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Louisville takes 56-34 win over Syracuse on Senior Day

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Cunningham, Hawkins, and Atwell all set new career-highs in the final home game of 2019.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

One week after setting a new career-high with four touchdowns in their win over NC State, Louisville quarterback Micale Cunningham managed to top his performance. The sophomore had a career-high six total touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) and 298 total yards (238 passing, 60 rushing) as Louisville (7-4, 5-3 ACC) put up 608 total yards of offense in a 56-34 win over Syracuse (4-7, 1-6).

Javian Hawkins and Tutu Atwell joined Cunningham in establishing new career-highs on a rainy Saturday evening. Hawkins ran for 233 yards with a touchdown, while Atwell had 152 receiving yards and two touchdowns (including a 90-yarder late in the second quarter). Both Hawkins and Atwell also become the first Louisville RB-WR duo since Frank Moreau and Arnold Jackson (1999) to have over 1,000 yards rushing and receiving, respectively.

Louisville jumped to a 21-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, all coming from Cunningham. Cunningham’s first two touchdowns were by air, as he hit Marshon Ford (7 yards) and Seth Dawkins (29 yards) on scoring throws. The sophomore also had a 20-yard touchdown run with 1:15 left in the quarter to put the Cards up 21-3.

Syracuse’s only points in the first quarter came after Louisville’s first touchdown. The Orange put together an eight-play, 37-yard drive that ended with Andre Szmyt driving a 33-yard field goal through the uprights. Their first touchdown would come with 9:36 left in the second quarter, with Tommy DeVito throwing a 20-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hackett.

Louisville’s only touchdown in the second quarter came on a 90-yard pass from Cunningham to Atwell. The 90-yard touchdown pass was the fourth-longest in Louisville history, and the first of 90+ yards since 2009.

With Louisville entering the second half with a 28-10 lead, the competitiveness of the game was turned up with 38 combined points in the third quarter. Syracuse started the third quarter with another field goal from Szmyt from 46 yards out, cutting the Louisville lead to 28-13.

After Syracuse’s field goal, Louisville took the ensuing kickoff 70 yards to the Syracuse 28. That set Louisville up for a 28-yard touchdown pass from Cunningham to Jordan Davis, extending the lead to 35-13. Syracuse immediately answered with a 45-yard touchdown run by Moe Neal, cutting Louisville’s lead to 35-20.

Louisville and Syracuse would both trade touchdowns before the end of the third quarter. Hassan Hall completed an 11-play drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to put Louisville up 42-20. Syracuse had a three-play drive that ended with Jarveon Howard’s 16-yard touchdown run, cutting it to 42-27.

Javian Hawkins capped off a frenetic third quarter with a 44-yard touchdown run that saw him weave through Syracuse’s defense with such grace. The touchdown run by Hawkins put Louisville up 49-27 to start the fourth quarter.

Syracuse’s final touchdown came with 13:36 left in the final frame, immediately after the Hawkins score. DeVito found Trishton Jackson on a nine-yard touchdown pass, cutting the Louisville lead to 49-34.

Syracuse found some life in the fourth quarter, as Andre Cisco intercepted a pass by Cunningham on Louisville’s next drive. But Syracuse would fail to convert fourth-down chances on back-to-back drives inside Louisville territory, including a goal-to-go situation that saw Syracuse take three penalties before failing to convert the fourth down.

Louisville’s final touchdown came with 1:24 left in the game, as Atwell scored his second touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Cunningham. Louisville’s 56 points marked the first time since 2017 that the Cardinals scored 50+ points at home, coincidentally on Senior Day against Syracuse.

The big three of Cunningham, Hawkins, and Atwell all reached career-highs in one fashion or another in the victory. Micale Cunningham scored a career-high six touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) with 298 total yards (238 passing, 60 rushing) while also not taking a sack.

Javian Hawkins ran for 233 yards and a touchdown. Hawkins becomes the first Louisville RB with over 200 yards rushing since Bilal Powell in 2010, and the ninth player in UofL history to reach the 200-yard mark in a game. The 233 yards is also the fourth-highest total in single-game school history.

As a team, UofL rushed for 370 yards, the sixth time since 1979 that the Cards rushed for over 350 yards. The last three times have all been against Syracuse in 2016, ‘17, and now ‘19 (h/t Kelly Dickey). Hassan Hall (eight carries, 71 yards, one touchdown) and Cunningham (eight carries, 60 yards, one touchdown) also contributed in Louisville’s dominant rushing effort.

Tutu Atwell reeled in five catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Atwell now has four consecutive games with 5+ catches and 110+ yards, with a touchdown scored in each of them. In addition, the sophomore becomes the second UofL receiver in history to have over 1,000 receiving yards and 10+ touchdowns in a single season, joining Arnold Jackson’s 1998 campaign (Jackson had 1,165 receiving yards with ten touchdowns). Atwell is also one score away from tying the single season UofL record (12, DeVante Parker & Ibn Green).

For the second straight season, Syracuse RB Moe Neal set a new career-high against Louisville with 163 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Orange rushed for 261 yards as a team, the second straight game they have reached over 250+ yards this season. Quarterback Tommy DeVito threw two touchdowns to go with his 14-of-21 passing and 153 yards.

Up next, you know exactly who awaits. Kentucky and Louisville will meet once again for the Governor’s Cup on Saturday at noon.