LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Jawhar Jordan needed just a few touches to put a disappointing effort behind him.
The speedy Louisville rusher eventually did the same to Notre Dame defenders as he returned to form and gave the No. 25 Cardinals a significant victory.
Jordan ran for a season-high 143 yards, scoring on 45- and 21-yard runs on consecutive second-half possessions, and Louisville beat No. 10 Notre Dame 33-20 on Saturday night.
Louisville, at 6-0 off to its best start in 10 years, pulled away in a signature victory for first-year coach and former Cardinals great Jeff Brohm before a stadium-record 59,081. Many of those fans rushed the field at the final gun and stretched the celebration to both ends of the turf for more than 15 minutes.
And for good reasons. The Cardinals not only beat an Associated Press top-10 opponent in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history, but one of college football’s most-storied programs in the process.
“I just think our players came out in the second half and understood what it meant, not only (for) us, but the entire town, city and university to win, and they grinded it out,” Brohm said.
Notre Dame (5-2) lost for the second time in three games. It had won 30 straight games against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents dating to 2017.
The game also figured to be a third straight hard-fought effort the Fighting Irish actually led briefly.
They converted Cam Hart’s forced fumble and recovery into a 10-7 lead on Spencer Shrader’s 53-yard field goal midway through the third quarter before the Cardinals answered with Brock Travelstead’s 44-yarder. Jordan took over from there with explosive runs.
Jordan followed Amari Huggins-Bruce’s 19-yard run with a quick burst through the right side before finding another gear near the 20 to elude defenders for the go-ahead score at 17-10. Schrader’s 54-yard field goal got Notre Dame to 17-13, but Jordan answered with another big run.
Jordan appeared to hit the hole even faster on his second scoring run early in the fourth, going virtually untouched to make it 24-13.
Notre Dame turned the ball over on downs and Travelstead added his third field goal from 45 yards for the 17-point cushion. He followed with a 35-yarder late in the fourth to seal it.
“We appreciate all the fans, all the support they’ve been giving us,” Jordan said. “It was electric once they stormed the field and the adrenaline, and we’re just thankful for the day.”
A week after being held to just 36 yards rushing without a TD at North Carolina State, Jordan carried 21 times to top his previous high of 135 yards earlier this season against Murray State. He was 2 yards shy of his career high set against rival Kentucky last season.
Jamari Thrash caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Jack Plummer on Louisville’s first drive set up by Quincy Riley’s interception of Sam Hartman’s sideline pass. That ended the quarterback’s impressive start of 14 touchdowns without a pick and set the tone for a difficult night for him and the Irish (5-2).
Notre Dame was outgained 330-298 with just 44 yards rushing after entering the game averaging 192 per contest. Hartman completed 22 of 38 passes for 254 yards and TD passes to Jordan Faison and Mitchell Evans, but threw three interceptions and was sacked five times.
“We didn’t run the ball well and they did pressure him,” Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman said of Louisville’s pressure on Hartman. “Nobody has put the pressure on the quarterback like Louisville. Give them credit, they were stacking the box and saying we refuse to let you run the ball. Then we have to make some plays in the passing game. We didn’t and we have to be sure not to let this happen again.”
NAME IN LIGHTS
Louisville offensive coordinator Brian Brohm, who’s top-10 in school passing along with his older brother, had his jersey honored on the electronic ribbon board before the game.
Rapper Jack Harlow and former Cardinals quarterback Reggie Bonnafon, both Louisville natives, were in the crowd. Bonnafon, who guided Louisville past Notre Dame in the inaugural series meeting in 2014, sounded the train horn played after touchdowns.
Notre Dame figures to drop several spots with a second loss in three games and its worst this season. Louisville should jump a few spots after entering the rankings this week for the first time since early 2020.
Notre Dame: The ground game never got going, essentially making the Irish one dimensional. Hartman was under pressure most of the night in a near-match of his previous visit here last season with No. 10 Wake Forest. That ended with three interceptions and two fumbles in a 48-21 defeat.
Louisville: The Cardinals endured a mid-game lull that allowed the Irish to tie and lead briefly. They then turned to their strength and found success that gave them their most significant win since beating Wake Forest with Hartman. The Cardinals are bowl eligible for the third consecutive season.
Notre Dame: Hosts No. 9 Southern California on Saturday.
Louisville: At Pittsburgh on Saturday.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll