Louisville rallies before holding off Virginia 28-21
Micale Cunningham and Javian Hawkins accounted for two touchdowns apiece, including one each in the fourth quarter, and Louisville made a final defensive stand to hold off Virginia 28-21 on Saturday.
The Cardinals (5-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) converted a late third-quarter fumble recovery into Cunningham's 25-yard scoring run with 14:22 remaining for a 21-14 lead. Hawkins added a 17-yard TD with 2:46 left for a two-touchdown cushion that proved critical as the Cavaliers (5-3, 3-2) made a last charge.
Bryce Perkins' 4-yard scoring pass to Tavares Kelly made it 28-21 with 21 seconds left, and Virginia recovered the onside kick two seconds later at the Louisville 41. The Cavs managed just one more yard, and Perkins' deep pass to the end zone fell incomplete in the rain as time expired.
Cunningham's shovel pass to Tutu Atwell went for a 77-yard TD and a 7-7 tie. Hawkins also had a 2-yard TD run as the Cardinals outgained Virginia 360-311 on a cool, soggy day. Louisville moved within a game of becoming bowl eligible after finishing 2-10 last season.
Virginia's Wayne Taulapapa rushed for two touchdowns while Perkins completed 24 of 41 passes for 233 yards with an interception. But the Cavs lost for the third time in four games and missed a chance to stay firmly atop the ACC's Coastal Division.
Virginia: Just as the Cavaliers appeared back in gear after routing Duke, they took a step back by letting underdog Louisville off the hook. They couldn't contain Louisville's speed and committed two turnovers, one that snuffed a chance to pad a first-half lead with the other leading to the go-ahead TD.
Louisville: The Cardinals have room for improvement but enter a bye one game closer to bowl eligibility, a scenario that seemed impossible when the season started. After struggling against Clemson's defense, Cunningham's arm and quick feet helped them break through against Virginia's eighth-ranked defense.
Virginia: Concludes its road schedule at North Carolina next Saturday.
Louisville: Visits Miami on Nov. 9 in the first meeting between the schools since the Cardinals won 31-13 in their inaugural ACC game.