Louisville was held to 234 total yards and their lowest point total of the Scott Satterfield era, as the Cardinals (1-4, 0-4 ACC) fell to fourth-ranked Notre Dame (4-0, 3-0) 12-7.
Despite holding a ranked opponent to its lowest point total since 2006, the Cardinals were unable to get much of anything going offensively. The seven points is the lowest for the Cardinals since September 2018, and extends their current losing streak to four games.
Notre Dame started the game with a really efficient first quarter, in terms of possession. The Irish held the ball for 12:43 and ran 25 plays in the opening frame, versus Louisville’s five and 2:17 of possession. But Louisville held Notre Dame to two field goals in the opening quarter, as sacks by Chandler Jones and Monty Montgomery led to third down stops. Jonathan Doerer hit field goals of 32 and 30 yards for the Irish, giving them a 6-0 lead after the first quarter.
Neither team scored points in the second quarter. Notre Dame did have a late drive reach the red zone, but missed on a potential touchdown throw on third and nine, and failed to convert a fake field goal on fourth down.
Louisville’s following drive started at their own six-yard line, and after a 28-yard run by Javian Hawkins, the Cardinals eventually found themselves inside Notre Dame territory. However, James Turner’s 52-yard field goal bounced off the goalpost and out, leaving the Cardinals scoreless at halftime. Notre Dame finished the first half with 21:57 of TOP versus Louisville’s 8:03, running 42 plays to Louisville’s 20.
The Cardinals made up for its lack of ball control in the first half with a lengthy touchdown drive to open the second half. Louisville put together a 13-play, 83-yard drive that culminated in a one yard touchdown pass from Malik Cunningham to Marshon Ford, taking a 7-6 lead.
Louisville then attempted an onside kick and recovered it, but video review overturned the recovery after an illegal blocking penalty was assessed on the Cardinals. That allowed Notre Dame to get the ball on their next drive, leading to a 13-yard touchdown run by Ian Book. A failed two point attempt kept the Irish lead to 12-7.
After punts on the next three drives, Notre Dame would close the game out with a 14-play drive that spanned the final 7:55 of the fourth quarter.
Notre Dame’s ball control was led by a stout running game, as the Irish had 232 rushing yards on 49 carries (4.7 yards per carry). Kyren Williams led the team with 127 yards on 25 carries, with Ian Book (12 carries, 47 yards) scoring the lone touchdown on the ground for the Irish.
Louisville’s offense had just 95 yards rushing on 23 carries, with Javian Hawkins leading the team in rushing (15 carries, 51 yards) and receiving (five catches, 46 yards). Malik Cunningham completed 16-of-19 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown, throwing the lone score to Marshon Ford (three catches, 12 yards).
The Cardinals defense put together its best outing of the season, holding the Irish to 339 total yards and tallying four sacks. Monty Montgomery was responsible for two of the four, raising his season total to four in 2020.
Louisville returns home next Saturday for a matchup with Florida State, taking place at noon.