Louisville 24 Memphis 17: Play of the Game

A fourth quarter roughing the kicker call against Memphis was a crucial moment in Louisville's win. Punter Ryan Johnson talks about the play with Cardinal Authority.

In reviewing Louisville's 24-17 win against Memphis on Saturday afternoon, a number of plays stand out as the possible play of the game.

Linebacker Preston Brown recording his first career touchdown on Senior Day via a 48-yard fumble return to give the Cardinals a 7-0 first quarter lead is the first to come to mind. His trip into the end zone may have been the difference in the seven point victory.

Another critical moment came on the series of plays from the Cardinal defense when facing a first and goal at their own 1-yard line. Keith Kelsey, Marcus Smith and James Burgess each had big solo efforts to force a short Memphis field goal. The second quarter points were all Memphis could manage until trailing 24-3 in the fourth quarter.

However, the play that may have secured the victory came after Memphis had trimmed their deficit to a touchdown and had forced the Cardinals to punt with 3 minutes remaining in the game.

Facing a 4th and 12 at the Memphis 44 yard line, Ryan Johnson was called in to punt. The instructions were simple. Make sure to get the ball off and make it a short kick.

"Coach told me to just get it off," Johnson explained. "We were in a pooch situation where I didn't really have to hit it that hard to get it down the field. I went into motion and he ended up coming across and hitting me after I kicked it."

Just after the ball left his foot, Memphis sophomore defensive back Reggis Ball collided with Johnson and drew a roughing the kicker call, negating what would have been a touchback.

"I saw him coming off the right side and I was just thinking to myself, get the ball off. Luckily I did and he ran into me."

The 15-yard penalty allowed U of L to drain most of the game clock away before surrending the ball to Memphis at the 6 yard line.

"It feels good because it keeps the offense on the field and keeps the drive going."

"You dodge the bullet and got a first down, but we still had to go back out there and play defense," U of L head coach Charlie Strong said.

37 seconds later the clock ran out on the Tigers.

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