After a fourth-quarter collapse against Georgia Tech last week, the Louisville Cardinals were looking to stop the skid against #4 Notre Dame. But facing one of the best teams in the nation, the Cards would need the luck of the…well, you know…to avoid losing a fourth-straight game.
In a game they were predicted to lose by almost 20 points, Louisville stayed within a score for the entire game, but still could not overcome the Irish and lost 12-7.
The two squads had only played twice before this matchup, with the Cards winning in 2014 and the Irish evening the series last year.
Notre Dame has perhaps the best offensive line in the country and as a result one of the better rushing attacks. Mobile quarterbacks such as Malik Cunningham have given the Irish trouble in the past, but Louisville would need to protect the ball a lot better to get the offense to succeed.
The Cardinal defense played their hearts out in the first half, keeping Notre Dame out of the endzone. The Irish were only able to make two field goals in the first 30 minutes of the game.
The Louisville offense couldn’t take advantage, however, only getting into field goal range one time, a 52-yard attempt that came up short as the half ticked down. The teams headed into the locker room with Notre Dame up 6-0.
Louisville took the lead halfway through the third quarter on a short pass to Marshon Ford. They didn’t have the lead long, as the Irish would run it in for a touchdown a few minutes later to make the score 12-7.
The Cards could not respond and lost again.
Some of the problems that had plagued Louisville in the previous few weeks were much improved tonight. One of the worst teams in the nation when it came to turnovers, the offense protected the ball and did not turn it over once this game. And while poor tackling and blown coverages had cost them dearly in previous contests, it was much improved against the Irish, with the defense far outperforming the offense.
The Cards did have problems. They had trouble converting on third down, only managing 3-9 while Notre Dame went 8-15. Penalties were also an issue with Louisville having eight penalties for 65 yards. And while the Cards got more yardage through the air than their opponents, the Irish outgained Louisville on the ground 232-95.
Malik Cunningham completed 16 of his 18 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 48 yards on 14 carries.
Javian Hawking was doing it all for the Cards. Usually featured at running back, he was Louisville’s leading rusher and receiver for the game. He rushed for 51 yards on 15 carries and caught five passes for 46 yards.
Marshon Ford, another back, caught the team’s lone touchdown pass.
Notre Dame moves to 4-0 on the season (2-0 ACC). Louisville falls to 1-4 (0-4 ACC).
After three games on the road, the Cards head back home looking for an ever-elusive win against Florida State on October 24.<