No one doubted that the 6-foot-3, 245-pound Bush could produce, but no one has seen the Male High School product get more than 20 carries in a game since his prep days. The last time he close to the 27 carries he received against Kentucky on Sunday was his final game in high school, when he gained 116 yards on 24 carries in state title game in 2002. (He also threw for 468 yards and six touchdowns in that thrilling 59-56 title game loss.)
"High school - that's the last time I can remember," he said following the Cardinals 31-24 win at Kentucky.
The former Mr. Football of Kentucky gained 128-yards and two touchdowns on his 27 carries Sunday. In addition to his new career high for carries in a game, it's also the most yards he has ran for since picking up 137-yards against Houston late in his true freshman season.
"It's not the [number of] runs," he said. "It's just getting hit. One guy or two guys hold you up and then here comes the rest of them, so it kind of makes it tough on you. Then when you think you have a chance to go somewhere, here comes a little guy - a linebacker - he might not be necessarily little - but he'll hit me in the thighs. It's something new to me. I'll be in the cold tub [Monday]."
U of L head coach Bobby Petrino said that Bush's performance was impressive and a product of the junior's voluntary off season conditioning.
"It was good to see him have to carry the ball 27 times," Petrino said. "Now he knows he can do that. He knows that he's in good enough condition to do it."
With nearly two weeks until the Cardinals take the field again for their September 17 home opener against Oregon State, Bush said that he'd prefer to play this weekend and not have the extra time off.
"Not really, because the week after I am going to have to suck it up and do it all again," he said. "If they are going to put the weight on my shoulders, I'll be glad to take it."
Sophomore quarterback Brian Brohm, who struggled throughout the second half, admitted that it's having Michael Bush in the backfield is an advantage.
And despite the increased amount of bumps and bruises, Bush added that he not prefer to have a week of this weekend.
"That's what Mike is going to do," said Brohm following the Cardinal's closer than expected win. "He's a big guy and he can pound away at you. Eventually those guys are going to start backing away from those hits. It's an advantage to have him on your team."
Bush's 127-yards led a Louisville running attack that gained 209-yards against Kentucky on Sunday.