Recap: Louisville football crushes Syracuse

samdraut

Louisville football defeated Syracuse 56-34 in the final game at Cardinal Stadium this season Nov. 23. The Cardinals (7-4) finish their conference schedule 5-3, placing second in the ACC Atlantic Division.

The Cardinals finished with 608 yards of offense, rushing for 370 yards. Javian Hawkins had 233 rushing yards while Micale Cunningham threw for 238 yards and five touchdowns. Tutu Atwell finished with five receptions for 152 yards and two scores. 

“It was good to get the running game going again,” Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said. “We had big plays in the passing game.” 

While Louisville's offense was dynamic, its defense struggled. Syracuse had over 500 yards of offense as Moe Neal rushed for 163 yards. 

Louisville’s opening drive started and ended the same way. Marshon Ford had a 7-yard reception on the game’s opening play from scrimmage and capped the 10-play, 77-yard drive with a 7-yard catch for a touchdown.

In between Ford’s two receptions, Tutu Atwell had a 27-yard catch and Hawkins surpassed Victor Anderson’s freshman single-season rushing record.

Jawhar Jordan returned Louisville’s ensuing kick off 48 yards as Syracuse started its opening drive near midfield. Syracuse moved the ball to the 13-yard-line, but Rodjay Burns had a tackle for a loss on a third-and-10 screen pass, forcing the Orange to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Andre Szmyt.

After a three-and-out on Louisville’s second drive, Mason King sent a punt to Orange returner Sean Riley, who fumbled the ball. Yasir Abdullah recovered the muffed punt for the Cardinals on the 29-yard-line.

One play later, Cunningham lofted a pass to Seth Dawkins for a 29-yard touchdown to give Louisville a 14-3 lead with 6:19 left in the first quarter.

Hassan Hall rushed for 28 yards on Louisville’s final drive of the first quarter, leading a drive that went 60 yards in seven plays. Cunningham scored from 20 yards on a third-and-1 to extend Louisville’s advantage to 21-3.

Syracuse had a methodical drive to cut into Louisville’s lead. The Orange went 75 yards in 16 plays. Aaron Hackett capped the drive that went more than six-and-a-half minutes with a 20-yard touchdown reception.

Poor field position didn’t bother Louisville on a drive late in the first half. After a punt was caught at the 6-yard-line, it only took two plays for the Cardinals to extend their lead to 28-10.

Cunningham found Atwell down the middle of the field for a reception and the sophomore receiver did the rest, going 90 yards for a touchdown with 3:05 left. The 90-yard touchdown throw was the fourth longest throw in program history.

After Syracuse made a field goal on its opening possession of the third quarter, Hall returned the ensuing kickoff 63 yards. The Cardinals scored on their first play from scrimmage as Cunningham found Jordan Davis for a 28-yard touchdown.

Davis, a senior tight end, was appreciative of the target that led to his touchdown reception. 

“He has worked his tail off,” Satterfield said. “I told him that was for you on senior day. We have been working on that play all year.” 

Syracuse answered as Neal had a 45-yard rushing touchdown to cut Louisville’s lead to 35-20 with 10:34 left in the third quarter.

Hall and Hawkins carried Louisville to its next touchdown. Hawkins had runs for nine and 12 yards while Hall finished off the drive. He ran for 20 yards on an option pitch from Cunningham on a third-and-13, scoring one play later from 12 yards.

Syracuse’s rushing attack continued to gash through Louisville’s defense. Neal had a 33-yard carry while Howard scored from 16 yards.

“They kept scoring,” Satterfield said. “It’s a mentality to play the next play. That’s sometimes hard to do.” 

Louisville answered with its ground game. Hawkins weaved through several defenders, breaking tackles for a 44-yard touchdown run to extend Louisville’s advantage to 49-27 with 3:49 left in the third quarter.

Syracuse scored on its fourth consecutive drive, going 62 yards in 12 plays. DeVito found Jackson for a 9-yard touchdown. The Orange continued to build momentum as Andre Cisco intercepted a Cunningham pass on the 29-yard-line, but Syracuse couldn’t capitalize on the turnover.

Jordan took a screen pass 81 yards to the Louisville 3-yard-line on Syracuse’s next possession, but the Orange couldn’t come away with points. Louisville’s defense held as Yassir Abdullah had a tackle on the 6-yard-line with 6:34 left. 

“Our defense held, that was a huge goal line stand,” Satterfield said. 

Atwell had a 14-yard touchdown reception with 1:24 left. 

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