After what many considered to be a sub par performance against Duke last week, the Louisville football team bounced back in impressive fashion. The Cardinals thumped the Wolfpack from the opening snap and never looked back. The final score read Louisville 54-N.C. State 13, and it could’ve been worse had it not been for a scoreless 3rd quarter from the Cards.
Louisville jumped out to a quick lead when Lamar Jackson ran for a 36-yard touchdown with just over a minute and a half gone on the clock. N.C. State’s first drive did not have the same ending, though it was a quick one. On the first play of the drive, Truman Washington intercepted Ryan Finley’s pass and returned it to the Wolfpack 29, the Cards would only get a Blanton Creque field goal off the turnover. A few drives later and the Cards added to their 1st quarter lead with a 74-yard catch and run from Lamar Jackson to Jaylen Smith. It seemed the Cards couldn’t look any better than they did in the 1st quarter, then I found myself looking up at the scoreboard at halftime and reading 44-0. Louisville had scored 27 points in the 2nd quarter, but it was unreal how easy they made it look. The second half wasn’t as exciting offensively and aside from the 70-yard touchdown pass from N.C. State in the 3rd quarter and the long drive the Wolfpack put together before that which consisted of a 4th down conversion and a defensive Unsportsmanlike Conduct, the defense pitched a near-perfect game.
If the scoreboard isn’t dominant enough, look at the stats. Louisville outgained N.C. State in total yards 553 to 250, in rushing 163 to 14, and in passing 390-236. Louisville had 24 first downs to N.C. State’s 9, the Cards had the ball longer and won the turnover battle 3-2. Lamar continued his Heisman season and proved any analyst wrong if they didn’t have him as their Heisman favorite after the win against Duke last week. Lamar had 355 yards passing while completing 20 of his 34 passes for 3 touchdowns, to add to that already impressive stat line he had 76 yards on the ground on 17 carries. Jeremy Smith got the majority of the workload for the running backs, he finished with 51 yards on 14 carries and 2 touchdowns, while Brandon Radcliff only had 17 yards on 5 carries. Cole Hikutini added to his All-ACC resumé with another monster performance of 6 receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown, Jaylen Smith continued his quiet but really impressive season with 2 receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. Even though it didn’t count (bush league offensive pass interference call) let’s take a minute to appreciate that Seth Dawkins one-handed catch. The true freshman made an acrobatic move around the defender and snagged the ball out of thin air, only to be negated by a soft pass interference call. The defense proved itself again this week, intercepting 3 passes and smothering the Wolfpack offense.
For everyone who said the playoff hope was shot last week, think again. Texas A&M got beat down by Bama, and OSU got beat by Penn State, Houston got torn apart by SMU (doesn’t help our case, just stating the obvious), crazy things will continue to happen and there is still a lot of season to be played. Enjoy where we are and always be supportive of where we came from. This program is in a great position, better than most, playoff chance, Heisman frontrunner, the recently 4th ranked best College Football Head Coach, and the athletic director who celebrated his 19th anniversary with the school just this past week. There is a lot to be proud of and a lot to be excited for, keep it all in perspective.