The constants remained the same for the University of Louisville on Friday night at Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. The Cardinals defense continued it's dominating performance and the offense fought through penalties and turnovers to defeat the Orange 28-6.
Syracuse entered the game averaging over 450 yards per game, including 230 coming on the ground, but against the third-ranked U of L defense managed just 266 total yards, with on 69 rushing yards. The defense received interceptions from safeties James Sample and Gerod Holliman, increasing his nation-leading total to seven. Linebacker Keith Kelsey led the team with 9 tackles.
The Louisville offense displayed signs of consistency against Syracuse. While it struggled with a host of penalties and a pair of turnovers, the Cardinals maintained three scoring drives of more than 65 yards.
For the second consecutive game, running back Brandon Radcliff sparked the offense with another 100-yard outing. Making his second consecutive start, Reggie Bonnafon was steady in his performance, completing 12 of 22 for 174 yards and touchdown, with one interception. James Quick led all receivers with 4 receptions for 44 yards.
Play of the Game: There were a number of impressive defensive plays of the night, but the one that kept the Syracuse offense out of the end zone during the early minutes of the second half gets the nod.
Following Syracuse's biggest offensive play of the game – a 48-yard catch and run by Ben Lewis – the Cardinals faced the tough challenge of 1st and goal at the 1-yard line. With U of L holding a slim 12-3 lead, linebacker Deiontrez Mount exploded through the middle the line and met Orange back Prince-Tyson Gulley for a 3 yard loss.
A series of offensive penalties followed for the Orange who had to settle for a 24-yard field goal.
Game Ball: What a two game stretch being enjoyed by running back Brandon Radcliff. The sophomore followed a 129-yard, two touchdown performance against Wake Forest with a second straight outing eclipsing the century mark.
Radcliff received the bulk of the running plays, logging 23 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
A four-yard scoring run late in the first quarter gave U of L it's first lead at 7-3, while his third quarter 14-yard touchdown run built a 19-6 advantage.
They Said It: Bobby Petrino on the offense...
“Offensively we had our struggles, but the guys kept working hard, concentrating and believed in each other. This is a good team win for us.”
They Said It: Bobby Petrino on Brandon Radcliff...
“He had a great game. I thought our offensive line got better and opened up some holes.”
They Said It: Bobby Petrino on Reggie Bonnafon...
“He did a great job for us. It's all about winning and making plays. I thought he came out and executed well at times.””
By The Numbers: 51 – yards John Wallace career-best field goal that gave U of L a 9-3 lead... 12 – number of U of L's nation-leading team interceptions after 2 more against Syracuse... 9 – penalties called against the Cardinals against Syracuse... 9 – total tackles by Keith Kelsey... 51 – receiving yards on 2 catches by Matt Milton... 5 – number of Ryan Johnson's seven punts that landed inside the 20.
Up Next: The schedule toughens up next week as the Cardinals travel to Clemson. Kickoff is against the Tigers is slated for 3:30 p.m.