For two and half quarters on Friday night, it looked as though the No. 8 ranked Louisville Cardinals would knock out the Central Florida Knights. The Cardinals were dominating at home, leading 28-7 behind an amped up crowd in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. However, the Knights responded to the challenge and got up off the mat to upset the Cardinals in dramatic fashion 38-35.
For the first half of the ball game, the Knights seemed to being going through the motions on offense. The Knights were held to seven points and the rushing attack was stifled by an aggressive Cardinals’ defensive front.
However, in the second half, the Knights found their rhythm, led behind the gutty performances of running backs Storm Johnson and William Stanback. Both backs were instrumental in leading the second half comeback. Johnson was able to break off long runs and make plays in the passing game to keep the Cardinals’ defense from using blitz packages. Stanback was able to pound the Cardinals’ defense between the tackles for the tough inside yards to move the chains and wear down the Cardinals’ defensive front. The duo combined for 28 of the Knights’ 35 points on the night, and were Central Florida’s most potent weapons on offense.
Johnson scored two touchdowns (one receiving and one rushing) to cut the deficit to 28-21. Stanback’s twelve yard touchdown run evened the ball game at 28 and ignited the Knights’ sideline. Johnson had a game-high 109 rushing yards and added 79 yards receiving on four catches. Stanback finished the game with nine rushes for 65 yards and two touchdowns.
For the game, the Knights were able to scorch the Cardinals for 196 rushing yards on the evening. More impressively was the 6.1 yards per carry that took the pressure off of quarterback Blake Bortles and the passing game.