This one goes belongs to the Louisville Defense. No question the Cardinals defense played like it had to. It is probably going to have to be that way the rest of the season. The offense continues to make mistakes. Fumbles, interceptions. False starts (five).
Louisville (3-4, 1-2) squeezed out a 17-14 win over Boston College at PJCS, Saturday.
It was all defense especially in the second half. “The thing I’m most pleased with is how our defense came back,” said coach Bobby Petrino. “They came put played fast and physical….The kids executed – we put a lot of pressure on them.”
Play after play the defense kept making stops, making plays. The Cardinals looked shaky and lackluster last seek while giving up 35 points second half points in a collapse at Florida State last week.
“Coming off last week guys had to step up,” said defensive end Sheldon Rankins who scored a touchdown on a 46 fumble return in the first half. “We may not be a better defense than Boston College but today we knew we had to be a better defense than them.”
Statistically BC (3-5, 0-5) was ranked No. 1 nationally in allowing just 196.3 yards per game and 51.7 rushing yards per contest.
“That was ugly,” said Petrino of the win. “Our (defense) played extremely fast and they played hard. Someone told me that we held them to 71 yards. Now that’s not the best offense we’ve faced all year, and they’ve had they’re had their issues all year, but we dominated them.”
Things looked all good for the Cardinals leading 17-7 at halftime. A blocked punt recovered by BC’s Eliijah Robinson who scored from on a 12 yard run with 4:37 gave the Eagles a score. The Cardinals drove right down the field when John Wallace kicked a 34 yard field goal. It stayed that way until BC really put a scare a crowd of 41,486 on a rainy cloudy day.
Louisville’s Jeremy Smith fumbled at his own 40 and Harold Landry returned it to the Cards six. On second down quarterback Jeff Smith scored from eight yards and it was crunch time.
“I felt we could come out and score a couple of times in the second half and finish the game,” said Petrino. “But instead, we gave them points on the board and really made it a close one. I was nervous about our defense because I felt they (Boston College) played well against Clemson – they ran the ball well, they made some plays, they got in the end zone. But our defense did a great job and came up with huge plays.”
The most glaring statistics in the game were the sacks. The Cardinals had eight for 53 yards in BC losses. BC sacked Louisville seven times losses of 62 yards.
“I should have made the right decisions,” said Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson who had two interceptions as the Cards turned it over four times. “I was trying but at the same time I could have been better…and those turnovers were not good.”
Jackson had 14 rushes for 52 yards and was 15 for 25 passing for 230 yards.
As a matter of fact Louisville out-gained the Eagles 365 yards to 79.
“Coming off last week we had to step up,” said Rankins. “This was a defensive game and we just had to keep plugging. Statistically coming in they are the best defense, No. 1. But today we had to be the better defense and I think we did that.”
Now Louisville can take the momentum from the win with a Friday night game at Wake Forest (3-5) who lost at North Carolina State, 35-17,Saturday.
“They made plays when the pressure was on,” said Petrino. “We put a lot of pressure on our defense and they responded.”
On the other hand the offense continues to be a work in progress.
“To throw that interception in the end zone really hurt- because we didn’t even get a field goal down there. We need our offense to come back like our defense did this week.”
Another chance comes Friday.
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