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Football team clings to victory against UNC, 39-34

The football team nearly held on to an early victory against UNC during Saturday’s home game. Louisville’s next test will take place on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7PM in Miami, Florida. The Cardinals will take on Florida International.

By John Brady–

Last Saturday, the University of Louisville football team hosted the North Carolina Tarheels. Coming into the game, Coach Charlie Strong had mentioned the Tarheels as the team’s “biggest test” all season. However, the Cardinals pulled through to secure a 39-34 victory.

Sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 279 yards and three touchdowns. The touchdown passes were caught by freshman cornerback Charles Gaines, sophomore wide receiver Eli Rogers and senior fullback Nick Heuser. All three of those touchdowns came in the first half.

By Austin Lassell

At halftime, the Cards were leading 36-7. However, after halftime, the momentum went in favor of North Carolina. North Carolina’s junior quarterback Bryn Renner passed for 363 yards, throwing five touchdowns and one interception. Renner threw four touchdown passes in the second half.

On the opening possession of the second half, Louisville was stopped in Carolina territory. The Tarheels, led by quarterback Bryn Renner and freshman wide receiver Romar Morris, increased their intensity to attempt a comeback against the Cards. Renner threw a touchdown pass to make it 36-14 with a little over five minutes to go in the 3rd quarter.

With nine minutes to go, sophomore punter Ryan Johnson had his punt blocked and recovered by the Tarheels on the Louisville goal line.To start the 4th quarter, Louisville’s freshman place kicker John Wallace added a field goal to bring the score to 39-14. A little over a minute later, UNC earned a touchdown, making the score 39-21. At this point, the Cardinal offense was failing to add any points to the board, for the team focused on protecting their lead.

By Austin Lassell

One play later, Renner threw his 4th touchdown pass to cut Louisville’s lead to 39-28 with eight minutes to play. Louisville’s offense then went three and out and had to punt again, sending the Tarheels deep into their own territory. However, with 4:23 to play, Renner
On the ensuing kickoff, Louisville fumbled the football giving the Tarheels the ball deep in Louisville territory. The Tarheels drove all the way down to the four yard line when U of L sophomore cornerback Andrew Johnson blocked a pass from UNC. With only 1:44 left the Cards were able to run out the clock and stop a ferocious Carolina comeback to secure a 39-34 victory.found Romar Morris, who traveled up the middle of the field for a 50 yard score, making it a 39-34 game.

Louisville cornerback Andrew Johnson was frustrated with the defensive effort by Louisville in the second half.

“It’s always frustrating when you’re up by 27, it’s always frustrating,” Johnson said. “So we just have to come together tomorrow, and we have to work on it and get better.”

Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith was asked after the game if the team had become complacent after the big lead at halftime.

By Austin Lassell

The Cardinals remained strong during the second half scoring surge by North Carolina.

“I feel like we got real complacent at the end,” Smith responded. “I felt that, being a young team, we have to be mature enough to, when we have our foot on someone, to keep it on the pedal. We can’t let a game like this come back.”

Despite the second half surge by UNC, U of L head coach Charlie Strong appeared satisfied with the win.

“At the end of the day, we still won the football game,” Strong said. “We have a good team, and we just need to learn how to finish.”

The U of L football team is now 3-0 for the first time since 2006. The Cardinals will continue their season away from home next week at Florida International University. The game kicks off at 7p.m. in Miami, Florida.

See more photos from the game

sports@louisvillecardinal.com
Photos: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal

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