By Derek DeBurger

The Cards now sit alone in second place in the ACC when they took care of business at home against the Virginia Tech Hokies Saturday afternoon.

Louisville proved once again that they have elite depth on the roster; starting cornerback Jarvis Brownlee and star wide receiver Jamari Thrash were ruled out before the game started, and star running back Jawhar Jordan, starting left tackle Willie Tyler, and center Bryon Hudson were all game-time decisions.

Despite the roster limitations, the Cards jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. After stopping the Hokies offense—one that had been firing on all cylinders—on their first drive, the Cards marched down the field and scored an opening drive touchdown.

After another defensive stop, the Cards took advantage of the momentum with a 39-yard touchdown from running back Isaac Guerendo. A drive later saw a 60-yard touchdown run from Guerendo get called back on a holding call that would’ve brought the lead to 21-0. The Cards were forced to kick a field goal but missed. The Hokies would then take the field position and kick a field goal right before the half to go to the locker rooms down 14-3.

That field goal would be the only ounce of momentum that Tech would hold in the game, as the Cards would come out in the second half the way they have almost all season long.

A wide shot of L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium

Quarterback Jack Plummer would throw a 37-yard touchdown to wide receiver Jadon Thompson early on in the third quarter to take a 21-3 lead. This score is just the first touchdown of the season for Thompson, and it would be the only touchdown through the air for the Cards on the day. The offense would lean heavily on the running game, but Plummer still had an extremely efficient game going 11-for-12 passing with 141 yards and one touchdown before getting benched in the fourth for backup Brock Domann.

On defense, the Cards held opposing quarterback Kyron Drones to just 69 yards through the air and one interception. Tech’s leading rusher, running back Bhayshul Tuten, was held to just 57 yards as the Hokies were forced to become one-dimensional on offense to try and cut into their deficit.

Isaac Guerendo had a career day, with 146 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries. He helped the Cards wrap this game by the start of the fourth quarter, as head coach Jeff Brohm subbed in all the backups with just under seven minutes left in the game. The Cards came away with the win 34-3, and it was never close.

With such a resounding victory, the Cards improved to 8-1 on the season and 5-1 in the ACC, one step closer to the first ACC title game in program history. Such a convincing win, too, should help to sell Louisville to the Playoff Selection Committee as the Cards still have an outside chance at making the Playoffs this year.

There’s no other way to make it out in a special season for the Cards in Brohm’s first year as head coach.

Photo Courtesy // Taris Smith, Rachel Klotz, U of L Athletics