Coming off a bye week the Cardinals were desperate for a win against longtime foe Pittsburgh to keep any hopes of bowl eligibility alive.
The first half was a slog as the defenses stole the show and slowed down some of the firepower we expected to see from Pittsburgh’s or Louisville’s rushing attacks.
Pitt’s Israel Abanikanda finished the game with 129 yards on 28 carries and a TD, but Louisville got the stops when they needed them most to prevent him from causing to much damage.
Yasir Abdullah was the MVP of the game as he game up big in nearly every pivotal situation. In the first quarter when Pitt was marching down the field on the first drive Yasir was able to stop the bleeding with an impressive INT he caught as he ran stride for stride with Pitt’s wideout. He also tacked on 7 tackles, 1 sack, and a huge TFL on 3rd down when Pitt was down four with eight minutes left. But his biggest play of the night came minutes later when Pitt was down 7 and driving to tie the game. Abdullah blitzed and drilled Pitt QB Kedon Slovis at the perfect moment to jar the ball loose and Kei’Trel Clark was able to scoop and score to put the Cards up by 14 and seal the game.
Abdullah wreaked havoc on Pitt’s offense all night, but he was not alone as the defense forced four turnovers for the first time since a 56-10 victory over Syracuse in 2017 (according to Kelly Dickey). The defense took a few hits from Pitt early in the fourth quarter but then settled down and only allowed three points for the rest of the game. Credit’s due for Bryan Brown adjusting to Pitt’s physical run game and applying enough pressure on Slovis to create turnovers.
On the offensive side of the ball it was once again a tough matchup against a strong Pitt front that the Cards have become sued to seeing since both schools joined the ACC. But the Card were able to get just enough production out of Trevion Cooley, Tyler Hudson, and Malik Cunningham to move the ball downfield when the opportunity presented itself.
Also, James Turner deserves praise for an ice cold 48-yard field goal to put the Cards up 17-10 with under five minutes left in the game.m, making it his ninth consecutive made field goal this season. And before his field goal, what a lovely surprise to see KCD product Josh Lifson reel in a wide open pass for the go ahead touchdown.
Keith Wynne has harped on this all season, but Louisville has needed to play complimentary football. And it couldn’t have come at a more important time tonight as the defense and the offense both stepped up huge in the fourth quarter to snap Satterfield’s 16-game losing streak when trailing after three quarters. Louisville also snapped Pitt’s seven-game road winning streak.
It was just great to see this team hang in there after taking some early punches and then come back in the fourth quarter to get the win. Really can’t remember the last time we saw a Cardinals team do such a thing. Guess the white helmets should stick around a while longer.
Lastly, winning feels great but there’s something about beating the former Big East foes that just tastes extra sweet. Really happy about this win:
Enjoy the victory and the rest of the weekend. Two more wins to go bowling.