The Louisville Cardinals came into last night’s game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights without wide receiver DeVante Parker, who is Louisville’s second-leading receiver with 21 receptions for 375 yards and six touchdowns. His blend of size (6’3″) and speed was certainly missed by Louisville, and head coach Charlie Strong said as much. Parker suffered a shoulder injury against the Temple Owls last week, and he ended up falling on the wrong side of the game-time decision.
Here’s what Strong said at the press conference about how close Parker was to playing, “We just made that decision today that he was not going to play. We just don’t know how far away he is. He continues to improve and we’ll see where we are next week.”
Kai De La Cruz was Parker’s replacement as the Cardinals No. 2 receiver, and he looked good hauling in three passes for 56 yards, with one of those catches being a 34-yard touchdown pass. However, De La Cruz went down with a hamstring injury and did not return to the game. He was a valuable part of Louisville’s 24-10 victory over Rutgers before the injury, and he had 15 catches for 271 yards and three touchdowns coming into the game.
Strong said of De La Cruz’s injury, “Kai had a groin problem, so he wasn’t able to run full speed, so we weren’t able to use him in the second half. He was running a route and he just overextended his leg and went down.”
Doesn’t sound bad, but keep a close eye on his status. Teddy Bridgewater didn’t miss a beat due to the injuries, as he went 21-31 with 310 yards. No. 1 receiver Damian Copeland was once again at his best, as he had 115 receiving yards on eight receptions and now has 31 receptions for nearly 500 receiving yards.