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Pittsburgh puts a stop to No. 14 Louisville's perfect start as second-half surge fuels upset

Pittsburgh Christian Veilleux - The Canadian Press

PITTSBURGH -- — Christian Veilleux threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start and M.J. Devonshire returned an interception 86 yards for a game-tilting score late in the third quarter as Pittsburgh upset No. 14 Louisville 38-21 on Saturday night.

The Cardinals (6-1, 3-1 ACC) stumbled a week after an impressive victory over Notre Dame. Louisville turned it over three times while playing most of the game without star running back Jawhar Jordan, who missed all but a handful of plays with an injury.

C'Bo Flemister ran for two scores for Pitt (2-4, 1-2), which snapped a four-game losing streak by returning to a formula that has worked so well for the program during head coach Pat Narduzzi's nine seasons. The Panthers pressured Jack Plummer relentlessly, sacking him three times and forcing him into mistakes.

Plummer completed 29 of 52 passes for 336 yards and a touchdown but also threw multiple interceptions for the third time this season.

Louisville did enough to overcome the picks in wins over Murray State and North Carolina State. A rainy Acrisure Stadium proved to be another matter.

The Cardinals appeared to be in decent shape when Isaac Guerendo's 5-yard touchdown run with 25 seconds left in the first half gave Louisville a 21-14 lead.

It didn't last. The Cardinals did little offensively in the second while Veilleux — promoted to starter in place of struggling senior Phil Jurkovec — did just enough.

The sophomore transfer from Penn State hit Bub Means for a 46-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and orchestrated two long scoring drives, including a 13-play, 61-yard march in the third quarter that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Flemister that put the Panthers up 24-21.

Louisville answered by driving deep into Pitt territory but wide receiver Jamari Thrash was bumped early in his rout, leading to an overthrow by Plummer that ended up in the hands of Devonshire.

The senior cornerback raced the other way for his third career pick-6 to give the Panthers a somewhat improbable 10-point lead.

Louisville couldn't find the second-half magic that had helped carry the program through the first six weeks of head coach Jeff Brohm's homecoming. The Cardinals saw their chance at their first 7-0 start since 2012 vanish under a series of incompletions and missed opportunities.

Louisville's last best chance ended when Thrash slipped out of his break on fourth down. The pass sailed out of reach, leading to a turnover on downs with 3:28 remaining.

Konata Mumpfield ran under a fourth-down Veilleux lob on Pitt's next possession for a 31-yard touchdown that clinched it.


Expect the Cardinals to stumble quite a bit — but probably not out — of the rankings after losing to a team that came in riding a four-game losing streak, three of them decided by at least 11 points.


Louisville: Jordan may even be more important to the Cardinals than they realized. On a night when throwing the ball in the middle of a steady rain was difficult, a consistent running game might have gone a long way.

Pitt: Veilleux has earned a longer look. He played with an aggressiveness and assertiveness that Jurkovec lacked even while playing behind a makeshift line that occasionally had trouble giving him time to throw.


Louisville: Off next week, then begins a stretch of three straight home games when Duke visits on Oct. 28.

Pitt: Visits Wake Forest (3-3, 0-3) next Saturday.


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