Recap: Louisville football outlasts Wake Forest


If there was any doubt Louisville football was built for shootouts, the Cardinals proved as much in a 62-59 victory over Wake Forest in Winston-Salem Oct. 12. The Cardinals defeated the 19th-ranked Demon Deacons for their second straight conference win and first victory over a ranked team since 2016.

The game got uncomfortable close after Louisville had a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter. Wake Forest scored two straight touchdowns aided by an onside kick recovery to close within three points. It took an onside recovery with 1:05 left for Louisville to completely seal the win. 

Evan Conley completed 12 of 18 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 79 yards and the game-clinching score with 2:15 left in the fourth quarter for Louisville. Dez Fitzpatrick had five receptions for 125 yards. 

Wake Forest finished with 668 yards of offense, but three turnovers allowed Louisville to build a lead. Jamie Newman completed 24 of 41 throws for 251 yards and three touchdowns before being removed in the fourth quarter due to injury. 

After the teams traded possessions to begin the game, Rodjay Burns forced a fumble that was recovered by Yasir Abdullah on the Wake Forest 28-yard-line. Javian Hawkins and the Cardinal offense quickly capitalized on the turnover.

Hawkins had four carries, one for 14 yards, to bring Louisville into the end zone. Hawkins’ 5-yard touchdown run gave Louisville a 7-0 lead with 9:33 left in the first quarter.

Sage Surratt caught a 22-yard pass from Newman on Wake Forest’s first play following the Cardinal touchdown, but the drive ended near midfield.

After a punt put the Cardinals on the 8-yard-line, Cunningham led an impressive scoring drive. The quarterback picked up a first down on a third-and-4 and later found Keion Wakefield for a 17-yard reception.

Cunningham found Seth Dawkins slanting in the middle of the field for a reception that went for a 55-yard touchdown to give Louisville a 14-0 lead with 5:33 left in the first quarter.

Wake Forest had an answer.

The Demon Deacons went 75 yards in 13 plays capped by a 12-yard touchdown catch by Surratt with 1:59 left in the first quarter to cut Louisville’s lead to a 14-7. The Cardinals couldn’t get off the field on third down as Wake Forest converted a third-and-3 and a third-and-19 on the drive.

Hassan Hall reminded the ACC of his kick return prowess, fielding the ensuing kick off just inside the end zone. Hall hesitated for a moment, but then cut forward and went untouched for 100 yards, giving Louisville a 21-7 advantage.

Louisville’s defense forced Wake Forest to a quick three-and-out, setting up another big play on special teams. Tutu Atwell returned a punt 50 yards to bring the ball to the Wake Forest 13-yard-line.

Atwell had a nine-yard touchdown catch on third-and-6 to extend Louisville’s lead to 28-7 on the second play of the second quarter.

Wake Forest countered Louisville’s counterpunch. A defensive holding penalty and pass interference aided a drive that went 75 yards in seven plays that ended with a three-yard touchdown catch by Surratt.

The momentum continued for Wake Forest as the Demon Deacon defense upended Cunningham on a 12-yard run to force a fumble. Traveon Redd grabbed the loose ball and returned it 35 yards to inside the Louisville 10-yard-line.

Cade Carney scored three plays later from one yard to cut Wake Forest’s deficit to 28-21.

Cunningham didn’t return on Louisville’s ensuing drive as he remained in the medical tent receiving treatment. Evan Conley completed a 28-yard throw to Atwell in his first snap of the game, but Louisville’s drive stalled near midfield.

Conley showed his athleticism on his second drive, going 16 yards on a third-and-16 for a first down that helped setup a 31-yard field goal by Blanton Creque with 2:06 left in the second quarter to give Louisville a 31-21 lead.

Wake Forest threatened with a two-minute offense reached the red zone, but Abdullah got his hands on his second turnover of the game. The linebacker intercepted the ball on the 4-yard-line with 18 seconds left before halftime to prevent Wake Forest scoring before the end of the second quarter.

Hall had another big play to begin the second half. He returned the opening kick of the third quarter 80 yards, setting up another Louisville touchdown.

After the kick return, Louisville scored on its first play from scrimmage of the third quarter on a 15-yard reception by Dez Fitzpatrick from Conley to give Louisville a 38-21 advantage.

Nasier Greer intercepted a deep throw by Conley and Wake Forest scored following the turnover. Surratt caught his third touchdown, a 47-yard throw from Newman to cut Louisville’s lead to 38-28 with 9:38 left in the third quarter.

Similar to the first half, Louisville had an answer for Wake Forest. Conley completed a 10-yard throw to Atwell on third-and-10 near midfield to keep a drive alive that included a 33-yard reception from Fitzpatrick.

Hall capped the seven play, 70-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run to give Louisville a 45-28 lead with 5:54 left in the third quarter.

Nick Sciba had a 34-yard field goal following a 42-yard drive to cut Wake Forest’s deficit to 45-31 with 4:10 left in the third quarter.

Rodjay Burns intercepted a pass in the third quarter, but Louisville couldn’t come away with points following the turnover.

Conley found Fitzpatrick down the sideline for a 50-yard touchdown with 9:14 left in the fourth quarter to extend Louisville’s lead to 52-31. Wake Forest had an answer, going 59 yards capped by a three-yard run from Kenneth Walker to cut Louisville’s lead to 52-38 with 6:19 left.

After Louisville recovered an onside kick, Hawkins rushed for a 27-yard gain and drew a facemask penalty. Louisville settled for a 36-yard field goal from Creque for a 55-38 lead with 5:35 left.

Scotty Washington caught a 22-yard touchdown to cut Wake Forest’s deficit to 55-45 with 4:12 left. The Demon Deacons recovered the ensuing onside kick and scored three plays later to pull within 55-52 with 3:37 left.

Louisville held firm offensively and answered. Faced with a fourth-and-1 from the 41-yard-line, Conley took a read-option 41 yards for a touchdown with 2:15 left to give Louisville a 62-52 lead.

Wake Forest kept things interesting, going 92 yards in 1:05 to cut Louisville’s lead to 62-59 with 1:10 left.

Louisville recovered the ensuing onside kick in a wild sequence with the ball ricocheting off several players.