The past day and a half have been one that Louisville fans just want to forget. The University of Louisville and its fans needed something to put their minds in a good place. Leave it to the football team to do that by going on the road at North Carolina State and picking up a big conference win.
To say this was a must-win-game is a huge understatement. U of L has played one of the toughest early season schedules. They fought back only to lose by seven against Auburn, lost by three to Houston at home, lost by three to No. 12 Clemson, and then finally got a win against Samford. If the Cardinals lost this game, then their chances of getting to a bowl game would be crippled immensely especially with a road trip to Tallahassee coming up in two weeks.
The Cardinals got off to a strong start for the second consecutive game. Lamar Jackson, starting for the second straight game, scored Louisville’s first points on a 68 yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter he threw a beautiful 20 yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Devonte Peete to put the Cardinals ahead 14 – 0.
Jackson had his third 100 yard rushing game in his first five collegiate games breaking the single season record for rushing yards by a Louisville quarterback in the process. However, he completed only 10 of his 27 pass attempts for 103 yards.
North Carolina State started the season 4 – 0, but those games came against little competition. They got very little going against Louisville’s defense. The Cardinals held the Wolfpack to 228 total yards, 251 yards below their season average. Sheldon Rankins and the stout Cardinals’ front seven, stuffed the Wolfpack’s running game, giving up only 45 yards for 1.5 yards per carry. The 45 rushing yards were 214 yards below their season average.
Louisville’s streak of interceptions ended at 17 games, but they did recover two NC State fumbles. The biggest turnover came in the first quarter when Jurmichael Ramos dragged a U of L defender inside the 10 only to be stripped of the ball.
Louisville has a much welcome bye week coming up. They will need all the rest and recovery they can get as they go in to Tallahassee to face what should be a top ten Florida State team in two weeks.