WVU vs. Louisville Game Recap - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU vs. Louisville Game Recap

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Nick Arthur, Morgantown -

The No. 24 West Virginia Mountaineers were unable to complete a second-half comeback while being upset by the Louisville Cardinals 38-35 Saturday afternoon at Milan Puskar Stadium.

West Virginia fell to 6-3 overall and 2-2 in Big East Conference play.

"Not a very hard one to figure out," West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said. "You lose the turnover battle. You go 0-2 on field goals. That gets you beat."

Following a long return from Brad Starks on the opening kickoff, the Mountaineers were able to score first. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith found wide receiver Tavon Austin for a 25-yard touchdown reception, and the home team led 7-0 less than a minute into the game.

Louisville used effective running on its first possession of the game and was able to respond quickly. Cardinals' running back Jeremy Wright rushed for an 8-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7 apiece.

West Virginia was forced to punt on its second possession and Louisville took advantage. The Cardinals drove 78 yards on seven plays and running back Senorise Perry's 13-yard touchdown run gave Louisville its first lead of the game, 14-7.

West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin was able to record back-to-back sacks at the end of the first quarter and seemed to shift momentum. The Mountaineers capped off their next drive with a 5-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Stedman Bailey to tie the game at 14.

The Mountaineers forced another Louisville punt. Geno Smith led a 13-play 65 yard drive to the Louisville 2-yard line and running back Shawne Alston finished it off with a 2-yard touchdown run to give West Virginia a 21-14 lead.

West Virginia punting problems reappeared in the second quarter. Michael Molinari had two punts for less than 15 yards and gave Louisville excellent field position.

"We couldn't punt, couldn't kick and we just lost the battle," said Holgorsen.

The Cardinals were able to take advantage of the poor punting just before halftime, as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater found Eli Rogers for a 4-yard touchdown reception. The game was tied 21-21 at halftime.

Teddy Bridgewater was impressive in the first half. In fact, he completed his first ten passes and was 12-13 at halftime for 149 yards.

Louisville's first possession of the second half ended with an interception by West Virginia linebacker Najee Goode. It was Goode's second interception of his career. The Mountaineers appeared to be in great position to break the tie, but kicker Tyler Bitancurt missed a 32-yard field goal attempt and the game remained tied at 21.

West Virginia running back Andrew Buie fumbled on the Mountaineers' next possession and Louisville took over at the West Virginia 15-yard line. But, the West Virginia defense held strong and forced Louisville to settle for a field goal. The Cardinals led 24-21 with 6:24 left in the third quarter.

Sloppy play for both teams followed until the end of the third quarter. Tyler Bitancurt attempted a 23-yard field goal to begin the fourth quarter. But, it was blocked by the Cardinals and returned for a touchdown. Louisville held a 31-21 advantage with 14:48 left to play.

West Virginia responded with a 96-yard touchdown drive. Shawne Alston ran for his second touchdown of the game and the Mountaineers trailed by 3, 31-28, with 9:01 remaining in the game.

Louisville was able to run some clock on its next possession. The Cardinals marched deep into West Virginia territory. Running back Dominique Brown completed the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run and Louisville led 38-28.

Geno Smith threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Stedman Bailey with 42.5 seconds left and Louisville led 38-35.

But it was too late for the Mountaineers.

An onside kick attempt by West Virginia was unsuccessful and Louisville hung on for the upset.

"Words can't explain it," Geno Smith said. "It was a total team loss. We didn't make enough plays on offense to win the game, and that's what hurts the most. We all played hard, we just didn't execute to the best of our abilities."

Smith finished the game 31-44 for 410 yards and 3 touchdowns. It marked the second time this season Smith threw for more than 400 yards in a losing effort.

"Personal accomplishments have never meant anything to me and they never will," Smith said. "It's about winning and losing. And right now we're definitely not doing what it takes to win.

Stedman Bailey led the team in receiving with 8 receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater finished 21-27 for 246 yards and a touchdown.

 

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