LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Virginia found itself down against Louisville as Saturday afternoon turned to Saturday evening, but quarterback Brennan Armstrong was not out. He was lights out. The junior quarterback threw for 487 yards on 40-of-60 passing, capping that performance with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Grant Misch with 22 seconds left to give the Cavaliers a stunning 34-33 comeback victory over Louisville on Saturday.
Virginia (4-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed 30-13 with 89 seconds left in the third quarter before starting its comeback. At that moment, the betting site FanDuel offered -5000 in-game odds on the host team, implying the Cardinals had a better than 98 percent of winning. Armstrong had other ideas, and one of them was not to quit.
“You do all this work, sometimes you don’t perform well, but why would you quit?” he said. “That just doesn’t make sense. It just doesn’t add up in my head. That’s not how I think. Keep it simple. Why would you quit after you do all of this work for so much time?” After throwing two third-quarter interceptions to help Louisville build its lead, Armstrong took advantage of the time he had. He went 15-of-22 down the stretch for 203 yards and two of his three touchdown passes.
On the final drive, he completed passes of 17 yards on a fourth-and-6 and 16 yards on a fourth-and-8. “For Brennan Armstrong to come back from the third quarter he had, that’s hard to do,” Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “Especially in the third quarter on the road. I was really proud of him.”
The final moments had a bit of déjà vu for both teams. For Louisville, which lost last week at Wake Forest, it was the second straight game where its opponent scored the game-winner with :22 left. After escaping Miami with a win, Virginia again had to endure another last-second drive where its opponent was driving for a go-ahead field goal. Malik Cunningham got Louisville to the Virginia 31 in the final seconds. However, James Turner’s 49-yard field goal attempt as time expired sailed left and the Cavaliers rushed out of Cardinal Stadium with an improbable victory.