--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
The Louisville Cardinals are on the brink of bowl eligibility after defeating Virginia 28-21.
A year after finishing 2-10, Scott Satterfield and Co. have won their fifth game of 2019, and need just one win to play a game in December. Most of the nation thought the Cardinals would be better this season, but very few thought they would win five games, much less go bowling.
Their fifth win of the year was a signature win on a rainy October afternoon. The defense held preseason All-ACC quarterback Bryce Perkins to just 233 yards, a touchdown, and one interception. The numbers aren’t bad against Athlon Sports’ No. 2 ACC preseason quarterback.
Micale Cunningham was good in the win, completing 6 of 10 for 126 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. He also rushed 28 times for 136 yards and one rushing touchdown. In total, the Cardinals amassed 360 total yards; 227 of which were on the ground.
Virginia scored a touchdown with 5:16 in the first. Tutu Atwell responded with a long 77-yard catch from Cunningham with 4:27 left in the quarter. The kick was good by Blanton Creque.
Wayne Taulapapa scored his second rushing touchdown almost five minutes into the second quarter. It gave the Cavaliers a 14-7 halftime lead.
Javian Hawkins tied the game with 5:53 in the third quarter. He pushed the touchdown in from two yards.
In the fourth, Cunningham rushed for a touchdown 48 seconds into the fourth quarter. Hawkins scored a go-ahead touchdown with 2:46 left, from 17-yards on the ground.
Tavares Kelly caught a touchdown with 21 seconds left. Virginia successfully recovered an onside kick, but Louisville’s defense held up when it mattered most.
As said in the introduction, no one expected Louisville to have a good season this year. But with a 5-3 record and a *winnable* remaining schedule, Louisville looks poised to reach six wins. It helps to wash away the horrendous 2018 season.
ESPN’s gave Louisville a 37.7 percent chance of victory entering the game.
If Louisville wins at least one more game, the rebuild timetable moves up significantly. It also may help in recruiting. The Cardinals have the 31st class for 2020, with one four-star and 22 three-star recruits.
The Cardinals look to win game No. 6 against Miami on November 9th. The Hurricanes defeated Pittsburgh 16-12 earlier in the day. The game will be in Miami Gardens; and a time has not been announced.