Copeland keeps making big plays for Cards

Damian Copeland has become one of the most consistent and best wide receivers for the University of Louisville football team. The junior made another huge play on Friday night in the 34-31 overtime win against Cincinnati.

With his team trailing 24-17 early in the fourth quarter and searching for a spark, University of Louisville sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went to a target who has made big catches all season.

Bridgewater went to junior Damian Copeland, who for the third game this season made perhaps the biggest play of the game.

Copeland hauled in an improbable 51-yard diving catch down the right sideline, sparking the Cardinals who scored three plays later to tie the game at 24. The play energized the entire stadium on the rainy night.

"We were backed up and we really needed a play, we were just trying to get some energy," U of L coach Charlie Strong said. "We just needed a play to ignite us and we scored on that drive, then we scored on the next drive.

"And then we get the ball in overtime and we score."

The play was spectacular enough to make one of the top 10 plays on ESPN for Friday night and came from deep in their own territory.

Bridgewater took the snap at the U of L 7-yard-line and stepped back two yards deep into the end zone. He then stepped up into the pocket and saw Copeland streaking down the right side of the field.

Copeland slowed up a little and ran right under the pass, diving for the catch.

"Unbelievable catch," Strong said.

Added Bridgewater: "He was able to use his speed to get behind the secondary and just gran the ball."

Copeland said he wasn't sure he was going to be able to get to the ball once he saw where Bridgewater had thrown it.

"When I came out of my plant, I thought he had overthrown me," Copeland said. "I just had to run under it. Once I had it in my hands, it wasn't coming out."

Copeland made the play of the game against Kentucky in the opener, hauling in a 23-yard diving catch on third-and-nine from the 2-yard-line on The Opening drive, which resulted in a 99-yard TD drive.

Copeland also did it last week against South Florida, hauling in a diving catch when the Cardinals' were pinned deep in their own territory.

"I make them in practice, Teddy puts them there and I have been doing that in high school – making the contested catch," Copeland said.

Copeland was hampered by injuries much of his career but this season leads the Cardinals' in catches. He has 28 catches for 358 yard and one touchdown.

Following a red shirt season, Copeland appeared in seven games, making 8 catches for 113 yards in 2010. As a sophomore, he suffered multiple injuries, which limited him to just one game appearance.

But this season, Copeland has been healthy and is making big plays.

"When my number is called, I am going to try and make things happen," Copeland said.


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