(Photo courtesy of ACC)
The Louisville offense dropped key opportunities to close in on Pittsburgh as the #24 Cards fell to the #21 Panthers, 20-23 .
After giving up three unanswered scores to start the game, Louisville got on the board by a long 75-yard rushing touchdown by running back Javian Hawkins. But the running game was held in check from there, being held to just 116 total rushing yards, a 3.9 per carry. The entire offense with only 223 total yards, and quarterback Malik Cunningham, with seven sacks and three interceptions, struggled.
Continuing from last weeks' struggles on third down, they converted only one out of 11 third-down opportunities.
Although the offense struggled, the game remained close. A decent showing by both the special teams and defense kept the game within range. Despite being on the field consistently, the defense forced two turnovers, eleven tackles for a loss, and 3 field goals on strong Pittsburgh drives.
On special teams, kicker James Turner continues to impress with two perfect field goals and extra points. A fake punt on 4th and long let Redshirt senior Tabarius Peterson successfully sneak in 31 yards to force a new set of downs.
Down by three with just under three minutes to go in the game, two timeouts left, and Louisville with possession, the opportunity to tie or even win the game was there. Unfortunately, the Cards would only muster up 17 yards on the drive. On 4th down, the Pitt defense immediately collapsed on Cunningham for the final time, forcing an interception and a hard hit to the ground. Following the play, the Louisville QB had to be carted off the field in a concerning manner. Head Coach Scott Satterfield later said that Cunningham was able to "move and feel everything...medical staff was doing everything precautionary."
Satterfield acknowledged the defense that continues to improve but cited the struggles against Pitt's defensive line as one of the main factors in today's loss. Coach also said, "we're dinged up some...want to get some guys healed up." Luckily he will have some time to do so as Louisville now has a bye week next before they go back on the road to face Georgia Tech.
The Card's three-point loss to Pittsburgh moves them to 1-2 on the season and 0-2 in conference play.