The University of Louisville entered Saturday's game versus North Carolina State with the goal of finding consistency on offense and continuing to dominate on defensive side of the ball.
Sparked by the return of senior receiver DeVante Parker and the running Michael Dyer, the Cardinals offense enjoyed a more fluid outing and the defense limited the Wolfpack to just one touchdown in a 30-18 victory.
Parker tied a career-high with 9 receptions to go with 132 yards, while Dyer eclipsed the century mark for the first time at U of L, totaling 173 yards and a touchdown.
Junior safety James Sample led the defense with a game-high 11 tackles. Four Cardinals – James Burgess, B.J. Dubose, Lorenzo Mauldin and Sheldon Rankins – recorded a sack, and safety Gerod Holliman snagged his nation's best 8th interception.
PLAY OF THE GAME: With Louisville holding a trim 10-6 lead late in the second quarter, Will Gardner connected with DeVante Parker for 21 yards to spark a drive and set up the eventual play of the game. Gardner connected on 5 of 7 passes for 40 yards and Dyer ran for 27 yards on 3 carries to help the Cardinals reach the Wolfpack 3 yard line. Two consecutive rushes led to nothing and the Cardinals faced a 3rd & goal when Gardner found Kai De La Cruz for a touchdown strike and a 17-6 lead at the half.
GAME BALL: Difficult decision, so I'm handing off the game ball to a pair of guys that have been waiting for their time to shine this season – Michael Dyer and DeVante Parker. Dyer followed an excellent week of practice with the best outing of his career, which included a 48-yard run late in the game to give the Cardinals the final advantage.
THEY SAID IT: Will Gardner on the offense: “We took big strides in the right way today. We're not a finished product, but we are getting there.”
THEY SAID IT: Bobby Petrino on DeVante Parker: “He played really well. What I was really impressed with was how he ran after the catch. I thought he'd get open and I thought he'd catch the ball, but I didn't expect to see that many yards after the catch.”
BY THE NUMBERS: 173 – total rushing yards by senior Michael Dyer, which is first 100+ yard game of his Cardinal career. 9 – Despite missing the previous 8 contests with a foot injury, DeVante Parker equaled his career-high for receptions to go with 132 yards. 4 – season low number of penalties called against the Cardinals. 11 – total tackles by junior safety James Sample. 8 – It came on the last play of the game, but safety Gerod Holliman recorded his nation's best 8th interception.
UP NEXT: Louisville will have next weekend off as it prepares to host defending national champion Florida State for a Thursday night contest at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.