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Cardinals survive the Hurricanes; earn spot in ACC championship

With a birth in the ACC Championship Game on the line, the 9-1 Louisville Cardinals ranked 9th in the nation, traveled to South Florida to take on the 6-4 Miami Hurricanes. With the Cardinals focused on earning a spot in the ACC Championship, could the Hurricanes build off a strong performance last week in a losing effort in Tallahassee and play spoiler to the Cardinals? Let's dive into what happened in the game.

With the Hurricanes going back to Tyler Van Dyke after the injury to Emory Williams, the Hurricanes passing game did well. Van Dyke finished with 327 yards and a touchdown. He showed the play style that helped him earn ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 2021. For the Cardinals, Jack Plummer was equally impressive throwing for 308 yards and three touchdowns. Both quarterbacks were able to make a variety of throws and utilize a lot of receivers which kept defenses off balance.

The duo of Xavier Restrepo, eight receptions for 193 yards and a touchdown, and Mark Fletcher Jr., 17 carries for 126 yards and two scores led the way for the Hurricanes. Restrepo and Van Dyke quickly re-established their rapport together to help lead the offense. Fletcher Jr capitalized on the game and ran like a man possessed averaging 7.4 yards per carry on the day. Although Plummer finished with over 300 yards on the game, he utilized 12 different receivers that made life difficult for the Hurricanes secondary. Chris Bell and Nate Kurisky led the way for the receivers with nine receptions for 108 yards and a score between them.

Defensively, both the Hurricanes and Cardinals had their struggles. The lone turnover came via an interception by Kamren Kinchens on a pass by Plummer. The Hurricanes defense, led by James Williams who finished with nine tackles & Kinchens with eight tackles to go along with the interception. The defense did fail to get pressure on Plummer failing to record a sack on the day and only deflecting a single pass. For the Cardinals, Devin Neal led the effort with eight tackles. Mason Reiger did manage to get home and sack the quarterback, and the defense did record two pass deflections.

In the end, the team effort from Louisville escaped with the win 38-31 to move to 10-1 and secure a spot against the fifth-ranked Florida State Seminoles in the ACC Championship. For the Hurricanes, they drop their third straight game falling to 6-5 with a game against Boston College to finish the regular season.


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