5) DeVante Parker's TD. There have been a lot of playmakers come through and wear the UofL jersey, I'm not sure I've ever seen one that makes it look so goddamn easy as Devante Parker. His 20-yard touchdown snag was pure poetry; leaping through two defenders, his lanky frame extended while maintaining total concentration, and landing softly as a gazelle. It was a breathtaking moment, the spark UofL needed to fuel the fire the rest of the way.
4) Will Stein picks up the first down. UofL doesn't win this game without the diminutive veteran. I can't even remember if it was on 3rd or 4th down, but Stein picking up the bootleg first down was awesome. He was so jacked up afterwards, it pumped me up on my couch. It's easy to see why he is so beloved by his coach and teammates. Also, it's important to note he had a man open in the flat for a fairly routine completion. But knowing the down, knowing the stakes, Stein left nothing to chance, tucked it, and took care of business himself. Heady play.
3) The fake field goal. Make no mistake, if that play stands, the Cards go down 21-3 and we're looking for Belk Bowl tickets today. And it was a completely broken play. Preston Brown said afterwards his role was to cover a receiver in case of a fake, but when he saw that no one was moving to stop Rutgers' J.T. Tartacoff from rushing for the first down, Brown attacked and strung out the play. Tartacoff was forced to back off and buy time before unleashing a would-be TD pass. It was those precious few moments that delayed the fake just long enough for Rutgers tackle Devon Watkis to jump the gun and head downfield early. Yellow flag. Rutgers punts. Cards survive.
Serendipity, folks. It's ain't just a crappy movie with Cusack.
2) Jeremy Wright absorbs the hit. It was a rough night for Wright, who could get next to nothing going on the ground and had fans clammering for Corvin Lamb. It would have been easy for Wright to hang his head, get down on himself, or (gulp) revert back to his bad habit of fumbling in big moments. But even though no space was opening for him, eventually Wright wouldn't be denied, and absorbed a huge hit in the backfield before spinning out and turning it into a nice gain (that almost could have been a touchdown). It wasn't "gamechanging", but it was symbolic of the night, if not the entire season. The will to win personified.
1) Teddy's signals TD. A moment I'll never forget. Bridgewater hobbling his team on a 90-yard touchdown drive. On a night when the endzone may as well have been in Mongolia for all the Cardinals struggles to reach paydirt, Bridgewater capped the drive with a nifty bit of improvisation, flashing what little mobility he could muster before flicking a shovel pass to Jeremy Wright who headed for the goal line with a full head of steam. When Wright reached about the 5, still with a few men to beat, Teddy already had his hands raised signalling touchdown. Part exhausted, part broken, part confidently defiant, Teddy knew. It was our time.