Michael Bush, a candidate for this yearâ€™s Heisman Trophy, carried the ball 17 times and ran for 128 yards and scored 3 TDs in his first game this season as the 13th-ranked Cardinals hammered Kentucky, 59-28. But in the third quarter Bush was tackled by Kentucky LB Wesley Woodyard, breaking his tibia and fibula and ending the top draft pickâ€™s senior season.
Along with drastically changing Bushâ€™s status for the rest of the season, his hideous injury will probably impact the Cardinalâ€™s drive for the Big East title, BCS Bowl and possible national title. As Maddux Sports noted in its College Football Preview, â€œ[The Cardinals] will be a tough team for anyone to beat, including West Virginia and Miami. Look for the Cardinals to really contend for the conference championship and to be considered seriously for a BCS bowl.â€?
Bush was to be a big part of Louisvilleâ€™s push. Last season he was outstanding, running for 1,143 yards and 23 TDs. Louisville plays Miami at home on September 16 and conference rival West Virginia, also on home turf, on November 2. Another conference member, Rutgers, will prove to be tough. In their first game on September 2, the Scarlet Knights, who are greatly improved and ready to break out, upset North Carolina on the road.
If sophomore RB George Stripling can step it up (2005 STATS: 79 ATT, 621 YDS, 7 TDs), the Cardinals will have a chance. In this seasonâ€™s opener, he ran for 90 yards and 2 touchdowns in 9 carries.