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Wake Forest vs. Louisville: The Critical Plays

Louisville defeated Wake Forest 20-10. What critical plays did Louisville make that Wake Forest didn't?

Andy Lyons

In every close game there are inevitably a handful of plays the winning team made that the losing team simply did not. That was no different when the Louisville Cardinals defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 20-10 on September 27th. Let's take a look at the few plays where Louisville stepped up and Wake Forest made mistakes.

John Wolford intercepted by James Burgess in the 2nd quarter

Wake Forest was up 3-0 in the 2nd quarter and were on the Louisville 17, where they faced a critical 3rd and 8. Quarterback John Wolford actually had reasonable protection on this play, but tried to fit the ball into a very tight window to tight end Cam Serigne, but James Burgess had it defended the entire way. The ball was thrown behind Serigne, but there really wasn't a throw there since safety help was also coming from the opposite side. The Louisville defense was the second best in the country according to Football Outisders' S&P+ ratings, and Wolford should not have attempted this pass against that defense.

John Wolford Intercepted by Sheldon Rankins late in the 3rd quarter on shovel-option pass

I wasn't a fan of this play call in general, but Wolford also made the mistake of releasing the ball to E.J. Scott. Wolford should have taken the sack and lived for a field goal attempt, but instead he blindly forced it to Scott and Rankins was there to pick it off. Rankins made an incredible play, as he read the play, blew through Scott and intercepted it. The team was up 10-7 and the special teams unit had just stuffed a fake punt run to give the Wake Forest offense excellent field position. Unfortunately, the Deacs had another costly turnover near the red zone.

Reggie Bonnafon rushes for 16 yards on 3rd and 13 to start the 4th quarter

Wake Forest was up by a field goal and the Cardinals had a 3rd and 13. All the Deacs had to do was prevent Louisville from gaining 13 yards, and Louisville probably would have punted. Instead, Bonnafon rushes down the right hand side of the field (essentially untouched) and that felt like a real back breaker. Later in the drive Brandon Radcliff had a 14 yard touchdown run that put the Cardinals up for good.

Any plays that I missed or that you thought were more important? Let me know in the comments below.