Virginia (2-1, 1-0 ACC) may be better than we anticipated. A couple of weeks after shutting down UCLA’s offense, the Cavaliers celebrated a big win over No. 21 Louisville (2-1, 1-1 ACC) the only way college students know how; by storming the field. Virginia let a lead evaporate in the second half against the Cardinals, but took the final lead of the game with 3:42 to play when Ian Frye connected on his third field goal of the game for a 23-21 lead. That would hold for the final score.
Virginia led Louisville 20-7 at halftime, but the Cardinals came alive in the fourth quarter. Dominique Brown scored a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to cap an eight-play drive and about five minutes later the Cardinals took their first lead since 7-0 with a Will Gardner pass to James Quick for a short touchdown. That gave Louisville a 21-20 lead but Virginia was unnerved by the situation. After going down in the fourth quarter, Virginia was forced to punt the ball away on the ensuing possession. That punt was fumbled away by the Louisville special teams and recovered by Virginia for another opportunity from the Louisville 25-yard line. Using the run to force Louisville to use timeouts and run whatever clock they could, Virginia stuck to the ground and set Frye up for the game-winning field goal.
Next week Louisville will stay on the road with a game at Florida International. FIU still causes nightmares for many Louisville fans to this day after T.Y. Hilton‘s field day a few years back, but the Cardinals should be able to head south and return home with a win. FIU jumped out to a 16-0 lead on Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon but could not hold on to it.
Virginia will play its first road game of the season next week against BYU. The Cougars have been one of the top defensive teams in the first month of the season, so Virginia’s offense is not going to have anything come easy in Provo next Saturday. The Virginia defense will have its work cut out for it with BYU quarterback Taysom Hill off to a great start this season.