Jawhar Jordan, No. 25 Louisville upsets No. 10 Notre Dame
The Louisville Cardinals (6-0) likely ended the College Football Playoff hopes for Notre Dame (5-2) after a dominate 33-20 home victory on Saturday night.
The Cardinals are steered by first-year head coach Jeff Brohm, who was the quarterback for Louisville for four seasons (’89-’93). Louisville welcomed 25 new transfer portal players at the beginning of the 2023 season and are now 6-0, their best start in 10 years.
Louisville were led by junior halfback Jawhar Jordan, who accounted for 143 rushing yards with a per carry average of 6.8 yards along with two touchdowns. Cardinals senior pass thrower Jake Plummer (sixth overall season) threw for 145 yards and a touchdown. Junior wideout Jamari Thrash tallied 75 reception yards along with a touchdown. The Cardinals defense ultimately was the story of this game, as they sacked Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman five times and picked him off three times.
Hartman had his worst statistical outing this season. Prior to this game, Hartman hadn’t turned the ball over, but threw three interceptions against a Louisville defense that garnered immense pressure on him all game long. The former Wake Forest quarterback tossed for 264 passing yards, two touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. The Fighting Irish are currently in the midst of playing four straight prime-time games against ranked teams (against Ohio State, Duke, Louisville, and USC).
The Irish received the ball first to start the matchup and Hartman went 3/3 on passes until he threw his first interception on the season to Louisville defensive back Quincy Riley. The Cardinals first possession was capped off with a nine yard touchdown run by Jordan on a nine play, 70-yard drive to put Louisville on top 7-0 at the halfway point in the opening quarter.
Notre Dame’s offensive line struggled to contain the Cardinals pass rush, as they sacked Hartman on a 3rd and 5, thus forcing them to punt on their next drive. After two stagnant Louisville drives and one inert Notre Dame drive, the Fighting Irish found the endzone after Hartman completed a 36-yard touchdown pass to walk-on freshman wideout Jordan Faison to tie the game 7-7 at the 6:58 mark in the second quarter.
Louisville endured another 3 and out due to Notre Dame’s solid pass coverage on their ensuing possession. Hartman and the Notre Dame offense went 3 and out, but Louisville jumped offsides on the punt, thus keeping the ball with the Irish. Notre Dame faced a 3rd and short situation that led to senior pass catcher Chris Tyree to fumble the ball and it was recovered by the Cardinals.
Jeff Brohm’s team had a chance to take a 10-7 lead at halftime, but Louisville junior kicker Brock Travelstead missed a 42-yard field goal attempt to keep the game tied at 7-7 going into halftime.
In the first half, Notre Dame struggled on the ground by only garnering 22 total rushing yards with a per carry average of 1.3 yards. As for the Cardinals, Plummer only tossed for 57 total yards with a per throw average of 3.0, respectively.
Louisville opened the second half with possession, but on the first play, Thrash fumbled the ball after making a first down reception. Notre Dame capitalized on the turnover with a successful 53-yard field goal by senior kicker Spencer Shrader. The Irish led 10-7 at the 13:18 mark in the third quarter.
Plummer led the Cardinals offense on a methodical drive downfield that ended with a 44-yard field goal by Travelstead to tie the game at 10 a piece. Notre Dame’s next possession ended in a 3 and out due to the Cardinals strong run defense. At this point, the Irish were 1/8 on third downs.
Jordan put the Cardinals back in front after a 45-yard rushing touchdown on Louisville’s next possession. Louisville led 17-10 at the 5:45 mark in the third quarter.
Hartman and the offense led a promising drive downfield, and even converted on a 3rd and 13 situation during the drive. Notre Dame faced another 3rd and short and was halted by the physical Louisville defense. The Fighting Irish elected to attempt a 54-yard field goal that was successful by Shrader to make the score 17-13 with a 1:04 remaining in the third quarter.
Louisville’s next possession began at their own 25-yard line. Notre Dame’s defense had a chance to halt Plummer and the Cardinals offense, but Fighting Irish linebacker Marist Liufau was called for a face mask penalty. Louisville’s drive continued and it was capped off with a 21-yard touchdown run by Jordan to put the Cardinals on top 24-13 with 11:12 remaining.
The Cardinals at this point had all the momentum as the 4th quarter reached its midway point. Notre Dame had possession and continued to struggle against Louisville’s pass rush. The Fighting Irish were on their own 35-yard line on fourth down with just over 9 minutes remaining, and Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman elected to go for it surprisingly. Hartman and the offense failed to convert, thus giving the ball back to the Cardinals.
Louisville ended their next drive with a successful 45-yard field goal attempt by Travelstead. Louisville led 27-13 with 7:31 remaining. Notre Dame had one last chance to make the game interesting, but Hartman threw his second interception that essentially put the game out of reach.
Hartman ended up tossing a touchdown pass to junior tight-end Mitchell Evans and threw his third and final interception as the game concluded.
Louisville controlled the game, especially at the line of scrimmage defensively. The Cardinals defense held star Notre Dame halfback Audric Estime to 20 rushing yards( 2.0 yards per carry) and only 44 total rushing yards collectively. Due to the lack of a rushing attack, it led for Louisville to garner pressure on Hartman which forced him to make costly mistakes and disrupt his reads.
Notre Dame will now head home to battle Caleb Williams and USC next weekend while Louisville travels to Pittsburgh next Saturday.