||429 points in 1985|
^Records are from modern era
Lamar Jackson, SU, 2016
L. Jackson, 2016
Chris Redman, 1996–99
L. Jackson, UNC-C, 2016
L. Jackson, 2016
C. Redman, 1996–99
Eric Shelton, ECU, 2004
A. Cummings, UC, 1990
Leroy Collins, WKU, 1998
Michael Bush, 2005
Lenny Lyles, 1954–57
C. Redman, ECU, 1998
C. Redman, 1998
C. Redman, 1996–99
Brian Brohm, SU, 2007
C. Redman, 1999
C. Redman, 1996–99
C. Redman, ECU, 1998
L. Jackson, UNC-C, 2016
Teddy Bridgewater, 2013
C. Redman, 1996–99
T. Bridgewater, UK, 2012
Stefan LeFors, 2004
T. Bridgewater, 2011–13
Anthony Allen, MTSU, 2007
L. Jackson, 2016
Walter Peacock, 1972–75
W. Peacock, Wich. St., 1974
N. Poole, Wich. St., 1978
W. Peacock, 1973
W. Peacock, 1972–75
E. Shelton, ECU, 2004
Leroy Collins, WKU, 1998
M. Bush, 2005
L. Lyles, 1954–57
Harry Douglas, UK, 2007
H. Douglas, 2006
Arnold Jackson, 1997–00
Ibn Green, ECU, 1998
A. Jackson, UC, 1999
A. Jackson, 1999
A. Jackson, 1997–00
A. Cummings, UC, 1990
I. Green, 1998
DeVante Parker, 2013
I. Green, 1996–99
Nate Smith, Houston, 2000
Art Carmody, Pitt, 2005
B. Creque, NC St., 2016
A. Carmody, 2006
John Wallace, 2015–2016
|Field Goal %||—||.875
A. Carmody, (14–16), 2005
A. Carmody, (60–73), 2004–07
Doug Buffone, Kent St., 1965
D. Buffone, 1965
Mark Sander, 1987–90
|Tackles for Loss||7
Elvis Dumervil, UK, 2005
Dewayne White, 2001
Elvis Dumervil, 2005
Dewayne White, 2000–02
E. Dumervil, UK, 2005
E. Dumervil, 2005
D. White, 2000–02
Tom Giannini, EKU, 1933
Gerod Holliman, 2014
Anthony Floyd, 1999–02
Longest Passing Play: 94 yards from B. Karns to G. Sartini, Wash & Lee, 1950
Longest Rushing Play: 93 yards by Ken Porco, EKU, 1958
Future non-conference opponents
Announced schedules as of May 22, 2017
|vs Purdue (at Indianapolis, IN)||Alabama (at Orlando, FL)||vs Notre Dame||vs Murray State||Indiana (at Indianapolis, IN)||vs Indiana||at Indiana|
|vs Kent State||vs Indiana State||vs Eastern Kentucky||vs Western Kentucky||vs Notre Dame|
|vs Murray State||vs Western Kentucky||at Western Kentucky (at Nashville, TN)||vs Kentucky|
|at Kentucky||vs Kentucky||at Kentucky||at Notre Dame|
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