What weird, wild ride 2020 has been for Louisville Football. After a tumultuous couple of weeks, Louisville rolled into the final game of the 2020 season looking to send our wonderful seniors out on a winning note. It was a fitting way to end a wacky season; playing on December 12th in 60 degree weather and winning a game by winning the turnover battle.
The Cards have been one of the worst teams in terms of turnover margin in 2020. Meanwhile, Wake Forest was one of the best, with only one turnover over the entire 2020 campaign. However, the Cards turned the turnover battle, well, over; having forced two while having none. Despite a rough start, Louisville managed to get things going and ended up blowing out the Demon Deacons 45-21.
Louisville was led on the ground by redshirt freshman Jalen Mitchell, who rushed for 168 yards. This included a big 70 yard run that set up the touchdown that gave Louisville the lead they would not relinquish the rest of the game. Malik Cunningham played one of his better games this season. The redshirt junior completed 16 of his 22 passes for 195 yards and 2 TDs. He contributed on the ground with 38 yards and a TD as well. Hassan Hall had 27 yards rushing, but also scored 2 TDs. In the receiving department, Dez Fitzpatrick had a great game in his final appearance in a Cardinal uniform. Though he wasn’t able to find the end zone, he did lead the team in receptions with 6 and in receiving yards with 77. The TE position contributed big time with Marshon Ford and Francis Sherman, who filled in for Ean Pfeifer, each catching a TD. Braden Smith, taking over for the beloved Tutu Atwell, had maybe his best game since the opener with 3 receptions for 53 yards, including picking up a critical first down late in the game.
Defensively, the seniors definitely showed out. Tabarius Peterson was a terror all game with 8 total tackles, a tackle for loss, and a sack. Rodjay Burns played excellently in his possible final home game for his hometown team. He recorded 11 total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Marlon Character record 7 total tackles, a tackle for loss, and broke up two passes. Monty Montgomery had 5 total tackles, a pass breakup, and picked off a Hartman pass for one of Louisville’s two forced turnovers. The senior linebackers Dorian Etheridge and CJ Avery played very well. Avery had 10 total tackles while Etheridge had 7 and broke up a pass.
Louisville desperately needed this win. They needed momentum heading into the off season and they needed to send a senior class that had endured so much turmoil out with a victory. The fact they were missing three starting offensive linemen and numerous key contributors and starters at other positions yet still came a way with a resounding victory is remarkable. So many young players, such as Jordan Watkins with a 23-yard TD run and Lovie Jenkins with 4 total tackles and a huge tackle on a screen pass in the 3rd quarter, showed why the future is bright for the program. It was a great victory that sent the seniors out on a high note and gave the fans glimpses of what could be a great future.
Below, you can see the aftermath of the Cardinals big victory to close out the season. Check out postgame quotes and pressers, game highlights, and the locker room celebration.