LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Louisville freshman Reggie Bonnafon will make his first start at quarterback on Saturday against Wake Forest in place of injured sophomore Will Gardner.
Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino made the announcement after Thursday's practice and said that Gardner "has responded well to treatment. He is doing a lot better, but he wasn't cleared by the medical staff to play so he will be out."
Gardner threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns before injuring his knee in the third quarter of last week's 34-3 victory at Florida International, which Bonnafon missed to attend his father Wallace's funeral in Louisville. Redshirt freshman Kyle Bolin and senior Brett Nelson finished the game in his place.
Bonnafon returned to the team on Sunday and has worked out with the Cardinals (3-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). He has played in two games as Gardner's backup and completed 14 of 20 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown. He has also rushed for two TDs.
Edged out by Gardner in a close competition during fall camp, Bonnafon now gets his first opportunity to lead the Cardinals.
"Since the first day he has gotten here he has been very mature and has been a quick learner," Petrino said. "He is very competitive. Every time we have put him in the game, he has executed well. He understands what we are trying to do."