After a big win over Duke last weekend, Virginia football fell short Saturday afternoon, losing to Louisville at Cardinal Stadium. The Cavaliers (5-3, 3-2 ACC) lost to the Cardinals (5-3, 3-2 ACC) by a margin of 28 to 21.
Virginia jumped out to an early lead, going into the second half with a 14-7 advantage. However, the Cavaliers failed to score again until the fourth quarter, while the Cardinals scored three consecutive touchdowns. With Pittsburgh and Duke falling this weekend, Virginia missed the opportunity to take a commanding lead at the top of the ACC Coastal division.
The Virginia defense made a statement early as back-to-back Cavalier sacks forced Louisville to turn the ball over on downs on the game’s opening drive. Sophomore running back Wayne Taulapapa powered his way into the endzone on Virginia’s ensuing drive as the Cavaliers scored in the first quarter for the first time in four weeks.
The Cardinals responded immediately with a 77-yard touchdown play off a quick shovel pass. Virginia’s response was cut short after senior quarterback Bryce Perkins was sidelined due to a right knee injury.
Three punts and a missed field goal later, Taulapapa was back in the endzone with his second score of the game. Virginia’s next trip to the red zone wasn’t nearly as successful as Perkins’ errant pass was picked off by Louisville to close out the first half.
At the half, the two teams were evenly matched statistically, with Virginia holding a slight 14-7 lead.
Louisville forced a three-and-out from Virginia to open the second half before the Cardinals put together a long 89-yard drive capped off by a touchdown run. On the same drive, senior linebacker Jordan Mack — Virginia’s leader in sacks — was ejected for a targeting foul.
After the two teams traded punts, the Cardinals capitalized on a Cavalier fumble and took their first lead of the game with a 25-yard touchdown run from sophomore quarterback Micale Cunningham.
Louisville extended its lead late in the fourth quarter with yet another touchdown, taking a two-score lead with minutes left in the game.
Virginia’s late touchdown was in vain as the Cardinals held on for the 28-21 win.
On offense, Perkins threw for 233 yards with one touchdown and an interception. The Cavaliers also gave up a fumble as turnovers proved costly for Virginia.
Virginia’s usually stout defense was torched on the ground as freshman running back Javian Hawkins and Cunningham combined for 233 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns between them.
The Cavaliers next travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. to play divisional rival North Carolina Nov. 2. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.