Louisville — For the seventh consecutive year, the Louisville Sports Commission (LSC) will present the Howard Schnellenberger Award to the most valuable player on the winning team in the annual gridiron matchup between the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky.
The award winner will be selected by a vote of the working media covering the game and will be presented with a custom-made Louisville Slugger baseball bat stained in the color of the winning team. The Cardinals (9-2) host the Wildcats (6-5) Saturday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for noon, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.
The Louisville Sports Commission created the award as a way to honor the legacy of Schnellenberger, the only person inducted into both the UK and UofL Athletic Halls of Fame.
A high school teammate of Paul Hornung, Schnellenberger was recruited to UK out of Louisville Flaget High School by Bear Bryant in 1952 and was an All-American tight end as a senior for the Wildcats under Coach Blanton Collier. Schnellenberger was an assistant coach at UK under Collier in 1959 and 1960, offensive coordinator under Bryant at Alabama for three national titles, offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins for the 17-0 season in 1972, and led the University of Miami to the national championship as head coach in 1983. As the head coach at UofL for 10 years (1985-1994), Schnellenberger is credited with rejuvenating the football program and led the Cardinals to victories in the Liberty and Fiesta Bowls.
Schnellenberger also coined the famous line, “University of Louisville football is on a collision course with the national championship, the only variable is time.”
2015 Schnellenberger Award Winner. UofL freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson earned the Award by rushing for two touchdowns and throwing for one as he led the Cardinals to a 38-24 come-from-behind win over Kentucky in Commonwealth Stadium. With the Cardinals down 21-0, Jackson entered the game in mid first quarter to engineer the dramatic comeback by rushing for 186 yards and throwing for 130. Down 24-7 at intermission, UofL score 31 straight points in the second half.
2014 Schnellenberger Award Winner. UofL junior wide receiverDevante Parker earned the Award with six catches for 180 yards and three touchdowns in a wild back and forth game in Cardinal Stadium that Louisville won 38-34. Parker, a Louisville native out of Ballard High School, notched his seventh 100-yard receiving game and tied the UofL career touchdown receiving record with 33. The game featured nearly 800 yards in combined total offense and seven lead changes.
2013 Schnellenberger Award Winner. Teddy Bridgewater captured his second consecutive MVP Award when he threw to seven different receivers in UofL’s 27-13 win over UK at Commonwealth Stadium. For the day, Bridgewater was 16-28 passing for 250 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. He lofted a second quarter touchdown pass to wide receiver Devante Parker deep in the corner of the end zone for the go-ahead score.
2012 Schnellenberger Award Winner. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater earned the Award with a sterling performance in UofL’s 32-14 win over UK at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. He completed 19-21 passes for 232 yards and no interceptions and set a UofL single-game record with a 90.5 percent completion rate. He led UofL on a 15-play 99-yard scoring drive on the Cardinals’ first possession and a six-play 85-yard scoring drive on their second possession for a lead they would never relinquish.
2011 Schnellenberger Award Winner. A senior linebacker and Louisville native, Dexter Heyman earned the Award as the Cardinals defeated the Wildcats 24-17 at Commonwealth Stadium. Heyman made 12 tackles, two for a loss, and a forced fumble recovered by a teammate, leading the Cardinal defense that limited the Wildcats to 35 yards rushing in 32 carries.
2010 Schnellenberger Award Winner. UK senior running back Derrick Locke was named the inaugural recipient of the Award for his performance in the Wildcats’ 23-16 win over UofL at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Locke registered 150 all-purpose yards, including 104 rushing yards on 23 carries. He scored two first quarter touchdowns for a lead UK would never relinquish.