Last November, Miami averaged 8.2 yards per play, and had three of its six passing touchdowns go for 25+ yards as they took a 52-27 win over Louisville.
Ten months later, the Hurricanes and the Cardinals fought in a rematch at Cardinal Stadium. More or less, the result was similar. #17 Miami (2-0, 1-0 ACC) averaged 8.1 yards per play for the game, and had three touchdowns of 45+ yards in the second half to pull away with a 47-34 win over #18 Louisville (1-1, 0-1 ACC).
Miami was forced to punt on their opening drive, leading to Louisville’s opening drive that saw the Cardinals take a 3-0 lead on James Turner’s 40-yard field goal.
The Hurricanes would answer with back-to-back touchdowns on their next two drives. A 17-yard touchdown pass from D’Eriq King to Will Mallory, followed by a three-yard scoring run by Jaylan Knighton put the Hurricanes ahead 14-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Louisville had a chance to answer Miami’s second touchdown with a deep drive into Miami territory, but missed a chance at a touchdown when Malik Cunningham couldn’t connect with Ian Pfeifer on third-and-goal. The Cardinals had to settle for a 22-yard field goal from Turner, cutting Miami’s lead to 14-6.
Two deep field goals by Miami would push the Hurricanes lead to 20-6 at halftime. Jose Borregales connected on kicks of 48 and 57 yards on back-to-back drives, the latter tying Miami’s school record for the longest field goal made (and also the longest made in Cardinal Stadium history).
Louisville, however, would be unable to add any more points in the first half. The Cardinals went three-and-out after Borregales’s first field goal of the second quarter, aided by a 13-yard sack by Jared Harrison-Hunte on second-and-one. Their final three drives in the second quarter would end on a failed fourth down (another sack by Bradley Jennings, Jr.), an interception, and a lost fumble to end the first half.
Despite the stumbles to end the first half, Louisville’s offense was clicking in the second. The Cardinals scored 28 second-half points, aided by touchdowns on back-to-back drives in the third quarter. Louisville opened with a seven-play drive that was capped off by a 19-yard touchdown run by Javian Hawkins, one that saw the redshirt sophomore run right, reverse field and score from the left side. Micale Cunningham also found Tutu Atwell on a six-yard touchdown pass on Louisville’s next drive.
But after both Louisville touchdowns, Miami scored on one-play drives. The first came on a 75-yard run by Cam’Ron Harris, as he bounced outside the right tackle and ran untouched until he dove at the pylon. Jaylan Knighton then broke loose on a 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown after a broken assignment by Louisville left him wide open down the right side. A 22-yard field goal by Borregales put Miami ahead 37-20 at the end of the third.
Borregales would hit another field goal from 40 yards out early in the fourth quarter, extending Miami’s lead to 40-20 with 10:58 left.
Louisville cut the lead to 40-27 after Cunningham found Marshon Ford on a four-yard touchdown pass with 7:04 left.
A failed onside kick attempt put Miami in Louisville territory on their next drive, leading to another touchdown as King hit Brevin Jordan on a wide open go route over the middle. That capped off a second half where the Hurricanes did not punt the ball once, and had only one three-and-out drive for the game.
Louisville would score its final touchdown on a 19-yard pass from Cunningham to Atwell, cutting the deficit to 47-34. They would recover the following onside kick, but a sack strip by Zach McCloud gave the Hurricanes the ball to close out the game.
Miami’s offense was effective for most of the night, led by a sterling performance from quarterback D’Eriq King. The Houston transfer averaged 10.8 yards per attempt, completing 18-of-30 passes for 325 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Cam’Ron Harris had another 100-yard game on the ground, tallying 134 on just nine carries (including a 75-yard scoring run on Miami’s first play of the second half). Tight end Brevin Jordan turned in a solid performance that reminded everyone why he is one of the best tight ends in college football, reeling in seven catches for 120 yards with a touchdown.
Louisville did outgain Miami 516-485, but three turnovers and 4-of-14 on third downs doomed the Cardinals in an offensive shootout. Malik Cunningham completed 26-of-36 passes for 307 yards with three touchdowns, and one interception. Two of those touchdowns went to Tutu Atwell, who led the team in receptions (eight) and yards (114) in the contest. Dez Fitzpatrick also had a solid outing with seven receptions for 74 yards, with tight end Marshon Ford (three receptions, 14 yards) also scoring a touchdown. Javian Hawkins averaged 6.1 yards per carry on the night, with 27 carries for 164 yards.
Louisville now heads on the road for the first time next weekend, taking on the Pitt Panthers in Heinz Field. The Cards and Panthers will square off Saturday at noon on the ACC Network.