Georgia Tech overcame a 27-26 deficit to start the fourth quarter by scoring 20 unanswered points, all of which came in the final 8:40, as the Yellow Jackets (2-2, 2-1 ACC) took a 46-27 win over Louisville (1-3, 0-3) on Friday night.
Louisville is now 1-3 through the first four games for the first time since 2015. They have only made bowl games on two occasions when starting 1-3, though have not made one when starting conference play 0-3 (h/t Kelly Dickey).
Louisville has never gone to a bowl after starting 0-3 in conference play (1915, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1938, 1964, 1966, 1997, 2009, 2018), but it has gone to a bowl twice after starting with a 1-3 overall record (1970, 2015).
— Kelly Dickey (@RealCardGame) October 10, 2020
Despite allowing 471 total yards of offense, Georgia Tech was able to capitalize on three turnovers by Louisville. The Yellow Jackets recovered three fumbles in the game, all of which led to touchdowns on subsequent drives.
That is how Georgia Tech got its first points of the game. Louisville’s opening drive ended in a lost fumble from Hassan Hall, leading to a Georgia Tech drive that was capped off with a 12-yard touchdown run by Jahmyr Gibbs.
Louisville rebounded with arguably its best stretch of football since the season opener against WKU. The Cardinals scored 21 unanswered points to take a 21-7 lead with 1:32 left in the second quarter. Malik Cunningham put on a hat trick with three first half touchdowns, two by air and one on the ground. The junior connected on a three-yard score to Marshon Ford, and a 26-yard strike over the middle to Tutu Atwell. Cunningham sandwiched those touchdown passes with a two-yard run in between.
Georgia Tech would recover some momentum on their final drive of the first half. Jeff Sims connected with Jahmyr Gibbs on a screen pass that went 41 yards; this led to a touchdown pass from Ahmarean Brown to Jalen Camp, coming on an end-around throw on first-and-goal.
Both teams would trade punts to start the second half, then Georgia Tech scored the first touchdown on a three-yard run by Jamious Griffin. A blocked extra point attempt kept Louisville’s lead to 21-20.
A fumble recovery on Louisville’s ensuing kickoff return gave Georgia Tech another touchdown drive. Jeff Sims gave the Yellow Jackets the lead on a 22-yard touchdown run, but a failed two point attempt only gave GT a 26-21 lead.
The Cardinals retook the lead on the following drive, as Malik Cunningham scored his fourth total touchdown on an 11-yard run. The 12-play drive also saw the Cardinals miss on a two-point attempt, making it a 27-26 lead going into the fourth quarter.
After Georgia Tech punted the ball early in the fourth quarter, Javian Hawkins fumbled the ball away and gave the Yellow Jackets another possession near midfield. Much like the previous two fumbles, Georgia Tech scored a touchdown, as Sims found Gibbs over the middle on a 19-yard pass that saw Gibbs hurdle defenders on his way to the endzone.
Louisville’s final two possessions would end on a punt and turnover on downs, while Georgia Tech added two more touchdowns.
Malik Cunningham accounted for all four of Louisville’s touchdowns, two passes and runs scored each. The junior finished 19/33 for 229 yards passing, with 14 carries for 50 yards. Javian Hawkins also had 26 carries for 155 yards, his second game of over 150 yards this season. Marshon Ford led the team with five receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown.
However, nine penalties and three fumbles lost sunk Louisville on a night where they accumulated 471 total yards. Those three fumbles also led directly to Georgia Tech touchdowns, ultimately determining the outcome.
Jeff Sims put together his best outing in his brief true freshman campaign, completing 11/21 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns (also getting 64 yards on nine carries with a rushing touchdown). The Yellow Jackets did not allow a sack and only allowed two tackles for loss. Antonneous Clayton had two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss, both coming in crucial stretches during the second half as Georgia Tech managed to pull away.
Louisville ends its three game road trip with a visit to Notre Dame on Saturday. The game will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.