Overlooked no longer, Jawhar Jordan just put the Louisville Cardinals on the map.
Louisville entered Saturday night's primetime clash against Notre Dame as a 6.5-point underdog, despite an unblemished 5-0 record and playing in front of their home crowd. But, after Saturday, largely thanks to running back Jawhar Jordan and a shockingly dominant defense, Louisville is firmly on everyone's radar. Not only did they upset Notre Dame, but the Cardinals simply looked like the better team for much of the game, coming away with a 33-20 victory.
Jordan was front and center of the Louisville offensive attack, carrying the ball 21 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns. His 45-yard burst in the third quarter gave the Cardinals a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Early in the fourth quarter, Jordan found another big hole, racing 21 yards to the house for a 24-13 Louisville lead. It was the largest deficit Notre Dame has faced this season.
JAWHAR JORDAN IS TOO FAST?
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 8, 2023
Defensively, Louisville held Notre Dame to 3-of-13 on third down and stuffed the Irish run game all night long, keeping the visitors under two yards a carry. The nation's leader in rushing, Audric Estime couldn't do anything, with his longest carry going for six yards. The Cardinals also forced five turnovers and generated a consistent pass rush, overwhelming Notre Dame's highly-touted offensive line with numerous sacks. The Cardinal defense set the tone on the first drive of the day, intercepting Sam Hartman, the first pick thrown by the Irish transfer quarterback all season. Later in the half, they recovered a fumble on a botched Irish handoff.
The first half ended in a 7-7 tie. Louisville went 70 yards after the Hartman interception with quarterback Jack Plummer firing a nine-yard touchdown pass for the game's first score. For Plummer, this victory was especially sweet as the sixth-year signal-caller had lost in consecutive seasons to Notre Dame while quarterbacking for Cal and Purdue over the past two seasons.
Notre Dame later answered with an 88-yard drive, with Hartman finding walk-on wide receiver Jordain Faison for a 36-yard touchdown pass, a play that would prove to be their longest of the night. In fact, in the second half, Notre Dame picked up just 48 yards of offense on their first four drives. They notched six points, thanks largely to long field goals from Spencer Shrader. Louisville grinded away, and soon, Jordan took the game over.
Notre Dame shot themselves in the foot multiple times with penalties. Most crucially, a defensive facemask penalty negated a third-down stop, directly leading to Jordan's 21-yard touchdown sprint in the fourth quarter. That put the Irish firmly in desperation-mode. In fact, so desperate, that Notre Dame went for a 4th-and-11 on their next drive from their own 35-yard-line. They didn't get it, and Louisville was able to tack on a field goal.
If there were any last gasps of Irish hope, they disappeared when Hartman threw his second interception of the day, overshooting in an effort to push the ball to his favorite target, tight end Mitchell Evans. Louisville earned another three points from that turnover, and that put Louisville on top by 17 points, making victory essentially a certainty. The Cardinals faithful stormed the field, as Louisville celebrated the upset victory in front of a crowd of 59,081 - a program attendance record.
Notre Dame will fall out of the top 10 once more, dropping to 5-2 ahead of a battle with USC. Louisville improves to 6-0 and should climb inside the top 20, with a trip to Pitt on the docket next week.
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