By Mike Gilpatrick–
The No. 7 Louisville Cardinals dominated the North Carolina State Wolfpack Saturday, their sixth win of the season. The eighth-largest home crowd in school history witnessed the 54-13 homecoming thrashing.
Scoring started early, as Lamar Jackson took the ball into the end zone off a 36-yard rush up the middle on the first drive. After the kickoff, Louisville got the ball back quickly. NC State’s Ryan Finley over threw a slant pass and Trumaine Washington picked it off, returning the ball to NC State’s 29. A 37-yard field goal by Blanton Creque put the Cards up 10-0.
The biggest highlight of the first quarter came just before the five-minute mark. Jackson passed to wide receiver Jaylen Smith on a crossing route for 74 yards, putting Louisville up 17-0 on the Wolfpack. The touchdown was Jackson’s longest of his career and Smith longest reception.
Louisville’s offensive success continued into the second quarter, as the Cards put up 27 more points before halftime. Jackson set a record with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jamari Staples. The touchdown was Jackson’s 34th touchdown on the year. It broke the school record for most touchdowns by a single player in a season, originally set by Dave Ragone and Brian Brohm. At the half, the Cards led 44-0.
Louisville’s defense stepped up in the first half, limiting NC State to 54 yards overall. The defense forced three interceptions by Washington, Jonathan Greenard and Stacy Thomas.
NC State had more success in the third quarter, as they scored 13 points, starting with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Finley to Kelvin Harmon. The Wolfpack’s second score came off a 70-yard touchdown pass from Finley to Maurice Trowell.
On defense, the Wolfpack sacked Jackson twice, held Louisville to 55 yards, and kept them off the board. After the third quarter, Louisville lead 44-13.
At the 9:14 mark in the fourth quarter Jeremy Smith rushed for a one-yard TD on fourth down to put the Cards up 51-13.
Creque set the school record for the most points by a kicker with a 27-yarder that put Louisville up 54-13.
Louisville improves to 6-1 overall (4-1), as NC State falls to 4-3 overall (1-2). With their sixth win, Louisville gained bowl eligibility, and looks to continue its success next week in Charlottesville against the Virginia Cavaliers on Oct. 29.
Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal