Louisville and Virginia have met five times over the years, with each coming down to the final minutes of the game and the 2016 meeting followed that same script.
The fifth-rated Cardinals arrived at Charlottesville as a near five-touchdown favorite, but needed a last minute 29-yard touchdown from Lamar Jackson to Jaylen Smith to secure a 32-25 victory over the Cavaliers.
"Wow, that was hard," U of L head coach Bobby Petrino said. "It took all day long, but I'm very proud of my team."
First quarter U of L miscues, including multiple dropped passes, turnovers and ill-timed penalties, all assisted in the Cardinals struggling during the game's first quarter and a 10-7 deficit after 15 minutes of play, an advantage that Virginia maintained through halftime.
After forcing the Cardinals to punt on after its second half opening-series, the Cavaliers posted a six-play, 69-yard touchdown drive to grab a 17-7 lead early in the third quarter. Highlighted by an interception by Jaire Alexander that set-up the Cardinals third touchdown of the afternoon, Louisville responded with 17 unanswered points and held its first lead, 24-17, midway through the fourth quarter.
Virginia answered with a 10-play 44-yard touchdown scoring drive that erased four minutes of game time. The Cavs converted a two-point conversion to regain the lead, 25-24, with two minutes remaining to play.
Not having his best outing the season, Jackson led the Cardinals to victory during the games final moments. The sophomore began the final drive with an 18-yard run. Three plays later, facing a convert-or-go-home fourth-down, Jackson connected with Cole Hikutini for a first down at midfield. Following back-to-back runs that gained 15 more yards, Jackson lofted a deep ball into the end zone that was hauled in by Smith.
The Cardinals added a two-point conversion for the final margin.
Jackson finished 24 of 41 for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Now with at least one touchdown pass in 11 straight games, the Heisman Trophy frontrunner connected with seven different receivers. Senior Jamari Staples lead all with seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown, with Hikutini finishing with six receptions for 89 yards. Jackson added an additional 90 yards on the ground.
Alexander recorded two interceptions in the win, plus had another pass break-up and six total tackles. Chucky Williams led all U of L defenders with eight total stops.
Louisville, which entered the game No. 1 nationally in scoring and total yards, out-gained Virginia 508-322.
Up next for the Cardinals (7-1, 5-1) is a trip to ACC foe Boston College (4-4, 1-4) on Saturday, Nov. 5.