It wasn't easy but the University of Louisville football team claimed another bowl victory on Wednesday night, using a defensive stand in the final two minutes to hold on for a 27-21 win over Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl.
The Cardinals defense held on in the end and freshman Lamar Jackson had a record-breaking night for the offense.
Jackson was named the games MVP after amassing 453 yards of total offense - breaking North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon’s bowl record of 424 yards set in a 2012 Music City Bowl record loss to Vanderbilt - and accounted for all four touchdowns.
"He's pretty good isn't he," offensive coordinator Garrick McGee said.
The 6-foot-3, 196-pound Jackson became the third U of L freshman to start at quarterback in the past five bowl games for the school and he put on a show. He set a Music City Bowl rushing record with 226 yards and two touchdowns and completed 12 of 26 passes for 227 yards and two more TDs against the Aggies.
The Cardinals rushed for 307 yards, setting another Music City Bowl record.
"We really wanted to run the ball," lineman Kiola Mahoni said. "We wanted to get going early on offense and we did."
The Cardinals win capped an amazing turn around from an 0-3 start to an 8-5 finish. The Cardinals started 18 players that are eligible to return for the team next season. Texas A&M falls to 8-5.
U of L led 13-0 less than 10 minutes into the game and held a 20-14 lead at halftime.
The Cardinals took a 27-14 advantage late in the third quarter before the Aggies scored with 4:54 left in the game. Texas A&M got the ball back one last time but U of L held on downs.
DeVonte Fields batted down a pass on third down and Jake Hubenak's pass on fourth down was incolmplete.
And the celebration was on for the Cardinals.
"This is a total team win," Petrino said. "We had some great individual performances but that was a team win.
"It sure is a fun way to end the season."