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    It’s been a good, but not great first half of the season for the University of Louisville football team.

    Sure the Cardinals are 5-1 at the midway point, but most fans would agree that they should be 6-0 (if not for the debacle that was their 23-21 loss at Virginia) heading into Saturday’s showdown at 25th-ranked Clemson.

    Yes UofL boasts the No. 1 defense in the Football Bowl Subdivision, but Bobby Petrino’s offense ranks an average 85th. Key injuries - to standout wideout DeVante Parker and quarterback Will Gardner, most notably - definitely haven’t helped, but even with those setbacks and ball security issues (the team has lost 10 fumbles and ranks near the bottom of the FBS in turnovers lost) the Cards shouldn’t be behind Massachusetts and South Alabama in total offense.

    Those statistical rankings, among other things, beg a question. Who deserves more credit for UofL’s start, Petrino or Charlie Strong

    Let’s face it, Petrino’s Cards are winning with Strong’s players and the strength of this UofL team is its defense, which Strong and his staff constructed before they left for Texas. Sure Petrino and his staff, particularly defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, deserve plenty of credit for the Cards’ start, but it’s definitely something to debate at this point.

    With that being said, it’s time for the midseason awards:

    Offensive MVP: Brandon Radcliff. Where did he come from? The redshirt sophomore from Miami, Fla. has been the breakout star of the season - at least the last two games - for the Cards. He leads the team with 362 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He has taken over the role of feature back after the recent disappearance of Dominique Brown. The senior had a tour-de-force performance (33 rushes for 143 yards and a TD) in Louisville’s season-opening win over Miami, however, he’s only run for a combined 70 yards in UofL’s last three games.

    Offensive MVP runner-up: Reggie Bonnafon. The freshman quarterback from Trinity High School has stepped in and stepped up after Gardner suffered a knee injury at Florida International, leading Louisville to back-to-back victories over Wake Forest and Syracuse. So far Bonnafon, who may or may not start at Clemson, has completed 56.8 percent of his passes for 531 yards and two TDs and run for 77 yards and two more scores.

    Defensive MVP: Gerod Holliman. The redshirt sophomore safety has an FBS-leading seven interceptions through the Cards’ first six games. Holliman also has a team-high nine pass defended in addition to his 18 total tackles and two passes broken up.

    Defensive MVP runner-up: Lorenzo Mauldin. The senior defensive end/linebacker hybrid has thrived in his new position. Maulding ranks second on the team in total tackles (26, 11 behind sophomore linebacker Keith Kelsey) while leading the squad in tackles for loss nine), quarterback hits (six) and tying for the team lead in sacks (four).

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