By Cole Emery–
The No. 24 Louisville Cardinals lost a hard fought game 23-20 to the No. 21 Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field Sept. 26. The Panthers eleven more time of possession minutes on offense made a big impact on the outcome of the victory.
After missing every field goal of the year up to this point, the Panthers (3-0, 2-0) first two possessions ended in field goals made by redshirt senior Alex Kessman. They had the first touchdown of the game with an eight yard pass from senior Kenny Pickett to freshman Jordan Addison.
Despite being held to a punt on the first two possessions of the game, redshirt sophomore Javian Hawkins broke off for a 75 yard rushing touchdown on the first offensive play after the Panthers touchdown with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
With 7:33 left in the second quarter, Jared Goldwire for the Cardinals (1-2, 0-2) recovered a fumble after junior Yasir Abdullah forced a fumble while Pickett attempted a pass over the middle. On the second play after the turnover, redshirt junior Malik Cunningham threw a 21 yard touchdown to wide open junior Tutu Atwell in the endzone.
The Panthers matched the score during their next drive with a pass from Pickett to senior Taysir Mack for a 40 yard touchdown. Abdullah nearly tackled Mack, but further review showed Mack’s knee never touched the ground. The Panthers held a 20-17 lead over the Cardinals into halftime.
After only one field goal from each team during the third quarter, senior C.J. Avery intercepted a pass from Pickett and set up the Cardinals at the opponents 45 yard line during the first drive of the fourth quarter. On the very next play, Cunningham threw an interception to senior Damar Hamlin, setting up the Panthers at mid-field.
After the Cardinals defense stopped a fourth down conversion and forced a punt on their next two drives, Louisville’s offense was set up at their own 17 yard line with 2:35 left in the game down three points. Cunningham threw an interception on a fourth down play with 1:20 left in the game and was carted off the field after an injury, but gave a thumbs up to his teammates as he left the field.
The Cardinals will face off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Friday, Oct. 9 at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Photo Courtesy of ACC Media