One week after mounting a comeback for their sixth win and bowl eligibility, the Virginia Cavaliers struggled with Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals, falling 38-21. The Hoos were within three at halftime, but the second half was all Louisville as they were outscored 21-7 in the last 30 minutes.
Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson led the way for Louisville with 147 yards rushing for one touchdown and 195 yards passing for three touchdowns. Jaylen Smith had two receiving and touchdowns and 84 yards in the game.
Virginia got on the board first with the most bonkers trick play as Benkert handed the ball THROUGH tailback Chris Sharp’s legs, who then dove into the end zone for the touchdown. The diving touchdown capped off a 7-play, 54 yard drive for the Hoos to open the game.
Louisville responded with a three play scoring drive of their own, ending with a 68-yard touchdown run from Jackson.
A 40-yard field goal and a 14-yard touchdown reception by Seth Dawkins gave Louisville the 17-7 lead, but the Hoos closed the deficit to just three points thanks to a solid drive as the first half winded down. Benkert and the Hoos only needed six plays and 1:38 to go 58 yards to reach the end zone, culminating with a 25-yard touchdown reception by Evan Butts.
The Cardinals out-gained the Cavaliers in the first half, 257-162, and Jackson amassed 114 yards and a touchdown on the ground and 96 yards and a touchdown through the air in the first thirty minutes of play.
Virginia had 152 yards and a touchdown through the air in the first half with Benkert going 11-for-20. Jordan Ellis picked up 24 yards on the ground, but Virginia’s line gave up 24 yards of sacks as the Hoos only rushed for 10 yards. The offensive line allowed three first half sacks of Benkert just one week after holding strong and not allowing any against Georgia Tech.
UVA received the kickoff in the second half, but failed to get any points on the board with their opening drive, punting inside their own 40.
Louisville scored touchdowns on the next two drives, extending their lead to 31-14, and never looked back.
It looked like Virginia would get a break when it recovered a muffed punt inside the 40-yard line, but an interception off of a tipped pass by Doni Dowling gave the ball back to the Cardinals. Louisville capitalized off of Virginia’s second turnover, needing just seven plays and a Dae Williams three-yard rush for the touchdown.
Jordan Ellis rushed for a three-yard touchdown with 1:48 remaining to make the score a more respectable 38-21, but too little too late for the Hoos.
Next up, Virginia heads to Miami for a noon matchup on ABC or ESPN. With Virginia’s loss today, Miami is guaranteed their first ACC Coastal Division title.