By Sam Draut–
On a rainy day at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville outlasted Boston College for a 17-14 win. The Cardinals improved to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the ACC after a defensive showcase.
“It was a must win, we are trying to get on a win streak and we want to protect our home field,” senior linebacker James Burgess said.
Bounce back: After being shredded for 500 yards of total offense last week against Florida State, the Cardinal defense bounced back and put together their best performance in 2015. Louisville held Boston College to 79 yards of total offense. Led by Burgess with 10 tackles, the Cardinal defense finished with seven sacks and 14 tackles for a loss. The Cardinals held the Eagles to minus-14 yards rushing on 30 rushing attempts.
“The thing I’m most pleased with is how our defense came back from last week,” head coach Bobby Petrino said. “Better effort, our team played extremely fast and hard. We dominated and that was what we needed.”
Lock Down: Coming in the with nation’s top defense and 121st worst offense, Boston College was a tale of two sides of the ball. The Eagles (3-5) had 16 tackles for a loss and held Louisville to 367 of total yards.
Miscues: Leading 17-7 in the third quarter, Louisville couldn’t put Boston College away. The Eagles returned a Jeremy Smith fumble for 34 yards and punched in an eight yard run a few plays later to cut the deficit to 17-14. Boston College’s first half touchdown came from a blocked punt.
302: Early in the second quarter, cornerback Trumaine Washington sacked Boston College quarterback Jeff Smith and forced a fumble. Defensive end Sheldon Rankins picked up the fumble and rumbled in for a 46 yard touchdown to give Louisville a 14-0 lead. The 6-foot-2, 302 pound senior’s touchdown was Louisville’s first fumble recovery for a score since Preston Brown in 2013 against Memphis.
“It rolled my way, I picked it u and had fun with it,” Rankins said. “Some natural running back ability came out.”
Backfield Bonnafon: Reggie Bonnafon led Louisville’s first scoring drive in the first quarter while playing running back. The sophomore had 33 yards rushing and a five yard reception on the seven play 48 yard drive that was capped off by a four yard touchdown run by Jackson. Bonnafon finished with 56 yards on 10 carries.
QB 1: Lamar Jackson started for the fourth consecutive game, completing 15 of 25 passes for 230 yards. The freshman quarterback also ran for 15 yards on 14 carries. With nine seconds left before halftime, Jackson threw an interception when he tried to find a streaking James Quick covered by two defenders. Jackson’s second interception came after he completed four consecutive passes early in the fourth quarter. On a fade pattern in the end zone, Boston College cornerback Isaac Yidom picked off Jackson’s pass.
After the game, Petrino said he did not consider replacing Jackson at any point.
What’s Next: Louisville travels to Winston-Salem to face Wake Forest on Friday night.