(Photo of Mike Palmer, Dez Fitzpatrick: Jamie Rhodes/USA TODAY Sports)
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Hitting the road for the final time during the 2020 regular season, old habits continue to die hard for Louisville, as the Cardinals fell to Boston College 34-27 despite a large amount of production from a pair of offensive playmakers.
Quarterback Malik Cunningham finished with a career high in total offensive, accumulating 294 through the air on 19-31 passing and 133 on the ground on 17 attempts, for 427 total, as well as a pair of touchdowns.
His favorite target on the night was unquestionably Dez Fitzpatrick, as the wide receiver hauled in a career-high 182 yards on eight receptions. Jalen Mitchell, who was the newly-christened running back following the news of Maurice Burkley having to miss the remainder of the season, finished with 44 yards on 44 rushes.
But unfortunately, as has been the case all season long with Louisville, turnovers continued to rear their ugly head. Heading into the game having lost 21 turnovers, the second-most in the country, the Cardinals added three more to that ledger. Two of them in turn led to 10 points off turnovers for Boston College, proving to be the difference maker as Louisville out-gained them 493-435.
The Eagles, who normally rely on the arm of quarterback Phil Jurkovic to lead their offense, found a lot of their success on the ground. BC finished with 188 rushing yards, although Jurkovic did manage 203 passing yards before exiting due to injury.
James Turner's 44-yard field goal cracked the scoreboard first, but then fumbles from Hassan Hall & Tutu Atwell led directly to a rushing score from BC's David Bailey and then a field goal from Aaron Boumerhi.
While Boston College would add another field goal before half, Louisville was fortunate that neither first-half BC kick turned into endzone trips. Despite being short starting nose tackle Jared Goldwire, who was declared unavailable for the game, the defensive front bent but did not break, forcing BC to settle for a pair of goal line field goals and not a pair of touchdowns.
Coupled with a 2-yard rushing score from Mitchell on Louisville's final first half drive, the Cards went into the half trailing by just a field goal instead of multiple scores.
Each team scored on their opening second half drive, a field goal for Louisville and another rushing score for Bailey, then momentum had a chance to swing the Cardinals' way. On Boston College's second drive of the half, starting Jurkovic was forced to exit the game due to injury, with backup Dennis Grosel coming in relief.
Instead of Louisville's defense capitalizing on the change at signal caller, Grosel proceeded to throw touchdowns on back-to-back drives. Fortunately, Louisville also did the same courtesy of a goal line score from Tutu Atwell and a 69-yard catch and run from Fitzpatrick.
After the defense rallied to give the offense one last shot, old issues came back to haunt. A Cunningham throw was batted at the line of scrimmage, allowing BC defensive lineman Shtta Sillah to intercept it and ice the game.
Due to scheduling rearrangements around the ACC because of COVID-19, Louisville now heads into two bye weeks in a row. The Cardinals will then host the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Cardinal Stadium for their final game of the 2020 regular season and home finale. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 18, with a kickoff time yet to be determined.
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