Louisville Defeats Syracuse

 

 

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (gocards.com and AP) - Another dose of defense helped spur Louisville to the offensive explosion it has sought all season.

Kyle Bolin threw for a season-high 362 yards and three touchdowns, and Louisville gained a season-high 579 yards to rout Syracuse 41-17 on Saturday for its third straight victory.

Starting in place of injured freshman Lamar Jackson, the sophomore used his first start since Clemson to complete 24 of 35 passes with an interception for the Cardinals (5-4, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won five of six.

Brandon Radcliff added a season-high 117 yards rushing on 10 carries while Jeremy Smith had 71 and a 4-yard touchdown on 13 attempts.

Louisville's defense meanwhile continued its recent stinginess, holding Syracuse (3-6, 1-4 ACC), which lost its sixth straight, to 286 yards and forcing three turnovers including two interceptions. Trumaine Washington returned one pickoff 39 yards for a 14-10 lead in the second quarter, and the Cardinals poured it on in outscoring the Orange 34-7 over the final three quarters.

John Wallace kicked two field goals to become Louisville's career leader with 62.

Bolin hit eight receivers with James Quick and Jamari Staples combining for nine receptions for 151 yards.

Syracuse's highlights were Ervin Phillips' 10-yard touchdown run set up by Cordell Hudson's interception, and Steve Ishmael's late 9-yard TD pass from Zack Mahoney. Starter Eric Dungey was 15 of 30 for 158 yards and two interceptions and rushed 13 times for 45 yards.

The game was important for both programs seeking postseason berths, and the Cardinals' prospects for reaching the six-win plateau for bowl eligibility look significantly brighter after their best offensive performance of the season.

The yardage was a season-worst for the Orange defense, which allowed 575 at No. 17 Florida State last week.

Things didn't look so promising with Louisville trailing 10-7 midway through the second quarter and looking sluggish after opening the game with a four-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Bolin's 52-yard pass to L.J. Scott was the key play, but Smith's hard running for a 4-yard TD helped the Cardinals initially establish the line of scrimmage.

Four subsequent drives yielded two turnovers and two punts, but Washington stepped up with the game-changing interception that ignited the Cardinals on both sides of the ball. Washington finished with a team-high 12 tackles including a sack.

The Louisville freshman read the route perfectly and jumped it to pick off Dungey and fly 39 yards down the left sideline for the go-ahead TD. Syracuse never got closer than the 16 until late in the game when the Cardinals had things under control.

Louisville's previous yardage high was 562 against FCS Samford last month, a total the Cardinals nearly matched through three quarters. Its 217 yards rushing was third best and the most since gaining 203 against North Carolina State.

The defense kept on rolling and is averaging just 210 yards allowed the past three games. Louisville recorded two sacks and has 14 over the past three weeks.367351