DaVante Parker reaching expectations

Sophomore wide receiver DeVante Parker had a game-changing performance in Louisville's 45-35 win over Pittsburgh last Saturday. The Louisville Ballard product, who now leads the Cardinals with 310 receiving yards, spoke with CardinalAuthority.com following practice this week.

DeVante Parker had an excellent freshman season last fall, leading the team with six touchdown receptions. Only a year out of high school, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound receiver finished 2011 with 18 catches for 291 yards. His ability to make a difficult catch and lengthen a play were key factors in his play last season and why he has high expectations as a sophomore.

Off to a decent start through five games, Parker hadn't had the type of game - statistically - that many we're hoping to see. Last weekend against Pittsburgh, Parker's performance met and exceeded most expectations.

His 27-yard catch on fourth-and-eight, with 22 seconds remaining in the first half set up a 45-yard John Wallace field goal as time expired. Head coach Charlie Strong credited that play as the game's momentum changer and it earned Parker the distinction of CardinalAuthority.com's Play of the Game.

"I knew that the team needed me in that situation, so I went out and made a big catch," Parker said following practice this week. "We needed a big play to keep the momentum in the game."

He followed that game-changing catch with a 75-yard touchdown reception to open the second half, which gave U of L the lead for good.

"He adds explosiveness to the offense," U of L sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said of Parker. "He's one of those guys who can stretch the field. He stepped up to the plate last week and we except big things out of him for the rest of the season."

Parker had a career day against the Panthers, totaling 153 yards on four catches. His 310 receiving yards is tops on the team, while his 15 receptions is second best.

A product of Louisville Ballard, Parker cherishes and appreciates the opportunity to perform for his hometown university

"That's a big thing for me," he said "Everybody expects me to do well, so I don't want to disappoint anybody, especially my family."

With each passing victory, he realizes that the target on the 16th-ranked Cardinals backs gets larger, but Parker believes that the team can survive the challenge if they remained focused on their responsibilities.

"We have to come out and execute. If we do our assignments, we‘ll be fine."

Louisville and South Florida will kickoff Saturday at 3:30 p.m..

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