LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Virginia Tech was overpowered by No. 13 Louisville on Saturday at L&N Federal Credit Union Stadium, falling 34-3.
The Cardinals (8-1, 5-1 ACC) scored on their first two possessions and immediately put the Hokies (4-5, 3-2 ACC) on their heels. Jawhar Jordan had a 1-yard touchdown run with 6:53 in the first quarter before Isaac Guerendo scored on a 39-yard run on the first play of the second quarter.
Tech got on the board on the last play of the first half via a career-long 44-yard field goal by John Love, but it was the only points it generated all afternoon. The offense had one red-zone trip, advancing as far as the Louisville 12 right before halftime, but a pass interference pushed the unit back to the 27, where it settled for three points.
The Cardinal defense lived in the Hokies’ backfield and got to quarterback Kyron Drones four times. That pressure started early when T.J. Quinn and Stephen Herron took down Drones on the first play of the game for a 10-yard loss, and they had sacks on the second and third series, too.
It wasn’t until the middle of the third quarter when Louisville put the game out of reach, however. After the Hokies forced a three-and-out on the Cardinals’ first possession of the second half, Jeff Brohm’s group responded quickly on their next possession with a five-play, 63-yard drive, capped off by a 37-yard reception from Jadon Thompson. It was the only passing touchdown of the day for Jack Plummer (11-of-12, 141 yards).
Trailing 21-3, Tech handed the ball right back when Drones (12-of-21, 69 yards) threw his second pick of the season. He tried to hit Da’Quan Felton on a crossing route over the middle, but the pass was broken up by Storm Duck, and the ball popped up in the air for T.J. Quinn. The Cardinals quickly extended their lead three plays later when Guerendo punched it in from 12 yards out. Kicker Brock Travelstead missed the ensuing extra point, leaving the score at 27-3.
It wasn’t a completely terrible outing for the Virginia Tech defense — it got its first red zone stop of the season in the first half when Travelstead missed a 31-yard field goal, and it forced four punts in the second half — but it had no help from the offense. The Cardinals stymied the Hokies and had seven tackles for loss. That said, the Hokies gave up a season-high 7.5 yards per play. Louisville had 382 yards on just 51 offensive plays.
Tech punted seven times throughout the afternoon on 11 drives and only advanced into Louisville territory twice. The offense, which posted 140 yards, finished below 200 yards for the first time since a 17-13 loss vs. Pitt on Oct. 2015.
The icing on the cake for the Cardinals was a 36-yard rush from Guerendo with 8:16 remaining in the fourth quarter, his third score of the day. Though Jordan was limited to 57 yards on 14 attempts, Guerendo sparked the Louisville offense, finishing with 146 yards on 11 carries (13.3 average). Brohm’s offense posted 382 total yards, 231 of which came on the ground.
A trip to Chestnut Hill is up next for the Hokies. They’ll face Boston College at noon on Saturday, Nov. 11, from Alumni Stadium, needing two wins in the final three games to qualify for a bowl game.
Box Score: No. 13 Louisville 34, Virginia Tech 3