Heisman hopeful Lamar Jackson hit Jaylen Smith on a 29-yard touchdown pass to give his Cardinal a late 30-25 lead over the Virginia Cavaliers. Louisville went for the two point conversion to widen its lead to seven points
Smith’s touchdown catch was a perfectly thrown ball that sailed right passed the outstretched hands out of the defender; it was the best throw Jackson made throughout the game. The drive had been kept alive by the quarterback’s legs as the Cavaliers did everything in their power to take away the deep pass. Jackson carried the ball four times for 41 yards to move the ball down field and chew a bunch of time off of the clock during the final drive.
Before Louisville’s game winning drive, it looked like the Cavaliers had scored a major upset against the No. 5 team in the country. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall made the decision to go for two, and the win, after a 75 yard (14 play) drive ended with a four yard touchdown pass from Kurt Benkert to Doni Dowling. With a 25-24 lead, all the Cavaliers needed to do was stop Jackson once, and they weren’t able to.
Louisville scored 17 unanswered points to take a 24-17 lead over the Cavaliers but their defense was unable to get Benkert and the rest of the offense of the field on that 14 play drive.
This victory, while exciting to watch, won’t help the Cardinals’s playoff resume as they entered the game as 32-point favorites over Mendenhall’s squad. For the first two and a half quarters, Louisville was lethargic and seemed as if it was disinterested in playing against such a big underdog. It’s likely that the playoff committee will not look favorably on this game when putting together its rankings.