LOUISVILLE — The Louisville Wildcats shook off two disappointing early drives on the way to a 24-14 win over West Point to shock the No. 8 Green Wave in the season opener for both teams.
"I was feeling good early," said Xavier Hunt. "We got some young guys, but we are hungry."
Their first drive for the Wildcats (1-0) ended with a missed field goal after a dropped pass in the end zone. On their next drive, West Point's defense stepped up and stopped Louisville on the two yard line, preventing a touchdown.
West Point started their second drive with a tip drill interception by Jhace Mallard. However they would be stopped in four downs and the ball was back in Louisville's hands.
West Point (0-1) finally put together a strong drive late in the first half. The Green Wave converted a 4th-and-4 to keep the drive alive and capped it with a four-yard run from Khanen Daniels to take a 6-0 lead with 1:15 left in the first half.
But Louisville stayed aggressive and answered right back —Hunt drove his team deep into West Point territory, where Hunt faked a handoff and tossed a dime to Key Jackson. The senior made a toe-tapping catch for a touchdown and Hunt drilled the extra point to give Louisville the 7-6 halftime lead.
"You know, we had a tough first half," Louisville defensive back Latterius Haynes said. "The score was tied how we thought it would be. The second half we took and just made sure we take the win back to Louisville."
Louisville's defense put a quick stop to the Green Wave's second-half opening drive. Hunt made a field goal in the third quarter to extend the Wildcats' lead to 10-6.
West Point regained the lead with a little over four minutes left in the game. Que Tillman-Evans got free for a 24-yard touchdown run, and the Green Wave converted the 2-point play to go ahead 14-10.
It looked like West Point would hang on after the Green Wave got a quick stop and the ball back, but an interception led to a quick touchdown for the BIG Louisville Wildcats on another scoring pass from Xavier Hunt. "I knew I had to read my keys. It felt good to put our team back up in that situation."
Laterrius Haynes put the icing on the cake with a big six. The Powercats did not come to mess around.
"I ain't gone lie, I had bubbles before the play," said Laterrius explaining his pick 6. "When I caught it I knew I had to do what I had to do. I had a pick 6. As a senior that felt good to do."
Louisville is headed to Kemper County next week. The Green Wave head to Starkville for a showdown with the 6A Yellow Jackets.