It wasn't pretty, but it was a victory.
Despite a change in quarterback, which saw true freshman Reggie Bonnafon starting in place of injured Will Gardner, the University of Louisville entered the game against Wake Forest as a three touchdown favorite. The Cardinals not only didn't cover the spread, they didn't even score 21 points.
"Hey, that's a win and we'll take it," Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino said following the 20-10 victory. "It was a struggle. We had to battle really hard."
The offensive woes were similar to those experienced the past few weeks. Three lost fumbles, including one by Bonnafon near U of L's own goal line that resulted in the Demon Deacons only touchdown, moments of line struggles, and an inconsistent passing game continued to hinder the offense's attempt to become more consistent.
"Offensively, we kept killing ourselves," said Petrino.
A dominating defense, which recorded 8 sacks and 3 interceptions, coupled with a gutsy performance from Bonnafon, and excellent running by Brandon Radcliff, allowed the Cardinals to bounce back from a 10-7 deficit to start the fourth quarter.
Radcliff, a sophomore who made his first career start, rushed for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns. U of L gained 215 yards on the ground, including 46 yards from Bonnafon and Michael Dyer going for 45.
Bonnafon finished 16 of 32 for 206 yards. He connected with 8 different receivers, lead by 5 catches by Eli Rogers.
Senior outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin recorded three sacks, while five others also registered a sack. Safety Gerod Holliman grabbed his nation-leading 6th interception. Linebacker James Burgess and defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins also had interceptions.
Check out the post game comments below:
Reggie Bonnafon, Fr., QB
OLB Lorenzo Mauldin, Sr., OLB
RB Brandon Radcliff, So., RB
Jake Smith, Sr., OL