Things didn't go as hoped on a night that No. 5 Louisville entered as a five touchdown favorite and in search of style points against visiting Wake Forest, but a 34-point fourth quarter erased worries and highlighted a Cardinals 44-12 win.
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The Cardinals offense, which ranks first nationally in scoring and total yards, struggled to find its footing throughout the opening quarters. Four turnovers, three recovered by the Demon Deacons, couple with four sacks limited U of L's high-octane offense to just 128 total yards. A 28-yard field goal by Blanton Creque with 22 seconds remaining in the first half pulled the Cardinals with 12-3 at the break.
The expected highlight reel offense didn't surface in the second half either. The Cardinals most successful drive of the third quarter was just two plays long. Capped by a Brandon Radcliff 55-yard touchdown, the short drive provides evidence of Louisville's offensive woes against the Demon Deacons. Entering the final quarter, U of L had managed just 237 total yards with just 57 through the air.
Louisville enjoyed its first sustained drive of the evening with its first in the fourth quarter. Highlighted by a 12-yard pass from Jackson to Reggie Bonnafon to convert a 4th and two play, U of L drove 65 yards on nine plays with Radcliff scoring on a seven yard burst. Radcliff found the end zone for a third time when he broke free for a 19-yard run to complete a four play drive.
Jackson connected for his first passing touchdown of the evening late in the fourth quarter when he found tight end Cole Hikutini for a two-yard score.
Ronald Walker added to the Cardinals high-scoring fourth quarter with an interception returned 32 yards for a touchdown.
Running back Malik Williams topped the team's explosive final 15 minutes with a 2 yard touchdown run.
The Cardinals senior running back finished with 141 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries. His 55-yard score was the longest of his career and it was his fourth 100-yard outing of the season.
Lamar Jackson established a new school record for total yards responsible for, surpassing Teddy Bridgewater's 2013 mark of 4,048. He finished 14 of 26 throwing for 145 yards while also rushing for 153 yards on 22 carries.
The Cardinals top-ten ranked defense held the Demon Deacons to 213 yards of offense, including just 72 on the ground. Devonte Fields registered three of the team's seven sacks and four of the 13 tackles for a loss.
Up next for Louisville is a trip to Houston for a Thursday night meeting against former Conference USA rival Houston.