Kai De La Cruz

Louisville loses another wide receiver

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Already down a starting wide receiver, Louisville has now lost his back-up. Kai De La Cruz, who stepped in to the vacant spot left by the injured DeVonte Parker, had to leave Thursday night’s game against Rutgers with a hamstring.

That’s another blow to Louisville’s offense of course. Parker was a game-time decision with a shoulder injury lingering from last weekend’s game against Temple. De La Cruz, who has been listed behind Parker on the depth chart, had three catches for 56 yards and a touchdown Thursday night before suffering the hamstring injury.

Fake field goal sparks Rutgers, but Louisville in control at half

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Kai De La Cruz, getting the start in place of the injured DeVonte Parker, hauled in a pass from Teddy Bridgewater for a 34-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, building Louisville’s lead to 10-0. The Cardinals would extend the lead to 17-0, looking to be in firm control over Rutgers going in to the half. Instead, Rutgers got on the scoreboard late in the first half and Louisville leads the Scarlet Knights 17-7.

Bridgewater is certainly the big draw Thursday night. NFL scouts from over 20 teams are attending the game, likely to catch a glimpse of the Cardinals star quarterback. He has not disappointed thus far, completing 10 of 14 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown, although he has been picked off once. Bridgewater is not really known to be a running quarterback, but he has rushed three times for 19 yards as well. He rushed for 20 yards all of last season.

Rutgers finally found something o work with on offense, although with the help of a tipped pass that fell in the right hands. On third and seven, Gary Nova dropped back to pass but had his pass tipped over the middle of the field. The football fell in to the hands of Tyler Kroft for a first down. Later in the drive, on a fourth and three, Rutgers faked a field goal attempt, catching Louisville off guard. J.T. Tartacoff caught the Cardinals slow to react and lobbed a pas over the middle down to the one-yard line following a 26-yard completion to Kroft. Kroft would haul in a wide open pass from Nova on the next play near the back of the end zone.

This is Louisville’s chance to shine. If the Cardinals are going to remain, or enter, the national championship discussion, they could benefit from a big win tonight against Rutgers. The eighth ranked Cardinals have the eyes of the college football world on them tonight, playing on national television with little college football competition but in the shadows of an NFL game and a baseball postseason game.

Louisville’s leading receiver out vs Rutgers

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Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker was a game-time decision for Thursday night’s home game against Rutgers. That decision has now been made. Parker will not play Thursday night’s game.

According to Adam Lefkoe, a sports anchor for WHAS11, Parker did not take the field for warm-ups and will not play Thursday night in a key American Athletic Conference game.Parker is Louisville’s leading receiver this season with 21 catches for 375 yards and six touchdowns. Parker had three catches for 29 yards and a touchdown in Louisville’s Big East-clinching victory at Rutgers last season.

Parker left last weekend’s road game at Temple early with an injured shoulder, ending his streak of 10-straight games with a touchdown catch. The receiver had an MRI but no information was shared about the status of the injury.

Without Parker on the field the Cardinals will lose a valuable offensive weapon against a team that has put up a bunch of points this season. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will still be likely to move the football around the field though, with Kai De La Cruz likely to step in to Parker’s vacant spot in the starting line-up. De La Cruz has 12 catches for 215 yards and two touchdowns this season.