The #24 Louisville Cardinals were looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season against #21 Pitt.
Their losing streak continued however, as the Panthers beat the Cards 23-20.
While these two squads met every year of their tenure in the Big East, they’ve only met once while in the ACC, a 45-34 Pitt victory in 2015. This season Panthers have a chance to go 3-0 for the first time since 2014. With the Big Ten reentering the rankings next week, both squads may be unranked a few days from now no matter who wins.
The Louisville defense got torched by Miami last week, and today Louisville would have to go up against a stout Pitt defense. The Cardinal defense would also have to contend with an electric Panther passing game.
Pitt got on the board with 13 straight points in the first quarter. Louisville was finally able to respond with a monster 75-yard touchdown run by Javian Hawkins with two minutes left to go in the first quarter.
The Cards added another field goal halfway through the second quarter to make the score 13-10 Pitt. After the defense forced a turnover and gave the offense great field position, which they capitalized on, regaining the lead with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Tutu Atwell.
They wouldn’t have the lead long however, the Louisville defense thought they had a Pitt receiver, but knees had yet to touch the ground and he bounced back up and ran it in for a score to make the score 20-17 Panthers.
The Cards couldn’t respond as the first half wound down and went into the locker room down three.
Louisville got the ball back at the start of the second half but couldn’t do anything with it, as Malik Cunningham threw an interception to give Pitt good field position. While the Cards’ defense kept the Panthers out of the endzone they did kick a field goal to make the score 23-17.
Louisville closed the gap with a field goal late in the third quarter. But those two field goals were the only offense either team could muster in the second half.
The Cards’ last chance came down to a fourth-and-four play on the Louisville 34-yard line with about 90 seconds left in the game. Unfortunately, Cunningham threw his third interception of the game, all but sealing the loss. What was worse, Cunningham lay on the ground for several minutes with an injury before being put on a stretcher and wheeled into the locker rooms before Pitt ran the clock out for the victory.
Neither team took care of the ball very well, with each squad having two interceptions each. The Louisville offensive line had problems holding back the Panther defense, with Malik Cunningham being sacked seven times and hurried a bunch more.
There was also a massive discrepancy in third downs. Pitt was able to convert nine of their 19 third downs, while the Cards were only able to convert one of 11.
Cunningham finished the game throwing 9-21 with 107 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
Javian Hawkins led the team in rushing with 78 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. All but three of those yards came on his touchdown run in the quarter. Without that run, Louisville would have only gained a net total of 41 rushing yards.
Tutu Atwell had four catches for 37 yards and a touchdown.
The Cards have a week off before going back to practice, plan and heal before they return to the road to face Georgia Tech on October 9.<