Louisville one win away from Bowling

Photo courtesy of Jamie Rhodes, USA Today

It was a rainy Saturday as the University of Louisville Cardinals took on the University of Virginia Cavaliers (5-3, 3-2) and rallied to a stunning, 28-21 victory.

The Cards (5-3,3-2) welcomed friends, family and alumni back to campus as UofL celebrated homecoming weekend. And the Cardinal’s QB carousel continued as Malik Cunningham started the game instead of Evan Conley.

Slip-sliding away

The rain-slick field from 100% precipitation made for fast, loose play. Moving the ball quickly down the turf, the Cards had a strong start to the game. After picking up a few first downs, the drive stalled after back-to-back sacks. Those failed attempts turned the ball over to Bryce Perkins, one of the most dangerous, exciting players in the ACC.

Perkins to Dubois for 39 yards. Wayne Taulapapa made a six-yard yard run. Malik Cunningham to Tutu Atwell for a 77-yard pass on the very next play, the longest touchdown pass since 2009 against Southern Mississippi.

Then, came Malik Cunningham’s 48-yard run. With it, he moved into second place on Louisville all-time QB rushing list, passing Stefan LeFors. Even so, that big play resulted in no points as the Cardinals field goal attempt went wide left.

The Cardinals gained momentum slowly, stuck deep in their territory which lead to a punt. It moved UVA to excellent field position, as they moved the ball quickly for a score due to three rushing plays for 37 yards. That drive was capped off by Taulapapa, who scored his second touchdown of the afternoon.

Sloppy seconds

The second quarter was littered with yellow flags, mostly going against Louisville. Their defense missed a golden opportunity for a game-changing interception due to a drop by by C.J. Avery. As the Cavaliers drove to add to the lead, Chandler Jones made a great play on a Bryce Perkins throw for an interception. The defensive play insured the lead stayed in the single digits as the halftime score was 14-7.

Three the hard way

The Cardinals began the third quarter with a strong defensive stop and a big-play, 15- yard, Cunningham run starting a scoring drive. Tutu Atwell’s 26-yard reception set up a Javian Hawkin’s, two-yard TD run. With the reception, Atwell went over the 100 yard mark for the third time this season. Marlon Character sacked Perkins, bringing the rain-drenched homecoming crowd to their feet.

Louisville was able to pin the Cavaliers at the one yard line during the middle of the fourth quarter. Virginia picked up one first down thanks to a big catch from Reed, but Jana couldn’t haul in a pass from Perkins.

Louisville put the final nail in the coffin with a touchdown at 2:46 on the clock. The victory gives Louisville one win away from going Bowling after a terrible 2018 season. The Cards have now beaten two teams that were ranked in the top 25 this year.

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