Incredibly sad news out of the Louisville football program today as the team announced that starting QB Will Gardner will miss the remainder of the season after re-injuring his right knee in a non-contact situation against Boston College. Gardner will have surgery in the next few weeks, though no date has officially been set. The redshirt sophomore has already torn the Anterior Cruciate Ligament in that same knee twice in the last four years and a third could potentially be career ending (though, it’s too early to jump to any formal conclusions). Gardner had looked particularly sharp in his last two outings, connecting on 33 passes in 57 attempts with a touchdown and an interception. On the season, he’s 127-221 with 1,669 yards, 12 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions.
Now the focus shifts squarely onto the shoulders of true freshman and Louisvillian Reggie Bonnafon, who entered the BC game in relief of Gardner and went 4-5 for 69 yards and a touchdown both in the air and on the ground. Bonnafon looked inconsistent – or perhaps more accurately, like an 18-year old true freshman – earlier this year when he made appearances against Virginia, FIU and Wake Forest, but you could see a much different, more confident player out there this past Saturday. He was in command at the line of scrimmage, showed good decision-making and displayed incredible touch on a 29-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker late in the second quarter. With games left against Notre Dame and Kentucky, Bonnafon has a chance to do something special and lead this team to a 9-3 record in its inaugural season in the ACC.
Here’s the brief announcement from Bobby Petrino and UofL on the Gardner injury:
“It is really unfortunate and disappointing for Will because of how hard he has worked and how respected he is in the locker room,” head coach Bobby Petrino said in a release. “Will will continue to be an integral part of our program moving forward because of his leadership he has displayed and the respect he has in the locker room. “