Another game, another complete failure on offense for the Cardinals. Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins accounted for three touchdowns in the second half — and a couple of highlight-reel hurdles — as the Cavaliers (3-1) rolled to a 27-3 win over the Cardinals (2-2).
Once again, Louisville’s inability to get off to a quick start killed them early. The Cards failed to score an offensive touchdown in the first half for the fourth time in as many games in 2018, and only crossed midfield once in the half. However, a failed fourth-and-short scramble by Malik Cunningham ended the drive abruptly.
Virginia scored its six points in the first half off of Louisville’s miscues in the second quarter. An interception by Charles Snowden led to a 28-yard field goal by Hunter Pearson. Louisville’s fourth-down failure led to a 24-yard chipshot from Pearson. A.J. Mejia missed a field goal early that would’ve put the Cavaliers up 9-0 after the first half.
After a scoreless first half for Louisville, Bobby Petrino once again swapped quarterbacks in an attempt to change the offensive momentum. Puma Pass took over the offense, substituting for the struggling Cunningham. Cunningham would finish the game 6/9 for 35 yards with an interception.
Much like the last two games, Louisville got a break from something not on the offensive side of the ball. Rodjay Burns corralled a tipped pass into his first career interception, leading to a 20-yard field goal from Blanton Creque. However, Louisville started the drive inside the five and fell short of the goal-line on three straight dive plays.
Virginia answered back with a resounding drive from quarterback Bryce Perkins. Perkins had a highlight reel hurdle over Dee Smith that resembled something a certain Louisville quarterback once did. The 36-yard hurdle-and-run led to a seven yard touchdown throw from Perkins to Chris Sharp, extending the Virginia lead to 13-3.
Puma had the offense in field goal range on the following drive, but threw an interception into triple coverage to kill the drive. Even with the change at quarterback, Louisville’s offensive woes kept them out of the game from the start. The Cardinals tallied 214 total yards on offense and committed three turnovers, including a paltry 2.3 yards per carry. The three points marks the lowest for Louisville since 2010, and the second time that Louisville failed to score a touchdown in the second run of Bobby Petrino’s coaching tenure.
Perkins would add two more scores to cap off his day. The JUCO transfer threw a 44-yard touchdown to Joe Reed that sealed the game with a 20-3 lead. Perkins would extend their lead to 27-3 after scoring on an eight-yard run, hurdling another Louisville defender in the process. He would finish the game as their MVP, completing 17-of-24 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns (and leading the team with 78 yards rushing and a touchdown).
Up next, Louisville returns home for a game against Florida State on Saturday. After an all-systems failure in Charlottesville, the Cards 2018 season (among other things) is in deep trouble.
And no game is a “safe win” now.