The Louisville Cardinals traveled to the Carrier Dome for an ACC battle with the Syracuse Orange on Friday night.
Bobby Petrino and the Cards were looking to move to 5-1 (3-1) on the season. Unlike many of Petrino's past teams, it is the defense that has carried UL this season. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has worked wonders with this defensive unit, which ranks highly in the NCAA in many defensive categories.
That defense figured to be tested Friday by a relentless rushing attack from the Orange. Led by dual-threat quarterback Terrel Hunt, Syracuse was averaging 232.5 yards on the ground through four games. After dropping consecutive games to Maryland and Notre Dame, the Orange (2-2) were hoping to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2011.
But ultimately, the Orange lacked the offensive punch to pull of the upset.
The Cardinals led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter, after moving the ball effectively on the ground.
The Cardinals top-ranked rush defense did the job in the second quarter, forcing a safety when the Orange were backed up on their own 1-yard line.
Syracuse had their chances in the second half, but failed to truly threaten their opposition. A Cole Murphy field goal cut the lead to 12-6, but Brandon Radcliff found the end zone for the second time to push the lead to 19-6 at the end of the third quarter.
From there it was academic for the Cardinals. Reggie Bonnafon found Gerald Christian for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to cement the win. The defense produced its second safety of the game in the later stages of the game to make the final score 28-6.