Louisville Holds Off Notre Dame, 31-28

Photo: Louisville Cardinals wide receiver DeVante Parker (9) makes a touchdown catch against Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Michael Deeb (42) during the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium.
Credit: USA Today

Reggie Bonnafon threw for 180 yards and rushed for two touchdowns.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (GoCards.com and AP) - Freshman quarterback Reggie Bonnafon ran for a pair of touchdowns and threw a 21-yard scoring pass to DeVante Parker to lead Louisville to a 31-28 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday, the third straight loss for the Fighting Irish.

The Irish had a chance to force overtime but Kyle Brindza missed a 32-yard field goal wide right with 51 seconds left. Brindza missed a field goal in overtime last week in a loss to Northwestern. The Irish scored a pair of touchdowns early in the third quarter, the second set up by a 61-yard punt return by Greg Bryant, to take a 20-17 lead.

But the Cardinals answered with the touchdown pass to Parker and a 15-yard run by Brandon Radcliff that he set up with a 41-yard run.

The Cardinals (8-3, No. 24 CFP) kept alive their hopes for a third straight season of at least 10 wins. The Irish (7-4), after starting the season 6-0 and being ranked No. 5, have lost four of their last five, and the three straight losses is the longest losing streak for the Irish since Brian Kelly's first season as coach in 2010.

The Irish gave up 30 or more points for the sixth straight game, the first time that's happened in 126 seasons of football. The 242 points Notre Dame has given up in the span is the most ever by Notre Dame in six games.

Radcliff rushed for 136 yards as Louisville amassed 229 yards rushing while holding the Irish to 99 yards running. Bonnafon was 8-of-31 passing for 180 yards with one interception.

DeVante Parker, who missed the first seven games with a broken bone in his foot, was held to fewer than 100 yards for the first time in four games with four catches for 65 yards.

Everett Golson passed for two touchdowns and rallied the Irish from an 11-point deficit to within three points. He drove the Irish down to the 9-yard line. But he was sacked for a 6-yard loss with 61 seconds left and then his pass to C.J. Prosise was incomplete.

Golson was 16-of-24 passing for 236 yards and threw his 13th interception of the season. The Irish closed to 31-28 early in the fourth quarter when Golson scrambled for time and threw to Corey Robinson in the end zone. The ball ricocheted off Robinson and Will Fuller caught it for his 14th TD of the season. Fuller had five catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.

In the first half, the Cardinals converted twice on third-and-long plays to keep alive their first two scoring drives, with Michael Dyer running for 21 yards on third-and-14 on the Cardinals' first possession and Bonnafon completing a 52-yard pass to Kai De La Cruz to the 13-yard line. Bonnafon scored the first TD when he kept the ball on a read option and ran in from 12 yards out, then ran it in again from 8 yards out on the Cardinals' second possession.

Louisville drove to the Notre Dame 6-yard line with a little over 5 minutes left on the game, aided by Notre Dame middle linebacker Nyles Morgan being called for targeting on a hit on Bonnafon on an incomplete pass on third-and-10 from the Notre Dame 35-yard line. But Morgan's replacement, Greer Martini, sacked Bonnafon for a 14-yard loss. John Wallace then missed a 37-yard field-goal attempt wide right.