By Cole Emery —

The Cards won the Music City Bowl for the second time in team history, defeating Mississippi State 38-28.

Louisville (8-5, 5-3) began well defensively, forcing a punt on Mississippi State’s first drive. 

On the Cards’ first offensive drive they drove 96 yards, but junior Dez Fitzpatrick fumbled on the one yard line. 

The Bulldogs capitalized on the turnover in only eight plays and capped it off with a rushing touchdown by senior Tommy Stevens.

At the beginning of the second quarter, Mississippi State (6-7, 3-5) scored after they drove down the field for 80 yards. Senior Nick Gibson scored off a rushing touchdown for three yards. 

During that drive, junior Dorian Etheridge was ejected from the game for kicking another player.

The following drive for the Cards only took five plays to reach the end-zone. Sophomore Micale Cunningham made plays through the air and ground for 43 yards, bringing the Cards to the Bulldog’s 33 yard line. 

The Cards brought out a trick play which paid off. Sophomore Tutu Atwell threw a passing touchdown for a double pass to freshman Marshon Ford. This touchdown brought the Cards to a 14-7 deficit.

On the following kick-off, sophomore Ternell Troutman forced a fumble that freshman James Turner recovered, giving the Cardinals possession at the Bulldog’s 32 yard line. The drive was stalled after several penalties and a failed fourth down attempt. 

After forcing a punt, the Cardinals drove down the field behind the arm of Cunningham. Sophomore Ryan Chalifoux kicked a field goal as time expired going into halftime. 

The Bulldogs took the lead into halftime 14-10.

Cunningham threw several touchdowns in the second half to senior Devante Peete and Ford. 

On a kickoff, graduate Gary McCrae forced a fumble that senior Khane Pass recovered for a 31 yard touchdown. This gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game 17-14 with 2:51 left in the third quarter.

Freshman Javian Hawkins got a five yard touchdown for the Cards after stopping the Bulldogs on fourth down. This gave Louisville a 38-21 lead with 2:13 left in the game. 

Stevens threw a late touchdown to junior Osirus Mitchell for 24 yards with 27 seconds left in the game, but it was not enough as the Cards recovered the onside kick. 

Cunningham finished with 279 passing yards, 81 rushing yards and two passing touchdowns. Atwell caught nine passes for 147 yards and threw a passing touchdown to Ford who caught two touchdowns during the contest. Hawkins ran for 105 yards and a touchdown.

File photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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