With a shaky start to the season, Virginia needed a silver lining as 2-3 Louisville came into Scott Stadium, looking to hand the Cavs their first loss on home soil.
Our Wahoos were so generous to help the Cardinals to a 34-17 victory, putting on the same sloppy display seen since the first snap of the year. Early on, it seemed like we were in for a different story. With Louisville missing star quarterback Malik Cunningham due to concussion protocol, backup Brock Domann got the start. The Hoos gifted his opening drive a three-and-out, allowing Brennan Armstrong and the offense to get to work. Their first drive stalled at the Louisville 29-yard line. 1st-Year kicker Will Bettridge made a 47-yard field goal to give Virginia their first points of the game, his second career attempt.
Virginia got the ball right back after cornerback Anthony Johnson intercepted a deep pass from Domann. They would later score on a 40-yard connection from Armstrong to wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks, pulling UVA to a 10-point lead late in the first quarter.
Things were looking up. Momentum was building. Another punt from Louisville, and the Cavaliers were driving down the field. That was until we woke up from our dreams as Armstrong fumbled on the Louisville 18-yard line, squandering the chance to go up by three possessions.
This seemed to stunt any offensive production for the remainder of the half. While Virginia was busy punting, the Cards clawed back the deficit with a 23-yard field goal from James Turner. On Louisville’s next possession, the Wahoo defense forced a fourth down at the UVA 44-yard line. However, this didn’t stop Domann from executing a brilliant read option, faking out the entire defense, and taking it to the house with a 44-yard touchdown run.
Knotted up at 10 a piece, Virginia managed to force another interception off Domann, this time from 4th-Year Antonio Clary. This amounted to Armstrong giving the ball right back with an intercepted pass of his own, allowing the Cardinals to grab another field goal, making the score 13-10 at halftime.
The second half got off to a three-and-out on offense followed by a Cardinals touchdown, courtesy of a 32-yard touchdown pass from Domann to wide receiver Marshon Ford. Virginia did manage to respond, putting together one of their best drives of the season. Armstrong managed to cap it off with an 11-yard touchdown rush, reminding us of his talent.
Unfortunately, that’s where the fireworks ended for us, as Louisville was able to pull away. Armstrong threw his second pick, allowing the Cardinals to lead another methodic drive to the endzone. Now down by 10 points, Virginia was forced into a crucial fourth-and-one situation at the Louisville 42-yard line. In a horrible play call, Armstrong lined up in the shotgun and sought to pass before being sacked for a loss of 11 yards. Louisville controlled the game following that turnover, scoring another touchdown with a one-yard run from running back Jawhar Jordan, enough to seal the win for the Cardinals; a comfortable 34-17 victory.
Virginia finished the game with an embarrassing six rushing yards, three turnovers, and eight penalties for 66 yards… I could go on and on about the dismal statistics but at the end of the day, there is a fundamental problem with the chemistry of this team. The plays Elliot wants his players to make are not being made and the sloppiness is not being fixed. With the season officially halfway over, there’s not much to write home about. It’s looking more and more like this season will be one big growing pain in the program Elliot is trying to build.
The Wahoos have a much-needed bye next week before taking on Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN Thursday, October 20th, at 7:30 pm.