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Hokies will get a shot at young quarterback
Hokies get shot at new Louisville quarterback

Date published: 12/31/2005

By JIM McCONNELL

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--Hunter Cantwell didn't talk to the media prior to Louisville's Dec. 3 game against Connecticut, choosing instead to focus on preparing for his first collegiate start.

That doesn't mean Cantwell is bashful.

The redshirt freshman quarterback, who took over Louisville's high-octane offense when sophomore Brian Brohm suffered a season-ending knee injury Nov. 26 at Syracuse, made quite a first impression on Virginia Tech when he discussed his team's upcoming Gator Bowl matchup against the No. 12 Hokies.

"I think we're definitely going to move the ball we're definitely going to score some points," Cantwell said during a press conference earlier this month. "How many we score will probably be a question, but when you see an offense like this, and then you look at the playbook and see the schemes, you're not really too worried about a lot of what the other guys do on the other side of the ball."

That's pretty confident talk from a guy who had attempted all of 11 passes before completing 16 of 25 for 271 yards in Louisville's 30-20 victory over U.Conn.

But that's nothing new for Cantwell, who bypassed several scholarship offers to walk on at Louisville.

His decision didn't look so good when Brohm took over for graduated QB Stefan LeFors this season and became an instant superstar. Before tearing the ACL in his right knee, Brohm completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 2,883 yards and 19 touchdowns, good for second in the nation in pass efficiency.

Cantwell knows something about gaudy statistics. In three years as the starting quarterback at Paducah (Ky.) Tilghman High School, the 6-foot-4, 230-pounder passed for 7,272 yards and 70 touchdowns. His .606 career completion percentage ranks 11th in state history.

When Brohm's misfortune became his opportunity, Cantwell wasn't about to cower in the corner.

"I know a lot of people think, 'Wow, this is amazing,'" Cantwell told The Associated Press after the U.Conn. game. "But I always thought I could play at this level. It wasn't like I thought maybe I'll come up here and get lucky or anything like that. It's not much of a Cinderella story for me, but I think a lot of people see it like that."


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