The Louisville Cardinals faced their third ACC opponent and second ranked opponent of the year in #19 Wake Forest.
In a crazy high-scoring, high-turnover, high-quarterback game that went down to the final minute, the Cards beat their first ranked opponent in forever 62-59.
Wake Forest is ranked for the first time since 2008 and 5-0 for the first time in 75 years. Their quarterback, Jamie Newman, heads one of the best passing attacks in the ACC.
Louisville was looking to get that much closer to a bowl and beating a ranked conference opponent on the road would do a lot to show the ACC and the nation that these aren’t the 2018 Cards.
The Cards were hot out of the gate in the first quarter. The defense recovered a fumble giving Louisville great field position, and the offense scored a touchdown four plays later on an eight-yard run by Javian Hawkins just over five minutes into the game. Later in the quarter they scored again on a 55-yard pass to Seth Dawkins.
The Demon Deacons finally responded in the closing minutes of the quarter on a 12-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-7.
Not to be outdone, Louisville’s special teams unit got in on the action, with Hassan Hall returning the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
After Wake Forest was forced to punt on the following possession, the special teams unit had another great return, setting the Cards offense up for a nine-yard touchdown pass to Tutu Atwell to take the score to 28-7.
The Deacons were able to score again on the next possession to make the score 28-14.
Micale Cunningham fumbled the ball after a brutal hit on the next possession and Wake Forest scored on a one-yard run to make it a one-score game again.
Cunningham was run into the injury tent, and once again Evan Conley went out to run the offense. Around the same time Jamie Newman, the Demon Deacons’ quarterback, suffered a shoulder injury and had to be replaced.
Cunningham did not play for the rest of the game. He finished completing five of six passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 59 yards on four carries.
Blanton Creque kicked a field goal with just over two minutes left in the half to make the score 31-21.
The Deacons got down to the Louisville red zone as the half wound down, but a timely Louisville interception kept the halftime score at 31-21.
The second half started much like the first for the Cards. Hassan Hall returned the kickoff 83 yards, and Dez Fitzpatrick caught a 15-yard pass from Evan Conley for a touchdown to make the score 38-21.
Wake Forest responded with just under ten minutes left in the third quarter on a 47-yard touchdown pass. But Louisville came back and scored another touchdown on an eight-yard touchdown run by Hassan Hall.
It was the first time a Cardinal player scored a return and rushing touchdown in the same game since 1973.
Wake Forest kicked a field goal to make the score 45-31.
With just over nine minutes left in the game, Louisville scored another touchdown on a 50-yard pass to Dez Fitzpatrick to make the score 52-31.
Wake Forest would score again with just over six minutes left in the game on a short run.
Blanton Creque would kick a field goal about 30 seconds later. It was 302 career points for him. He joined Lenny Lyles, Art Carmody, John Wallace and Lamar Jackson in the Louisville 300-point club.
The score was 55-38. But the Deacons scored the next to touchdowns to get within three points.
The offense was moving, but the Wake Forest defense stopped them on third down to make it 4th and one on the Deacons 41-yard line. With the game potentially on the line, Evan Conley kept it and ran 41 yards for a touchdown.
But the game was not over yet, Wake Forest quickly moved the ball down the field and scored get within three points yet again.
Wake Forest tried an onside kick that they very nearly recovered, but after a controversial call Louisville came up with the ball and just had to kneel and get the victory.
The Louisville defense excelled in this game. They forced three fumbles in the first quarter alone, recovering one.
Conley finished the game passing 12-18 with 196 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He was the teams leading rusher, getting 79 yards on seven carries and a touchdown.
Javian Hawkins and Hassan Hall also rushed for touchdowns.
Dez Fitzpatrick caught five passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. It was his third-straight game with over 100 receiving yards.
Seth Dawkins and Tutu Atwell also caught receiving touchdowns.
And while Louisville’s special teams had several great returns, they struggled with their onside kick recovery which almost proved fatal.
And with both Cunningham and Conley performing well in their time as quarterback, the start for the next game may very well be in doubt.
Louisville moves to 4-2 on the season (2-1 ACC). Wake Forest falls to 5-1 (1-1 ACC).
Scott Satterfield has beaten one ranked opponent in his six games as a Louisville head coach. This matches the total number of ranked wins that Bobby Petrino earned in his five total years with the program. This victory was also a ranked road win, which Petrino was never able to do.
The Cards return home to face defending national champion #2 Clemson on October 19.<