By Beau Kilpatrick–
The No. 7 Louisville Cardinals moved to 6-1 on the year after the win over NC State Wolfpack at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Entering the game, the Wolfpack held an ACC-leading rush defense, only allowing 95.3 yards per game. The Cardinals have the top-ranked rushing attack in the nation. Something had to give, and it did.
Louisville led NC State 44-0 at halftime. The Cardinals scored at will in the first half, accumulating 390 offensive yards. The U of L defense held the Wolfpack to only 54 yards and two first downs. The defense also forced three interceptions.
The Cardinal defense suffocated against the Wolfpack. Special teams pinned the Wolfpack deep in their own territory multiple times inside the five-yard line. Keith Kelsey led the defense with eight tackles. Chucky Williams and Stacy Thomas followed with six. Thomas, Jonathon Greenard and Trumain Washington each had an interception. Linebacker Henry Famurewa recorded Louisville’s only sack.
The second half afforded NC State opportunities to score against the Cards defense. The Cardinals also allowed a 70-yard touchdown pass. The Wolfpack took advantage of a Louisville fumble on a kickoff return, scoring on the short field opportunity.
The front seven for the Cards disrupted NC State through the entire first half and for the majority of the second. U of L’s secondary did not allow the Wolfpack receivers any space to adjust to the passes. The secondary’s stinginess made it difficult for NC State quarterbacks to get into any type of rhythm, including an open field tackle by Washington in the fourth quarter that denied a fourth down attempt by NC State’s offense.
The Cardinals defended their turf at PJCS with a dominant performance on all sides of the ball. The defense ranked fourth in the conference and No. 11 in the country before the NC State matchup. Louisville’s defense and special teams was too much for the Wolfpack. Kicker Blanton Creque scored 18 points alone, setting a new school record of points made by a kicker.
Louisville’s No.1 offense put up 553 total yards. Jackson was responsible for four touchdowns and Jeremy Smith rushed for two more.
Louisville’s dominant performance is exactly what they needed to remain in the conversation for the College Football Playoffs.
Photo by Laurel Slaughter / The Louisville Cardinal