Remember the last time the University of Louisville football team visited Wake Forest in 2019? Shootout to the first degree. The Cardinals eking out a 62-59 win that helped propel them to a second place finish in the ACC’s Atlantic Division.
Circumstances are similar this week, except that first place is on the line. Louisville (3-1, 1-1) has won three straight and the Demon Deacons (4-0, 2-0,) are ranked 24th. Both teams have stellar offenses, suggesting another offensive explosion.
“I think every year Wake Forest is is one of the most well coached teams that we play,” said Louisville Coach Scott Satterield. “Coach (Dave) Clawson and his staff do a great job. I have a lot of respect for him.
“He gets a lot out of his players, and they are playing at a high level right now in all three phases. They have a lot of players that have been around their program for the last two, three years.”
One of those players is third year sophomore Sam Hartman. In three games passing against UofL, Hartman is 42 for 80 for 619 yards with five touchdowns. In a 56-35 rout of Louisville in 2018, Hartman was 16 of 34 for 223 yards. This season Hartman is 74 of 112 for 66.1 percent and has thrown at least one touchdown pass in eight straight games dating back to last season and 18 total to seven different receivers during that span.
“Hartman is playing at a high level right now operating their offense,” said Satterfield. “They are very efficient and take care of the ball.”
Hartman’s main target is A. T. Perry who has three touchdown receptions while Jaquari Roberson has two and Taylor Morin. Wake Forest has done most of its damage running the football averaging 188.3 yards per game and 38.8 points a game. Christian Beal-Smith has 276 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Christian Turner has 174 yards and four touchdowns.
The defense has been highly effective, permitting an average of 14.2 points, ninth nationally. “Defensively they are very aggressive and getting after it,” said Satterfield. “The defensive line and linebackers really get after it.” The Deacons are fifth in the nation in takeaways with 11 (four fumbles and seven interceptions).
Luke Masterson, a red-shirt senior leads the team in tackles with 27, 18 are unassisted and has two tackles for loss. Luiji Vilain, a graduate student lineman has 3 1/2 sacks as does Rondell Bothroyd a redshirt sophomore.
Wake Forest has one of the best field goal kickers in the nation in junior Nick Sciva who has made 64 of his 71 field goals and has made all seven this season. He has made all 97 extra point kicks during his career.