Louisville rolls past Vir­ginia 38-21

The Progress-Index Weekend - - SPORTS DESK 2 - Gary B. Graves

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville play­ers hadn’t laughed this much, or this loudly, for a while. Coach Bobby Petrino even grinned a cou­ple of times.

That joy spoke vol­umes about the Car­di­nals’ 38-21 vic­tory over Vir­ginia achieved with big ef­forts on both sides of the ball.

Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner La­mar Jack­son ac­counted for four touch­downs and 342 yards while be­com­ing the first NCAA FBS player to have two sea­sons with 3,000 yards pass­ing and 1,000 rush­ing. Dae Wil­liams rushed for 88 yards and a TD, and Louisville’s de­fense posted one of its best ef­forts this sea­son on Satur­day.

“It seemed like ev­ery­thing was go­ing well,” de­fen­sive end James Hearns said. “It was one of the most fun games we played this year.”

Im­prove­ment was cer­tainly needed af­ter three At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence losses in four games — a stretch in which Louisville yielded an av­er­age of nearly 526 yards — made its bowl prospects shaky.

Credit last week’s bye for recharg­ing the Car­di­nals and pro­vid­ing the ba­sis for a re­bound.

Louisville (6-4, 3-3) out­gained the Cava­liers 493277 and be­come bowl el­i­gi­ble for the eighth con­sec­u­tive sea­son. Vir­ginia (6-4, 3-3) man­aged just 115 yards and a late touch­down af­ter the break.

“I thought it helped us a lot,” Petrino said of the break. “We had nine straight games and to be able to take a lit­tle breath, re­lax a lit­tle bit, still work hard . ... They came back with a tremen­dous at­ti­tude and a lot of en­ergy and we prac­ticed like that all week.”

Jack­son again pro­vided the spark with yet an­other en­er­getic game fea­tur­ing high­light-wor­thy plays.

The ju­nior quar­ter­back threw for 195 yards and three TDs, in­clud­ing re­mark­able TD passes of 24 and 21 yards to Jaylen Smith. Jack­son also rushed 15 times for 147 yards, in­clud­ing a 68-yarder for Louisville’s first score.

Told of the NCAA mile­stone, Jack­son said, “It’s just a bless­ing. The O-line put me in the sit­u­a­tion and my re­ceivers to make plays.”

The Car­di­nals’ de­fense mean­while al­lowed its third­fewest yards this sea­son, a big im­prove­ment af­ter yield­ing 625 two weeks ago at Wake For­est. HIGHLIGHTS GA­LORE Jack­son’s TD run, in which he paused af­ter fak­ing a hand­off and blow­ing through a huge hole, was the first on a long list of re­mark­able plays by Louisville.

The QB slipped from a de­fender’s grip on his right foot to dash 18 yards be­fore that right shoe flew off as he was tack­led. A 14-yard TD pass to Seth Dawkins fol­lowed.

Smith’s run­ning, one­handed grab of his sec­ond TD might have topped them all.

“I mean the catch was cool,” Smith said, “but I don’t know if any­one re­al­ized what La­mar did in the pocket. It’s like he did a karaoke step back, then for­ward. It was ridicu­lous.” UP NEXT: Vir­ginia vis­its un­beaten and No. 7 Mi­ami on Nov. 18 in ar­guably its tough­est test this sea­son.

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