Not sure what else you’d call it. In what was likely a de facto ACC Championship Game elimination game, Louisville delivered a full on, 100% USDA certified, beat down.
The play that best encapsulates what this entire game was Jawhar Jordan’s first TD run on the first drive:
Running the ball down Duke’s throat and the o-line coming in with the second effort to finish the play. Couldn’t have been a more perfect tone setter for the game.
And they didn’t let up after that. They just ran the ball over and over right through one of the best defenses in the conference and SP+’s #18 defense in the country. The Cards didn’t even have to test the stout Blue Devils’ secondary with the running game amassing 234 yards to just 117 passing yards on only 16 attempts.
The ground game being relentless was a joy to watch, but the big story of the game is the Louisville defense racking up 4 sacks against a Duke o-line, who had only allowed 5 all season, and shutting out the Riley Leonard offense.
It cannot be emphasized enough how crazy it is to shutout a Top-25 opponent, let a lone a Top-20. Louisville had never done it in a single half before. But to hold on and blank a team and offense like Duke is simply historic.
And it’s not just the score that’s beyond impressive. The Cards held the Blue Devils to just 202 total offensive yards. Kelly Dickey can put that one in perspective for ya:
Duke finishes with 151 yards passing and 51 yards rushing.— Kelly Dickey (@RealCardGame) October 28, 2023
Louisville has held four straight opponents under 300 yards of total offense for the first time since 2014 and four straight opponents under 100 yards rushing for the first time since 2016.
Louisville holds No. Duke to 202 yards of total offense, the third lowest total by an AP-ranked opponent in program history.— Kelly Dickey (@RealCardGame) October 28, 2023
The 1950 Cards held No. 9 Miami to 175 yards in a 13-13 tie. The 1990 Cards held No. 25 Alabama to 189 yards in a 34-7 win.
Just an extremely, extremely impressive and encouraging performance from Ron English and this defense. That’s the kind of consistency and play we’ll need if we want to be playing in Charlotte in December.
The result is not anything I would have imagined when I pictured Jeff Brohm and Co. running this program. Most expected high flying offenses and shootouts, not beating a Top-20 team over the head with a hammer over and over the way both sides did today. Not sure there’s a more satisfying way to beat an opponent than to simply kick their ass.
Fans should enjoy the hell out of this one as Louisville remains in the thick of the ACC Championship race with just three conference games to go.
This is so much fun.
EDIT: I ALMOST FORGOT! Jack Plummer’s mustache was back for this game. Coincidence? I think not.