After an unexpected by bye week to deal with a sudden outbreak of a virus that’s apparently going around, the Cards will finally take on Virginia.
Despite having an extra week to rest, recuperate and prepare, Louisville showed the same old flaws and got rolled by the Cavaliers 31-17.
This was once again a matchup of some of the worst teams in the ACC. Both had only two wins each heading into this game, although one of the Cavaliers’ wins was a 44-41 underdog victory against #15 North Carolina on Halloween.
Louisville was gob smacked against Virginia Tech when they were suddenly minus most of their defensive lineman due to COVID-19. While adhering to all quarantine and health and safety procedures, they were still not at full strength. The most notable absence was receiver Tutu Atwell and running back Javian Hawkins who had made up so much of the Louisville offense this season.
The Cards needed to start winning to avoid a losing season, a definite disappointment after winning a bowl game last year.
Things did not start out well for the Cards. The defense held the Cavaliers to three-and-out on their first series, but Louisville’s next possession ended when Malik Cunningham threw an interception that Virginia ran back 85 yards for a touchdown.
Louisville would kick a field goal in their next try on offense to make the score 7-3 Virginia.
Both squads would have problems taking care of the ball in the first half. The Cavaliers would turn the ball over on their next two possessions, one a fumble and one an interception.
Cunningham would run 19 yards for a touchdown five minutes into the second quarter to take the lead.
They wouldn’t have it long, as Virginia responded with an eight-yard touchdown run to take a 14-10 lead with six minutes left in the half.
Neither team could score until the third quarter, when the Cavaliers scored on a nine-yard touchdown pass five minutes into the third.
Louisville would finally score another touchdown in the final minutes of the third quarter on a short run by Cunningham to make the score 21-17 Virginia.
The Cards couldn’t carry any of that positive momentum to turn the tide of the game, and in fact regressed. While Virginia scored ten points in their next two possessions, Louisville would fumble twice to seal the game for the Cavaliers.
This was yet another game where the Cards would gain more yards than their opponents in a losing effort. Louisville had 478 total yards, 317 on the ground.
But turnovers and penalties proved yet again to be the Cards’ Achilles heel. Louisville also had seven penalties for 64 yards.
Louisville also had three total turnovers, all of which were converted into points for Virginia. With those three turnovers, the Cards are now the worst team in the FBS in turnover margin, with -8 after eight games.
Malik Cunningham would complete 13 of his 21 passes for 161 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. He would also rush for 197 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns.
Dez Fitzpatrick was the Cards’ leading receiver with five catches for 71 yards.
With a winning regular season now out of reach, the Cards return home desperate for a win against Syracuse on November 20.<