J.R. Russell makes an impact

Junior receiver J.R. Russell made his presence felt in more than one way in the 40-24 victory over Kentucky on Sunday night.

Junior wide receiver J.R. Russell has been a player that many Cardinal fans have hoped to see great things from during the past two years and while he has produced a few impressive catches, he hasn't seemed to live up to his potential.

Sunday night in Lexington, against the rival Kentucky Wildcats, Russell seemed to come into his own, making his presence felt on both offense and the special teams units.

Offensively, in addition to providing a number of impressive blocks in the running game, he accounted for 3 receptions for 45 yards, averaging 15 yards per reception. He has also now caught atleast one reception in 12 consecutive contests.

"It's a team game, but we know that Louisville is a school known for its receivers and it's a tradition that has never stopped and we'll keep it going," Russell told ITV following the 40-24 victory. "We've just got a new crop of receivers to solidify it."

The new crop also includes sophomore Broderick Clark and junior Joshua Tinch. The trio combined for 11 of Stefan LeFors 14 completions and 154 of LeFors 180 passing yards on the night.

Once again, under the direction of head coach Bobby Petrino and offensive coordinator and receivers coach Paul Petrino, the Cardinals passing game has multiple options.

Russell's contributions on the evening didn't stop in the passing game. Apart of a group that Coach Petrino calls the best athletes on the team, Russell is a member of the punt coverage unit.

Early in the second quarter and Louisville already leading 14-3 over the home Wildcats, Russell broke free up the middle and blocked a Kentucky punt which rolled into the end zone where it was recovered by Jonathon Jackerson for a touchdown, giving Louisville it's largest lead of the evening at 21-3.

"Coach said that it would probably come through that way and I went hard and came through clean and blocked it," said Russell. "That's how we have been practicing it and you couldn't have asked for it be any better than that."

The belief in Coach Petrino by Russell and his teammates have helped this years Cardinals return to a program that once again believes in each other, exudes confidence and plays with determination.

"We started that way when Coach Petrino got here in December and we've been getting together every morning," explained Russell. "We really came together during spring ball and then it continued over into fall and what we did tonight is the product of that."

What they did was win a huge season opener.

"Beating Kentucky at Kentucky…it doesn't get better than that, and we beat them good," Russell said. "They are a good team, but we just came and played hard and beat them."

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