Redman reaction is satisfaction

Redman reaction is satisfaction

   LOUISVILLE, Ky.  As he completed his victory lap around Cardinal Stadium, slapping hands with everyone he could find, Chris Redman approached a smattering of Illinois fans lingering near the Louisville end zone.

   He passed them up, headed to the locker room and celebrated with his teammates.

   It''s not the first time he''s blown off the Illini.

   "All week long I tried to keep it out of my thoughts," the one-time Illinois recruit said. "But it was back there. I was thinking about it. And I''m glad the way it ended."

   Facing for the first time the team that initially wooed him best out of high school, Redman showed the Illini why he was courted so aggressively. The quarterback threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns, the last two coming in the fourth quarter of Louisville''s 26-14 win Saturday.

   Somewhere in Michigan, Greg Landry was smiling. The former Illini offensive coordinator spearheaded Redman''s recruiting and still keeps in touch with the quarterback.

   "I know he expects a lot out of me," Redman said. "He always said I reminded him of himself, so it''s good to play so well."

   There was no Cardinal as relieved as Redman was after Saturday''s game. He talked with fans long after the final gun, hugged teammates and even chatted with another fair Louisville quarterback named Johnny Unitas.

   His mood leading up to the game, he admitted, was slightly different. No matter what his coach says.

   "He never said a word about it," Ron Cooper said.

   In public.

   Privately, Redman desperately wanted to show Illinois what it was missing.

   Consider it done. Firing downfield with unusual accuracy, Redman completed 19 of 28 passes, hooking up with eight different receivers.

   "He did some very nice things out there," UI coach Ron Turner said. "I was impressed with his poise and instincts."

   Redman was most impressive with the game on the line, leading the Cardinals on a 98-yard drive to break at 14-14 tie. His 20-yard pass to high school teammate Ibn Green put Louisville ahead for good with 3:57 left.

   Two minutes later, Redman and Green combined for a 63-yard scoring pass on third and 6. Game over.

   "That was gutsy," Redman said. "It shows (Cooper''s) confidence in the players. I''m glad he went with that call. It was a big-time call."

   Redman and Green, a sophomore tight end, are longtime friends, attending grade school and high school together.

   Redman said his first pass to Green came in the fourth quarter of a junior high championship game. The two have enjoyed a comfortable working relationship since.

   "He''s something else, something special," Redman said. "We''re on the same page at all times. I feel real comfortable knowing he''s going to make the catch in pressure situations. He''s a special player."

   Green finished with six catches for 151 yards, snagging all three of Redman''s touchdown passes.

   Redman has thrown for 952 yards in three games, completing 38 of his last 55 attempts dating back to last week''s loss to Utah.

   As sharp as Redman has been, Cooper would rather not rely on such gaudy numbers from his quarterback. A run-first coach, Cooper said, "I don''t want to throw for 350 yards each game. I''m definitely not pleased."

   Redman was after delivering Louisville''s first win in three games.

   "It took a lot of character," he said. "I''m proud of our team."

   Illinois bothered Redman at times, sacking him five times and picking off one pass. Business as usual, defensive end Jeff Weisse said.

   "He''s just another quarterback on the opposing team," he said. "We don''t have any grudges against him."

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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