Louisville, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville doesn’t want the Virginia game to become another Pittsburgh – an inexplicable loss in a game the universe expected the Cardinals to win.
Louisville 31, Virginia 24, any 7-point win is a tough 7-point win.
“Of all our wins, I’m proud of this one more than anything on our team,” U of L coach Jeff Brohm said.
For a team that’s now 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, it’s been a mess. It won’t win any style points with skeptics. It was marred by multiple penalties, a fumble, a missed field goal and dropped passes.
Virginia intercepted a Jack Plummer pass and returned it for a touchdown. A group of L fans actually screamed. 44,628 fans left before the end of the game. Dabo Swinney would call that fan behavior a title.
“It’s not pretty by any means,” Plummer said.
Louisville led by 17 points in the fourth quarter to lead 21-14. Plummer found a surging Ahmari Huggins-Bruce with a 52-yard touchdown pass.
Isaac Kurento delivered the winning touchdown, flashing through a modest hole on the right. He covered 73 yards in an astonishing 12 seconds.
“I think it’s a sign of a good team winning when things don’t go your way,” Plummer said. “Find it and find a way to win. I think it’s another step for us.”
In fact the outcome isn’t even the most important development of the evening. Virginia halfback Ferris Jones left L&N Cardinal Stadium on a stretcher to University Hospital with less than a minute to play in the third quarter.
Jones went down and stopped, lying motionless on the floor with his head down after colliding with U of L safety Cam’Ron Kelly, a friend he practiced with Virginia last spring before transferring to Louisville.
After catching a soft pass in the right flat and then turning downfield, Jones fumbled on the collision. His teammate, Malik Washington, scooped up the ball and raced 42 yards for a touchdown.
Virginia scored 21 points in the third quarter to take a 21-14 lead. But before Washington reached the goal line, trainers and doctors from both teams ran onto the field to meet Jones. It’s more than just a hard, bad hit.
“I’m guessing maybe he put his head down or tried to go low and I went low and it was a collision,” Kelly said. “And I think the ball came out. It happened and I’m basically praying for him.
“When he was on the stretcher I told him my peace, nothing but love for him and I wish him a speedy recovery.”
The field fell silent as a library as Jones stayed on the turf for more than 10 minutes. Jones is a sixth-year senior who some have called the team’s renaissance man.
He plays the guitar. A poet. Jones was a significant part of a Virginia program that suffered tragedy last season after 3 football players were shot and killed on campus. Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the tragedy.
News of the night came 45 minutes after the game, with two University of Louisville sources saying Jones was alert and physically responsive, with word from the hospital.
On a night Louisville was expected to win by 20.5 points (their largest point spread against an FBS opponent this season) except for refusing to fade away after going to Virginia, the Cardinals didn’t look like a team that belonged in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. in front
That item — the ACC title game — now becomes a talking point, as Brohm takes his team to Miami a week from Saturday (Nov. 18) to earn a spot in the ACC final against Florida State.
A North Carolina loss to Duke on Saturday night would put the Cardinals in the title game, but only Louisville can stop Louisville now.
Virginia almost did it. But Brom’s team found it in the final 15 minutes. They allowed their first touchdown in over 163 minutes (2 1/2 games) 11 minutes into the third quarter.
Then Plummer hit a big six. Virginia then recovered a Jones fumble and scored. But in the fourth quarter, after managing just 14 points and 236 through the first three quarters, the Cards rolled to 187 yards and 17 points.
“We had two weeks where everything went well and we played as well as we could,” Brohm said. “Of course that’s what you always try to do…
“… But I pride myself on hanging in there when things aren’t going our way, playing to the end, making enough big plays to win and eventually finding a way to get some stops.”
“How Football Really Works.”
The Cards have 9 days to recover before playing the Hurricanes, who are 6-3 but have lost 3 of their last 5.
Miami beat Texas A&M and Clemson, but lost to North Carolina, as well as Georgia Tech and North Carolina State, a pair of teams that Louisville beat. Miami plays No. 4 Florida State on Saturday.
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