By Weston Payne —
Football (2-9, 0-8) extended their losing streak to eight games by falling to conference foe NC State (8-3, 5-3). The 52-10 defeat continues the disappointing narrative for Louisville despite a slight increase in energy and positivity after the termination of head coach Bobby Petrino.
“It started off positive, but we shot ourselves in the foot with penalties,” interim coach Lorenzo Ward said. “The fans did their part. We need to do ours.”
Their loss to the Wolfpack makes U of L the first ACC team to post a winless season since Boston College in 2015, and gives the Cardinals their first winless conference season since 1997. With no shot at a bowl game, they are playing for game-time experience this point in the season.
NC State moved the ball consistently throughout the contest, using spread formations to extend Louisville’s defense. The Pack quarterback, Ryan Finley, took advantage with 26-for-36 passing for 316 yards and four touchdowns.
U of L quarterback, freshman Malik Cunningham, made effective plays with his legs to give his team a fighting chance in the first half. Continued penalties and turnovers prevented them from getting scores.
Cunningham finished with 90 passing yards, 100 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. He exited the fourth quarter due to injury and NC State emerged victorious with a final score of 52-10.
The Cardinal defense started strong by forcing a punt. Cunningham and the offense used the opportunity to move the ball into scoring position.
The Wolfpack held their ground in the red zone and forced a 32-yard field goal from Louisville junior Blanton Creque.
NC State’s second drive proved more effective than the first. Finley marched the offense 76 yards down the field and used a 25-yard touchdown pass for a 7-3 lead.
After back-to-back punts from U of L, Finley led the Wolfpack downfield once again. They settled for a 23-yard field goal and increased the lead to 10-3.
A 32-yard rush from freshman running back Hassan Hall put the Cards deep in opposing territory. A holding penalty brought them back, then Creque’s 36-yard field goal attempt was wide.
This was Louisville’s last true drive of the game and the failed attempt took the wind from their sails.
“We came out with energy in the first half…you have to play four quarters,” senior Jaylen Smith said.
The Cardinals had back-to-back fumbles to start the second-half, one of which was recovered by NC State and later followed by a touchdown.
The Wolfpack continued running the home team in the second half and dumped a 52-10 loss on U of L.
Football hosts No. 17 Kentucky on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. in the annual battle for the Governor’s Cup.
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Photos by Nancy Hanner / The Louisville Cardinal