LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Redshirt freshman quarterback Malik Cunningham will lead the Cardinals into ACC play on Saturday, head coach Bobby Petrino confirmed.
Cunningham came into the game for Louisville after redshirt sophomore Jawon “Puma” Pass struggled to score against Western Kentucky. Cunningham finished the game 10-18 for 88 passing yards, racked up 129 rushing yards and led the Cardinals to a 20-17 victory.
“Malik will start the game,” Petrino said. "He’s had 12 possessions that he started and scored eight times in those 12 possessions. He gives us energy. He gets the guys around him to play hard. I had Puma up in my office yesterday. I felt bad for him. Obviously, it’s not what I expected. It’s not what he expected. It’s hard on him, but he’ll come back. He’ll regroup. But like I told him, I’ve to got to do what’s best for the team. Right now, that’s what I feel is best.”
Pass had zero completions and -2 rushing yards on Saturday. Petrino said he talked to the Pass on Monday about the direction the team was moving at QB.
“It went good," Petrino said. "Obviously, it’s hard. It’s not at all what he expected and how he expected things to go. I thought he played well against Alabama, but we just haven’t been driving the ball and getting the ball in the end zone. But, it’s hard on him. It’s hard on me. It’s not what we wanted. Like I told him, I’m still a big fan of his and I expect him to come back. He’s got to keep a positive attitude—that’s the biggest challenge: to keep a positive attitude, be a good teammate, be a good leader, and get ready.”
The Cards (2-1) visit Virginia (2-1) in their ACC opener. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.