Parker gets career high and play of the day

The University of Louisville football team made some huge plays on Saturday in a 45-35 win over Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. But the biggest sequence came late in the first half, sparking the Cardinals and beginning a 24-0 surge.

The University of Louisville football team outscored Pittsburgh 21-0 in the third quarter on its way to a 45-35 win over the host Panthers on Saturday.

But the game changed before halftime.

U of L coach Charlie Strong agreed with Cardinal Authority in the biggest play came late in the first half that led to a John Wallace 45-yard field goal.

"We felt the game changed right before halftime," Strong said.

It all started when Pittsburgh, who finished 0-for-3 on fourth-down conversions, went for it on fourth-and-one at the U of L 42. Marcus Smith and Keith Brown came up with a stop of Rushel Shell with 51 seconds left.

U of L quarterback Teddy Bridgewater then hit Jeremy Wright for a 2-yard gain before throwing two incompletions. But Strong opted to go for it on fourth-and-eight from the U of L 45 with 22 seconds left.

And that's when DeVante Parker made the play of the game.

Already having overthrown Parker on two downfield passes in the half, Bridgewater stepped up into the pocket and fired down the left side of the field. Parker adjusted to the ball and made the catch for a 27-yard gain.

Strong called it an "unbelievable catch," and Bridgewater said he has "a lot of confidence" in Parker. The Cardinals quickly rushed to the line, spiked the ball and Wallace nailed the field goal to make it 21-17.

Parker caught a 75-yard TD pass on The Opening play of the second half as the Cardinals went on to build a 38-21 lead on the Panthers.

"We've been very fortunate the last few weeks to score a touchdown right before halftime," Strong said. "At halftime, we were only down 21-17. Knowing we would have the ball at the start of the second half, we had momentum."

Parker, a sophomore from Ballard High School, had four catches for a career-high 153 yards and the one TD.

"Teddy just threw it up and I got it," Parker said. "They were playing man. We knew we could beat that and just had to make big plays."

It's the second game in a row with a TD for Parker, who had six in 18 catches as a freshman but didn't find the end zone in the first four games of this season.

On Saturday, he found the end zone and made the play of the day.

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