DeVante Parker a 'monster' in return game

It was a successful return to the lineup for University of Louisville senior wide receiver DeVante Parker. After sitting out the first seven weeks of the season with a foot injury, Parker had nine catches for 132 yards in a 30-18 win over North Carolina State.

It didn't take DeVante Parker long to make an impact in his return, in fact it was the first play he was in that the senior hauled in a 37-yard catch.

The University of Louisville senior All-American wide receiver had been sidelines for the first seven games of the season with a broken bone in his foot. But on U of L's second play from scrimmage, quarterback Will Gardner looked Parker's way and hit him in stride.

Parker made two North Carolina State defenders miss and darted across the field. He was back and the Papa John's Cardinal Stadium crowd went crazy.

"I've been telling people he's a monster," U of L cornerback Charles Gaines said.

Now, everybody had a chance to see that. Parker's first catch was his longest but in his first showing of the season he had a career-high nine catches and finished with 132 yards.

"Yes he was," U of L coach Bobby Petrino said when asked if Parker was better than he anticipated. "I was really impressed with the way he ran after the catch. I thought he would get open, I thought he would catch the ball, but I didn't expect to see that many yards after catch. He obviously makes us a lot better."

Parker, who recorded his sixth career 100-yard game, left the field still with a slight limp and didn't meet with the media because of treatment on the foot.

But his teammates were glad he was back on the field.

"When I talked to him, he said he was good and ready to go," quarterback Will Gardner said. "It's nice for our offense to have him back out there.

"I don't know how he feels, I don't ask him but he had over 100 yards tonight so he's sure getting there. I expect to see bigger things in the future."

Added lineman Aaron Epps: "He's back."

And in a big-time way. Parker converted first downs on four of his first six catches of the night and broke tackles on six of the nine catches.

Several times on third down, Gardner looked Parker's way and converted.

"It's nice when you get one-on-one coverage and you have a guy that everyone believes in," Petrino said. "He'll win and catch the ball. We left a few out there tonight. I thought there were a few more we could have converted but it was nice to see things start executing and getting better. I think that's the biggest key is that we got better as a team."

Parker was injured just before the opener and had surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot. He was back at practice over a week ago but didn't dress at Clemson.

For his career, Parker now has 122 catches for 2,052 yards and 28 touchdowns. He now ranks No. 9 all-time in receiving yards in school history and is just the 10th player to ever surpass the 2,000-yard mark for the Cardinals.

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