In a virtual carbon copy of the weeknight struggle with Duke, Louisville was careless with the ball and sloppy offensively against Wake Forest in the first half on a chilly Saturday night at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Unlike the Duke game, however, Louisville got its offense rolling midway through the third quarter and pulled away for a comfortable 44-12 win.
Earlier this week, ESPN's Booger McFarland dismissed Louisville as a "Lamar Jackson and a bunch of other dudes", it was those other dudes that came through. With Wake Forest determined to make anyone but Lamar Jackson beat them, everyone but Lamar Jackson did. Brandon Radcliff got the offensive ball rolling by ripping off a 55 yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 12-7. After adding a field goal, Louisville began to pour it on. Radcliff would later add touchdown runs of 7 yards and 19 yards to put the game away. He finished the game with 141 yards on just 11 carries.
Defensively, Louisville dominated Wake Forest, as has been its custom. In a mistake filled first half that saw Louisville turn the ball over three times, the defense did its part to keep the game from getting away from them. They only allowed Wake Forest to turn those turnovers into four field goals while shutting them out in the second half. In the end, Louisville held Wake Forest to 214 yards of total offense, 2.9 yards per play, sacked Wake Forest's quarterbacks 8 times, and got a pick six from reserve defensive back Ronald Walker to help seal the win.
The best part of the win tonight is that it did not squander the extremely good luck Louisville received with regards to making the college football playoff. Clemson fell at home to Pittsburgh, Auburn was eliminated from perhaps a backdoor run to the playoff by losing at Georgia, Washington is currently in the process of going down against USC, and Michigan is being pushed by Michigan. By finishing with an ultimately solid win against Wake Forest, Louisville didn't let that good news go to waste.