LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Brandon Radcliff ran for two touchdowns and 129 yards and the Louisville defense held firm in Saturday's ugly 20-10 win over Wake Forest.
Listed fourth on the depth chart, Radcliff's first career 100-yard effort on 17 carries was much needed as Louisville (4-1, 2-1 ACC) overcame three lost fumbles and 11 penalties. The Cardinals defense kept Wake Forest (2-3, 0-1) to minus-22 yards rushing and had three takeaways, setting up both touchdowns. Louisville also had eight sacks.
Wake Forest scored first on Mike Weaver's 43-yard field goal late in the first quarter and retook the lead at 10-7 with 8:32 remaining in the third quarter following nose tackle Tylor Harris's fumble recovery in the Louisville end zone for a touchdown.
Radcliff's 16-yard score with less than 12 minutes left followed his 29-yard second-quarter touchdown.
Fourth-quarter field goals of 31 and 34 yards from kicker John Wallace sealed the Louisville win in front of the crowd of 51,463. Averaging 38 points a game and heavily favored to win, it's not a game Louisville coach Bobby Petrino will cherish. But it still counts.
''We'll take it. It was a struggle,'' Petrino said.
In a game noted for the oddity of having two true freshmen start at quarterback, the two defenses provided most of the day's dramatic moments.
Louisville's two second-quarter interceptions in its own territory stopped Wake Forest from getting out to a clear lead.
Safety Gerod Holliman snagged a tipped pass and returned it to the Wake Forest 29 before Wallace missed a 46-yard field goal attempt when the drive stalled. It was Holliman's fifth interception in the last three games and his sixth on the season to lead the nation.
The Demon Deacons managed only 100 total yards on the day and missed their only red zone scoring opportunity when Louisville linebacker James Burgess intercepted John Wolford's pass in the end zone with 6:25 left before halftime. Burgess fumbled but Louisville avoided disaster as Andrew Johnson recovered for a touchback.
Reggie Bonnafon started Louisville's first sustained drive of the day with a 33-yard pass along the sideline to Radcliff. Radcliff capped the 80-yard scoring drive four plays later with a 29-yard touchdown run, giving Louisville a 7-3 lead with 3:55 left before halftime.
''When your number is called, you just have to come out and capitalize on it,'' Radcliff said.
It was Bonnafon's first start, replacing an injured Will Gardner. Bonnafon returned to the team Sunday after missing last week's win at Florida International following the unexpected death of his father. He finished 16 of 32 for 206 yards and ran 14 times for 71 yards. There were moments of promise but also of confusion as a bad exchange led to a running back Dominique Brown's fumble on the opening drive. Bonnafon also bobbled a shotgun snap that Wake Forest recovered and was stripped for the Demon Deacons only touchdown.
Wake Forest had eight tackles for loss, four sacks and all its points came off turnovers to keep the chance alive for a win in first-year coach Dave Clawson's ACC debut. But they struggled again to gain yards on the ground, entering with 42 yards rushing a game.