Bonnafon, Radcliff forming 1-2 punch for Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Reggie Bonnafon made a strong case to be Louisville's starting quarterback.
Brandon Radcliff bolstered his credentials as the Cardinals' featured running back with hard-charging runs that came early and often.
That gives the Cardinals the potential for a 1-2 offensive punch as the skill players combined for five touchdowns and 351 yards and the Red squad scored on five of six first-half possessions against the White squad of reserves.
Bonnafon completed 15 of 19 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown, and rushed 10 times for 37 yards and 1-yard score. The Louisville native did all of his damage before the break as the Red squad rolled to a 38-0 lead. His favorite target was junior wideout James Quick, who caught seven passes for 127 yards.
Bonnafon said his focus was on managing the game and being efficient.
''Overall, I felt pretty good,'' Bonnafon said. ''Offensively, we kind of got off to a slow start to start off the game, but we got a nice little rhythm going. I thought we did pretty well.''
Radcliff added seven rushes for 57 yards and three TDs, an impressive follow-up to last season in which he led the Cardinals with 737 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing. He also caught an 18-yard pass as the Red outgained the White 596-100 in a 59-0 victory.
Bonnafon challenged Will Gardner for the starting job as a freshman and eventually gained the job when Gardner sustained a season-ending torn left anterior cruciate ligament injury in November.
His own knee injury in the regular season finale against Kentucky opened the door for Kyle Bolin to start and throw for 300 yards in the Cardinals' 37-14 Belk Bowl loss to Georgia. That caused coach Bobby Petrino to keep an open mind this spring as he evaluated those two and junior Tyler Ferguson, a Penn State transfer.
The starter's job appears to be Bonnafon's to lose after another display of his dual skills as a passer and runner. His only mistake was throwing a second-quarter to Terrence Ross, who made a great play on the quick out pass.
''I was happy with some of the deep balls that he threw,'' Petrino said about Bonnafon. ''I wanted to make sure we got enough throws and challenged him and threw the ball down the field. I thought he made some real accurate throws.''
Other takeaways from Friday night's Red-White spring game:
DON'T FORGET KYLE: Though his numbers weren't as gaudy as Bonnafon's, Bolin had his moments playing the second half on the Red team. After throwing for just 20 yards in the first half for the White, he had 169 with two TDs for the Red including threading a nice right sideline pass to Radcliff through two defenders to set up a third-quarter TD. He found Ja'Quay Savage across the middle for a 54-yard score in the fourth.
QUICK AND NIMBLE: Quick ably filled the deep-threat void last season while star wide receiver DeVante Parker was injured, and the junior appears ready to stand out himself as the go-to guy. He made six catches for 123 yards in the first half, including a nifty over-the-shoulder grab for 36 yards ending with Radcliff's 2-yard TD run.
PLENTY OF OPTIONS: Eight receivers caught passes from Bonnafon and Bolin, with five gaining at least 40 yards and three catching TD passes. Besides Quick's big game, Savage had three catches for 80 yards with a score; Keith Towbridge had four for 45; L.J. Scott had three for 22 including a TD; Dontez Byrd had two for 42 yards with a score.
Sophomore Jeremy Smith edged Radcliff as the game's top rusher with 58 yards and a 2-yard run on 10 carries.
RACKING UP SACKS: The scrimmage featured nine combined sacks with the Red totaling five. Most notable was how quickly the pressure from both squads converged on the quarterback, although tackling wasn't allowed, which says something about the Cardinals' pass-rush potential. That also raised questions about pass protection, although Bonnafon's running ability offsets some of those concerns.
PASSING THE TORCH: Louisville once again has plenty of spots to fill on a defense that ranked in the top 10 last season, but the Red squad provided some hope by holding the White squad to just 33 rushing yards in the shutout. Henry Famurewa, Chucky Williams, Jarrod Barnes and Pio Vatuvei each had five tackles. Famurewa had two sacks and 2 1/2 tackles for loss.