We’ll take ‘em however we can get ‘em.
The box score implies a rather close Louisville win rather than a 15-point NC State win, but hey, sometimes one good quarter is all it takes. When the Cardinals look back at this one, they’ll lament their own missed opportunities and inconsistent offense. Both teams dealt with the latter, and State was a bit better in the margins.
(Yds/Rush calculated with sacks removed.)
Louisville finished 0-3 on fourth down, including a key miss in the fourth quarter that set up a short-field score for NC State. The Cardinals were a little bit worse on third down (6-15 vs. 6-13 for State), missed a field goal, and committed the game’s only turnover. And while Malik Cunningham connected on some big pass plays, he finished just 11-28.
I don’t think Louisville would argue that it played well offensively even though the chunk plays led to a pretty good 6.2 average gain per play. Stringing successful plays together consistently matters, too, and there the Cards were lacking.
Louisville probably should have had a larger cushion on the scoreboard heading into the fourth quarter, and once State finally started sustaining drives, the game completely turned in the Pack’s favor.