In college football, things can change drastically in the course of a week. Just ask Louisville.
Last weekend, the No. 14 Cardinals had a triumphant 33-20 win over Notre Dame in one of the biggest home games for the program in years. With the win, the Cardinals improved to 6-0 in Year 1 under head coach Jeff Brohm, the former Louisville quarterback who was long-coveted as head coach by the fan base.
It was a huge moment for the Cardinals, and it’s fair to wonder if they were experiencing a bit of a hangover from last week’s win as they traveled to play Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Like last Saturday was Louisville’s night, this night belonged to the Panthers as they upset the Cardinals, 38-21.
The Panthers were in the midst of a miserable 1-4 start but they look revitalized after a bye week. During the off week, Pitt made a much-needed quarterback change, going from veteran Phil Jurkovec to Penn State transfer Christian Veilleux.
Veilleux wasn’t spectacular, but he avoided the mistakes that were so prevalent for Jurkovec in the first month of the season. Veilleux completed only 12 of his 26 passing attempts, but he threw two beautiful deep balls for touchdowns.
The first was a 46-yarder to Bub Means in the first quarter in a play that got the Panthers on the scoreboard and gave the offense some confidence.
🤯 Christian Veilleux throws an absolute BOMB to Bub Means!!! pic.twitter.com/lIuDypv9wX
— The CW Sports (@TheCW_Sports) October 14, 2023
And then in the fourth quarter, Pat Narduzzi kept his offense on the field on fourth down with the Panthers leading 31-21. Veilleux officially put the stamp on the upset with a perfectly thrown 31-yard touchdown to Konata Mumpfield.
— The CW Sports (@TheCW_Sports) October 15, 2023
The Panthers only had 288 yards of offense, but the defense forced Louisville into an array of mistakes. Louisville quarterback Jack Plummer turned the ball over three times. He fumbled in Pitt territory in the first half and then tossed two interceptions in the second half. That included an 86-yard pick-six by M.J. Devonshire that came as Louisville was driving to potentially take the lead in the final minute of the third quarter.
Instead of Louisville tying the score at 24-24 or going ahead 28-24, Devonshire’s clutch interception and return flipped the score to 31-21 in favor of Pitt. Louisville would never recover. Plummer was intercepted again on the next drive before the Cardinals’ offense closed out the game with a missed field goal and three turnovers on downs.
In all, Louisville turned it over three times, failed on fourth down four times and was shut out in the second half. That proved to be the recipe for an upset.
With the loss, Louisville falls to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in ACC play entering an off week. The Cardinals are certainly still in contention in the ACC, but any College Football Playoff aspirations the program had for this season took a significant hit with the loss.
Pitt, meanwhile, is now 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the conference. The Panthers will go to Wake Forest next weekend and still has games vs. Notre Dame and Florida State remaining on the schedule. It's doable, but it'll be a difficult path to a potential bowl berth for the Panthers.