Louisville freshman quarterback Evan Conley raced 41 yards for a touchdown on a fourth-and-1 play in the closing minutes Saturday night, and the visiting Cardinals held off 19th-ranked Wake Forest, 62-59, in a wild ACC football game.
The contest wasn’t decided until Louisville’s Tutu Atwell recovered an onside kick after a scramble for the ball at the Cardinals’ 40-yard line with about 50 seconds to play.
The teams combined for 45 points in the fourth quarter, including five touchdowns and a field goal in the closing 6:19. The game produced more than 1,200 yards of total offense.
The victory marked a successful return to North Carolina for first-year Louisville coach Scott Satterfield, the former coach at Appalachian State.
Louisville (4-2, 2-1 ACC) led 52-31 after Conley threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Dez Fitzpatrick with 9:14 remaining.
But the Demon Deacons (5-1, 1-1) weren’t finished.
They narrowed the gap to 52-38 with 6:19 left on a 3-yard run by Kenneth Walker III, only to have Louisville go back up 55-38 on a field goal less than a minute later.
Then, with Wake Forest starting quarterback Jamie Newman suffering a shoulder injury, former Davidson Day standout Sam Hartman drove Wake Forest to a touchdown with 4:12 left, on a 22-yard pass to Scotty Washington.
The Deacons executed a successful onside kick, and two plays later, Hartman fired a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jack Freudenthal. That cut Louisville’s lead to 55-45 with 3:37 to play.
That’s when Conley took over. On a third-and-11 at the Louisville 49, the freshman quarterback ran 10 yards to the Wake Forest 41, setting up a fourth-and-one. On the next play, he scrambled, found an opening and dashed for the touchdown.
The Demon Deacons came back yet again, going 75 yards in three plays, scoring on a 2-yard run by Hartman. That cut the deficit to 62-59 with 1:05 left.
Wake Forest then tried an onside kick, and the ball rolled loose in Louisville territory before Atwell grabbed it amid a pile of players.
Demon Deacon receiver Sage Surratt of Lincolnton had an outstanding game, with nine receptions for 132 yards and three touchdowns. Teammate Kendall Hinton caught 12 passes for 107 yards.
Helmet stickers around North Carolina
Davis Cheek, Elon: Cheek, from Butler High, completed all 13 of his passes in the second half, and 22 of 25 in the game, as the Phoenix crushed nationally ranked FCS foe Delaware, 42-7.
Izaiah Gathings, Gardner-Webb: Gathings caught four passes for 93 yards, including a 38-yard scoring catch with 40 seconds left, as his team beat Hampton, 35-27.
Richard Latimer, Fayetteville State: Latimer, a sophomore quarterback from West Mecklenburg High, threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns in a 25-22 victory over Shaw.
Making sense of the numbers
709: Total passing yards in Gardner-Webb’s 35-27 victory over Hampton. Kalen Whitlow passed for 352 yards for Gardner-Webb, while former Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois, a graduate transfer at Hampton, threw for 357 yards.
100: Percentage of Citadel quarterback Brandon Rainey’s pass completions that went for touchdowns. Rainey was 3 of 5, and each went for a score, as the Bulldogs downed Western Carolina, 35-17.
Minus-5: Rushing yardage in the game for Tusculum, which fell 38-14 to Lenoir-Rhyne, ranked eighth in Division 2.
Elsewhere in the Carolinas
Gardner-Webb 35, Hampton 27: Sophomore wide receiver Izaiah Gathings of Statesville caught two touchdown passes, including the final score with 40 seconds left in the game, as the Runnin’ Bulldogs (3-3, 1-0 Big South) held off the Pirates (3-3, 0-1). Gathings had four receptions for 93 yards and two touchdowns.
Teammate Devron Harper caught four passes, including a 90-yard touchdown reception that set a school record for longest scoring pass play. Quarterback Kalen Whitlow completed 12 of 23 passes for 352 yards and three scores.
Graduate transfer Deondre Francois, formerly of Florida State, completed 29 of 51 passes for 357 yards and a Hampton touchdown. He was interception once.
“That was a big one for us against a really talented team,” Gardner-Webb coach Carroll McCray said. “With their big, strong front hemming up the run game, we were able to stretch the field and complete some balls.”
The Citadel 35, Western Carolina 17: Brandon Rainey completed three passes, each for a touchdown, as the Bulldogs (3-4, 1-2 Southern) downed the visiting Catamounts (1-5, 0-3). Rainey, who also rushed for 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns, threw two scoring passes to Remus Bulmer.
Western Carolina quarterback Tyrie Adams completed 22 of 30 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown, but he was picked off twice. Catamounts’ wide receiver Daquan Patton caught nine passes for 98 yards.
Winston-Salem State 23, Johnson C. Smith 7: The Rams (2-4, 1-2 CIAA) scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns and pulled away from the visiting Golden Bulls (2-4, 1-2). Down 10-0 in the third quarter, Johnson C. Smith narrowed the gap on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Donnel Thompson to Antonio Wallace.
But Winston-Salem State pulled away on a 7-yard run by Quarderman Sloane and a 54-yard pass from Dominique Graves to Jonathan Allen.
Golden Bulls’ running back Emanuel Wilson of North Mecklenburg carried 16 times for 61 yards and caught three passes for 36 yards.
Elon 42, No. 15 Delaware 7: The Phoenix (3-4, 2-2 Colonial Athletic) knocked off a nationally ranked FCS foe, behind the passing of Butler High product Davis Cheek, who completed 22 of 25 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Bryson Daughtry, of Charlotte’s Berry Academy, had six catches for 93 yards.
Elon sophomore defensive back Cole Coleman, of Raleigh’s Leesville Road High, had 16 tackles and a forced fumble.