CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Lamar Jackson floated a 29-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Smith with 13 seconds remaining and No. 5 Louisville survived a frenetic finish to beat Virginia 32-25 on Saturday.
Jackson’s fourth touchdown pass kept the Cardinals (7-1, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) in College Football Playoff picture, and couldn’t have hurt the Heisman Trophy frontrunner’s candidacy. Virginia (2-6, 1-3) had scored with 1:57 remaining and used a 2-point conversion to take a 25-24 lead.
Jackson did not have one of his best days, getting sacked five times and turning the ball over twice, but on the final drive, he ran for 18 yards, hit Cole Hikutini in traffic for 5 yards on fourth-and-3 and ran twice more for 16 yards before hitting Smith in the end zone with a perfectly placed pass over tight coverage by Juan Thornhill.
The Cavaliers had driven 75 yards in 14 plays, getting a 30-yard pass from Kurt Benkert to Keeon Johnson on fourth-and-7 to put the ball at the Cardinals 4. A TD throw to Doni Dowling on the next play and then Benkert’s 2-point conversion pass to Albert Reid to put the Cavaliers ahead by a point with 1:57 left
Louisville: No style points for the Cardinals, but having Jackson makes up for a lot of problems. Penalties and dropped passes were a nuisance in the first half.
Virginia: Coaches never admit to appreciating moral victories, but in a season of change under Bronco Mendenhall his players had to love the confidence shown in them by going for 2 in the final minutes.
Louisville: The Cardinals travel North for its final conference road game of the season against Boston College.
Virginia: The Cavaliers go on the road for the first time in more than a month to face surprising Wake Forest.