Jawhar Jordan gets Louisville on the scoreboard with a one-yard leap for a touchdown (Mike DeZarn photos)>

Time to give credit where it is due. This University of Louisville football team is special. Ranked 15th in the AP and Coaches Poll and 13th in the College Football Playoff ratings, UofL is back on the national radar with full respect and an 8-1 won-lost record.

Raise your hand if you thought the Cardinals would be over the next two games for a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game. Nobody knew this was coming. Making possible reservations for Charlotte the first weekend in December a very real possibility.

Coach Jeff Brohm and his “one game at a time” strategy is working well. He knows what it’s like to get knocked off the mountain. This team has improved since narrow wins over Indiana and North Carolina State. Greatly improved

Pitt was an aberration, soiled by rain, injuries, and a hangover from Notre Dame win.

Louisville’s depth stood out in Saturday’s 34-3 win over Virginia Tech in front of 49,945 at L&N Cardinal Stadium. The defense has strung together eight straight quarters of not allowing a touchdown.  With several starters out because of injury, Louisville needed others to elevate their game.

Jawhar Jordan got things rolling with a touchdown. Then the Wisconsin senior transfer Isaac Guerendo took over. He rushed for a career high 146 yards on 11 carries and three touchdowns.

“We knew about him. We tried to recruit him,” said Tech coach Brent Pry. “He’s tough, a physical back that is mature. He’s in his fifth or sixth year.”

Louisville ran up 382 yards of offense to just 140 for the Hokies. Here is where the defense comes into play. This defense has turned into a nasty hit you in your mouth unit

T.J. Quinn, Cam’ Ron Kelly and backup Storm Duck have formed a solid group. Ashton Gillotte and Jaylin Alderman harass opposing teams with pressure.

“The temperament they played with, I have a lot of respect for,” said Pry. “We’ve played that way at times. Even after we had the drive where we got the field goal, they came right back. You have to be able to maintain that attitude play after play. That was what put them over the top today. They were big and strong, we knew that. They were explosive, we knew that. They managed the game well and they really came to play today.”

The defense is the story of this uprising. After giving up 38 at Pittsburgh (although almost half those points weren’t their fault), the defense has ruled. 

I think they are feeding off each other. I think this team has really gelled together and very well lately.,” said Brohm. “I think they understand what we’re good at, what we’re trying to do, and what we need to improve at. Then we go out there and do what we do best and hope that it works.”

Short week as Virginia (2-7, 1-4) visits Thursday, 7:30 p.m. The Cavaliers are coming off a 45-17 home loss to Georgia Tech.

Isaac Guerendo led the Cardinals with three touchdowns and 146 rushing yards on 11 attempts (MIke DeZarn photo).
The Hawkins family is all in on Louisville football, for at least three generations (Mike DeZarn photo).
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By Ed Peak

Ed Peak has covered UofL sports since 1973, as a student reporter, as a correspondent for the Courier-Journal, a freelancer for the Associated Press and United Press International, as well as ScoreCard, Fox Sports and CBS radio.

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