LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Fueled by an opportunistic defense, Louisville used a 35-point third quarter to knock off No. 10 Wake Forest 48-21.
The Cardinals (5-3, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) forced eight turnovers, all of which came in the second half. Louisville forced six turnovers in the third quarter as coach Scott Satterfield took his first win against a top 10 team.
Louisville needed a rally after losing a 13-0 lead they held a minute into the second quarter. A defense that’s improved in recent weeks provided that spark and then some.
Kei'Trel Clark‘s 46-yard interception return for a touchdown gave Louisville a 20-14 lead 47 seconds into the second half. The period ended with a 90-yard pick six by Quincy Riley to provide Louisville with a 34-point lead.
Louisville’s 35-point third quarter tied a record for the most points in a quarter against an AP Top 10-ranked team. It had occurred three times previously, most recently by then-No. 5 Oklahoma against then-No. 2 Texas Tech on Nov. 22, 2008.
“The third quarter was remarkable,” Satterfield said. “I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve been in this game a long time.”
Wake Forest entered Saturday having committed just five turnovers in its first seven games. According to ESPN, Wake Forest was the first team in at least 15 years to commit eight turnovers in a half.
Seven Louisville players accounted for the four interceptions and four fumble recoveries.
However, Louisville’s win was built on more than the turnovers. The Cardinals also registered eight sacks, each from a different player.
Quarterback Sam Hartman completed 20 of 35 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown while throwing three picks for the Demon Deacons (6-2, 2-2).
Hartman also lost three fumbles and was sacked seven times as he was benched to start the fourth quarter. However, Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said some mistakes were hard to put on his fifth-year quarterback and called the game a “disaster.”
“Clearly, I did not have our football team ready today,” Clawson said.
Louisville’s Tiyon Evans ran for 106 yards on 11 carries, including a 52-yard touchdown, in his first action since the Boston College game on Oct. 1.
This week, Wake Forest made the top 10 for the second consecutive year and for just the second time in its history. Unfortunately, the Demon Deacons’ stay will be brief once again.
Wake Forest: After committing two turnovers last week in the win against Boston College, Clawson was worried about committing turnovers against a rejuvenated Louisville defense. There was no way he could even imagine his team committing more in one half than they did in the entire 2020 season.
Louisville: The once-inconsistent Cardinals won their third straight game. The schedule is still very tough the rest of the way, and the Cardinals still aren’t bowl eligible. However, if Satterfield is on the Louisville sidelines next season, this game will be a major reason why.
Wake Forest travels to North Carolina State for a night game next Saturday.
Louisville hosts James Madison next Saturday night.