Louisville brings home the Keg of Nails in 24-7 blowout win

Dec 17, 2022; Boston, MA, USA; members of Louisville Cardinals celebrate winning the Wasabi Bowl at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2022; Boston, MA, USA; members of Louisville Cardinals celebrate winning the Wasabi Bowl at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports /

On the ninth anniversary (December 5, 2013) of the last meeting between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Louisville Cardinals, the Head Coach for Louisville, Scott Satterfield, accepted the Head Coach position at Cincinnati. To make things more interesting, the these two teams renewed their rivalry at the inaugural Wasabi Fenway Bowl in Boston, Massachusetts.

With both staffs depleted due to the coaching changes in the weeks leading up to this game, Director of Player Development, Deion Branch, was dubbed the interim Head Coach for the Cardinals, while Special Teams Coordinator, Kerry Coombs, was dubbed the interim head coach for the Bearcats.

Louisville entered the game retaining nearly every defensive starter, outside of Kei’Trel Clark. A week prior to the game, Clark announced his opt-out from the game to enter his name into the 2023 NFL Draft. On the offensive side of the ball, the Cardinals were without starting quarterback Malik Cunningham, lead running back Tiyon Evans, depth running backs Trevion Cooley and Jalen Mitchell, as well as their leading wide receiver Tyler Hudson.

Cunningham, Evans, and Hudson joined Clark in declaring for the NFL Draft, while Trevion Cooley and Jalen Mitchell entered their names into the transfer portal. Cincinnati was without their starting quarterback Ben Bryant due to a season-ending foot injury as well as a plethora of receivers.

All-AAC wide receiver Tyler Scott joined fellow Bearcats Tre Tucker, Josh Whyle, and Leonard Tucker in opting out of the game to enter their names into the NFL Draft. So both teams were without key playmakers that helped them get to this point in the season and on top of that one program’s coach left to become the other program’s coach.

On top of that, the Wasabi Fenway Bowl was founded in 2020 but failed to put players on the field for two consecutive years citing COVID-19 protocol issues. The short history of the Fenway Bowl is quite an intriguing one as their first bowl in three years lined up two historic rivals, on the same sideline no less.

Both teams in a different enviroment struggled early on in the game to gain some momentum, but once Louisville got the ball rolling then they were able to put their foot on the gas and not look back. Jawhar Jordan opened up the scoring for the Cardinals at the end of the first quarter with a 49-yard rushing touchdown. Jordan was the primary back due to the absences of Evans, Cooley, and Mitchell.

Cincinnati opened the second quarter with a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Evan Prater to Wyatt Fischer, which would end up being their only points of the game. After this touchdown, Louisville would go on to light up the scoreboard for 17 unanswered points.

Louisville’s Brock Domann threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Marshon Ford, Jawhar Jordan rushed for another touchdown, and James Turner would kick a 48-yard field, which would become the longest kick in Louisville’s bowl history.

The Cardinals finished their season with an 8-5 record and placed an exclamation point on this season with an exciting future ahead with hometown hero Jeff Brohm at the helm.