UofL FOOTBALL | Louisville smashes Wake Forest and is propelled into playoff picture
11/13/2016 12:55 AM
The game started at a snail’s pace, by design of Wake Forest, but a second half offensive explosion by the University of Louisville, propelled the Cards to a 44-12 victory over the Demon Deacons.
The 12 Wake Forest points were all from the first half, and were all field goals. The Cards lost three of their four first half fumbles, allowed costly third down conversions, and had trouble containing Wake Forest Quarterback John Wolford who rushed for 50 yards. The Demon Deacons also completely controlled possession in the first half and ultimately controlled the football over 38 minutes compared to Louisville’s 21.
The home team trailed 12-3 after two quarters, but the Cardinal offense exploded in the second half, scoring 41 unanswered points and racking up 363 total yards of offense. Senior running back Brandon Radcliff sparked the Louisville scoring by opening up a 55 yard run for a touchdown in the third quarter. From there he would go on to rush for three total touchdowns and 141 yards for the entire game.
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson was also guilty of a sluggish start but a fantastic second half. The sophomore heisman front-runner had two fumbles in the first half, lost one of them and was 4-for-9 throwing the ball for less than 50 yards. But the young team captain ended up with 298 yards of offense and passing touchdown to tight end Cole Hikutini to put Louisville up by four touchdowns.
The Cardinal defense was rock solid for the full 60 minutes. For being on the field nearly twice as long as the Louisville offense, the defense held Wake to only 214 yards of offense, and zero touchdowns, and forced two turnovers. Senior linebacker Devonte Fields had his best outing of the season. Fields and junior safety Chucky Williams each had nine total tackles, seven of them being solo tackles. But it was Fields who recorded three sacks in the performance, and had four tackles-for-loss.
The Cards win was even more important because of the results of games outside of Louisville. Clemson lost it’s home game tonight against ACC opponent Pittsburgh. That loss gave Louisville a half-game lead in the Atlantic Division standings. But the tigers have one more conference game to play and hold the head-to-head tie breaker over Louisville if they beat Wake Forest next weekend. That tiebreaker would propel Clemson into the ACC title game over U of L.
Louisville entered tonight’s contest ranked sixth on the latest college football playoff rankings and needed certain teams to lose if they want to find themselves in contention for a national title. Well, three of the five teams ranked higher than them lost on Saturday. Number two Clemson lost to the aforementioned Pitt, third-ranked Michigan fell to Iowa, and fourth ranked Washington was beaten by Southern California. That leaves plenty of room for Louisville and fifth-ranked Ohio State to enter the top-4.
Louisville took care of its business, and needed some college football chaos to give them a shot at making the playoffs.