Bobby Leffew gets the last laugh - again

September 07, 2004|MARTY WARREN

LOUISVILLE - Bobby Leffew laughed Sunday when asked what was said to him after announcing he was going to play football at Louisville.

Kentucky had interest in Leffew, an all-state linebacker-tight end at Boyle County, until an ankle injury early in his senior year ended his season. When he was granted a fifth year of high school eligibility, Kentucky backed off Leffew. Louisville kept right on recruiting him and Leffew is the one with the last laugh.

"People ask me all the time why I decided to go to Louisville," Leffew said after the Cardinals beat UK 28-0 here Sunday. "I think they have their answer now. We won four of the five games against them. That's pretty good."

His defensive unit, under first-year coordinator Mike Cassity, kept Kentucky's offense in check and gave UK its first opening-game shutout in 42 years - they tied Florida State 0-0 in 1962. The Wildcats entered Louisville territory just four times the entire game.


"Coach Cassity had a great game plan," said Leffew. "We executed it to near perfection. We knew Kentucky had a lot of speed and we wanted to keep (UK quarterback) Shane (Boyd) from running wild all day. We wanted to frustrate him into making decisions that he didn't want to make, and you saw what happened when he threw the ball up for grabs on the interception. Kerry (Rhodes) was in the right place and after that score we felt we had the game won. We didn't think they could score on us."

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino agreed.

"The interception was huge," the Louisville coach said. "Coach Cassity called for pressure off the corner and (Shane) just seemed to throw the ball up for grabs. Anytime you can score on defense in a game like this, it is big."

"We felt good about things at halftime, but then the interception took whatever wind we had out of our sails," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said." We couldn't block them all day."

Two years ago, Kentucky's defense harassed quarterback Dave Ragone. Sunday it was Louisville's defensive front that recorded five tackles for losses, including one by Leffew, and sacked Boyd twice. The Louisville defensive front also forced one fumble.

"I don't think they blocked us all day"

"I don't think they blocked us all day," Leffew said. "It seemed we were in the backfield on every play. Even when they tried to run the option, our ends and linebackers were there to make the play."

Cassity said Leffew played a big part in that.

"We needed him to play big, and he did. This is the way he's been playing the last few weeks in practice and that makes us a lot better team," said Cassity.

Louisville held Kentucky to just 238 yards total offense, their best defensive effort since Sept. 7, 2002 when they limited Duke to just 175 yards. The Cardinals produced their first shutout since a 52-0 win over Grambling on Sept. 9, 2000.

"We really wanted this shutout," Leffew, a starting tackle, said. "The longer the game went without them scoring, the more confidence we had."

Some Kentucky players and coaches voiced their displeasure over Louisville's final score in the closing seconds of last year's 40-24 win. Louisville had another chance at scoring late in the game Sunday, but Petrino decided to have freshman quarterback Brian Brohm take a knee at the UK one-yard line in the closing seconds.

Leffew wanted to punch the ball into the end zone one last time.

"Personally, I would have liked to score one more on them," Leffew said. "I guess (Petrino) was tired of hearing that we ran up the score on them last year. I know everyone on the sideline wanted to score again."

Petrino, like everyone else, had heard the rumblings about the late score.

"I just thought, 'Let's just give them what they want'," the Louisville coach said.

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