Louisville is on a two-game winning streak thanks in part to a lot of young players

It's been the young guys who have helped the University of Louisville offense turn things around after starting 0-3. The Cardinals started six freshmen last weekend against North Carolina State.

Youth is being served for the University of Louisville football team, especially on offense.

The Cardinals started the season 0-3 - losing three games by a combined 13 points - but have reeled off wins over Samford and North Carolina State with some young guns leading the way.

In five games, Louisville's leading rusher and passer - Lamar Jackson - is a true freshman and three of the top five receivers - Jaylen Smith, Devante Peete and Traveon Samuel - are true freshman with another - tight end Micky Crum - a redshirt freshman.

Oh, and don't forget about the line. In the N.C. State game, Louisville started true freshmen tackles Kenny Thomas and Geron Christian with redshirt freshman Lukayus McNeil also starting at one guard spot.

"We have a lot of young guys contributing," U of L coach Bobby Petrino said. "But we don't think a lot about that right now. We're worried about getting better on the practice field and working hard."

The Cardinals defense also has been aided by at least one true freshmen - Jaire Alexander. He has one interception and has been the Cardinals' punt returner in the first five games.

"(The team) has been extremely coachable and have been working very hard in practice," Petrino said. "The attitude is great."

Jackson, the starting quarterback in three of the first five games, is from Boynton Beach, Fla., and is the starter moving forward. He's a dynamic dual-threath QB with a ton of quickness.

"He's fast," Petrino said.

Jackson has already rushed for 435 yards - a single-season school record for a QB - and five touchdowns, while throwing for 598 yards and three more TDs. He has completed 53.6 percent of his passes.

Smith, Crum and Peete are the leading three receivers before junior James Quick - who missed two games - and Samuel round out the top five. Christian has started all five games, while Thomas has played in just three and started one.

The offense is so young that Petrino said he's trying to forget what age the players are he throws in there.

"I quit looking at what year they are," he said.

The Cardinals and the young squad will head on the road again this Saturday when U of L plays Florida State at noon in Tallahassee, Fla. The Seminoles have won 27 straight ACC games and are favored by 10 points.


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