Earlier in the week, James Burgess said the Cardinals were behind the eight-ball after an 0-3 start, but Louisville improved its position to 2-3 after the senior linebackers tackle on 4th and 1 sealed a 20-13 victory over previously undefeated NC State in Raleigh, North Carolina.
QB1: Lamar Jackson started for the second consecutive week, making him the first quarterback to do so for Louisville this year. The freshman completed 10 of 27 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown pass. Once again, Jackson’s running ability outlined his performance. He had 19 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown. Jackson’s touchdown came on a 68-yard run that gave Louisville a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. The touchdown run was set up after cornerback Trumaine Washington forced and recovered a fumble after a 48-yard reception by NC State receiver Jumichael Ramos.
Long drive: Jackson led one of most impressive drives of the season in second quarter, which ended with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Devonte Peete. The 13-play, 93-yard drive lasted for more than six minutes after starting on the Cardinals six-yard line. The touchdown drive gave Louisville a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Poor coverage: NC State responded after Louisville jumped out to a two score lead with a 90-yard kick return by Nyheim Hines. Inside the five yard line, NC State scored three plays later.
Dropped pass: The Cardinals had a great chance for another touchdown before halftime when Reggie Bonnafon found a wide open Charles Stanberry off of a play action on 3rd and 1. Stanberry dropped pass, but Louisville was bailed out by a roughing the passer penalty that resulted in a 36-yard field goal by John Wallace a few plays later.
:01: Head Coach Bobby Petrino called a timeout with four seconds left before halftime as NC State held the ball on their 19-yard line on 4th and 10. NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett attempted to run out the final four seconds by sliding to the ground, but it appeared his knee was down with one second left on the clock. If reviewed, Louisville would have had the ball on the 15-yard line with the potential to kick a field goal.
Turnover lift: NC State scored a touchdown on their second drive in the third quarter, but missed the extra point, cutting the Louisville lead to 17-13. The Cardinal offense struggled to gain any momentum in the third quarter, gaining just 17 yards on three possessions. But safety Chucky Williams recovered a fumble, which set up a seven-play, 36-yard drive ending with a 26-yard field goal by Wallace, giving Louisville a 20-13 lead.
Clock bleeder: Milking a one touchdown lead late in the fourth quarter, Petrino turned to Bonnafon to run down the clock. The Cardinals started on their own 20-yard line, but Brandon Radcliff, Jeremy Smith and Bonnafon moved the chains. In maybe the biggest third down of the season, Bonnafon picked up 12 yards on a 3rd and 9 to nearly seal the victory. NC State burned their remaining timeouts, and punter Josh Appleby landed a punt on the four yard line with 1:45 left in the game.
What’s next: Louisville heads into a bye week, sitting at 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the ACC. Louisville will face nationally-ranked Florida State on Oct. 17 in Tallahassee, Florida.