BOSTON — If Deion Branch were to submit the script for what eventually unfolded on Saturday morning in Beantown, Hollywood directors more than likely would reject it for being fanciful. It’s a good thing that the setting was not Hollywood but in Boston, in the area of the country where Branch, the former superstar wide receiver at Louisville who took over as the its interim head coach a few weeks ago, became a legend during his professional days, earning a couple of Super Bowl rings during his time with the New England Patriots.
Today marked Branch’s coaching debut, albeit for just one game, and his Cardinals turned the Hollywood script into a dream afternoon.
Running back Maurice Turner ran for 160 yards while fellow running back Jawhar Jordan ran for two scores as Louisville defeated Cincinnati 24-7 in the inaugural Fenway Bowl that took place inside of Boston’s Fenway Park. The two running backs fueled a rushing attack that churned out 287 yards on the ground.
Louisville’s defense also took over, holding Cincinnati to just 138 total yards and sacking Bearcat quarterbacks seven times in the contest.
All of that added up to a first coaching victory for Branch, who won MVP of Super Bowl XXIX as a member of the Patriots. Another former Louisville football star, Jeff Brohm, was named the new head coach of Louisville on Dec. 8, but before he assumed on-field duties, Brohm and other Louisville supporters saw one of their own lead the Cardinals to their eighth victory of the season.
The bright spot we did have in first half was the rushing yards and we controlled the line of scrimmage. I think that was the most important part about the game,” Branch said. “I mentioned to the guys that this game will be won or lost on the frontline, the offensive and defensive line. And that’s exactly what happened.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday morning’s game, with all photos taken by ALOST photo editor Robert Cole. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 46 pictures in total.