The thousands of black-dressed Cards fans were only rained on for a few minutes in the second quarter, but they were still witness to a sloppy Louisville 24-14 victory over Duke.
It was the Cardinal’s 500th win in the program’s history.
Louisville, one of the top offensive teams in college football, had season lows in points scored, first downs (21) and total yards (469).
Louisville scored on its first possession with a 5-yard Lamar Jackson pass to Jaylen Smith, but that was the only offense they could muster during the first half besides an Evan O’Hara field goal early in the second quarter.
Duke did a good job of controlling the clock during the game, keeping Jackson off the field. The Blue Devils’ time of possession was almost 15 minutes more than the Cards. This was thanks to Duke waiting till the end of the play clock to snap the ball and converting over half of their third-down plays, mostly on quick screen passes.
And with an early touchdown of their own, Duke went into the half only down 10-7 in a game where Louisville was favored by over 30.
The Cards still couldn’t pull away in the second half. They would score again on their first possession of the third quarter with an 80-yard run by Jeremy Smith, but that was the only points until the Cards defense allowed a 20-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth to put Duke back within three.
Louisville finally put the Blue Devils away for good after a roughing the kicker penalty on what would have been O’Hara’s second missed field goal of the night set the offense up on the Duke 14-yard line with Jackson running it in for a score two plays later with five minutes left in the game. It was his 30th total touchdown of the season.
Jackson would finish rushing for 144 yards and a touchdown. Through the air, he completed 13 of his 26 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown.
Jamari Staples led the Cardinal receivers with three catches for 62 yards.
Defensively, junior lineman Drew Bailey led the Cards with 11 total tackles. A potential bright spot for the squad was with penalties. Louisville has been one of the most heavily penalized teams the last two seasons, but only drew four flags for 32 yards tonight.
Jackson and the Cards will look to return to form and improve their resumes for both the Heisman trophy and the College Football playoffs against NC State on October 22.<