No. 10 Wake Forest melts down with 8 second-half turnovers in loss to Louisville

No. 10 Wake Forest had an absolute meltdown in the third quarter of its 48-21 loss to Louisville.

The Demon Deacons came out of the halftime locker room with a 14-13 lead. By the time the fourth quarter began, they trailed 48-14.

Yes, you read that correctly.

To get to that point, the Wake Forest offense turned the ball over six times in the third quarter alone. And five of those turnovers led directly to Louisville touchdowns, including two pick-sixes thrown by Sam Hartman.

The miscues started on the fourth play of the third quarter when a Hartman pass was picked off by Louisville’s Kei’Trel Clark and returned 46 yards for a score.

It was a sign of things to come. Wake Forest’s next two drives ended with fumbles, one of which came deep in Louisville territory.

From there, Hartman was picked off again, this time by Monty Montgomery. The Cardinals returned that INT to the 9-yard line and scored another touchdown on the very next play.

On the next drive, Hartman was pressured and fumbled, opening the door for another Louisville touchdown off of a short field. And then to cap it all off, Hartman threw another pick-six. That one was returned 90 yards for a touchdown, capping off a 35-point third quarter for Louisville.

As a result of those six turnovers, Louisville scored all of those points despite putting up only 127 yards of offense.

Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman is sacked by Louisville defensive back Josh Minkins during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman is sacked by Louisville defensive back Josh Minkins during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

And to make matters worse, Wake Forest added two more turnovers in the fourth quarter to finish the game with eight turnovers in all. Those came after Hartman was benched in favor of Mitch Griffis. Even with the change, the results were the same. Wake fumbled on its first possession of the fourth quarter and then Griffis threw an interception later in the fourth.

Funnily, Louisville fumbled on its return of Griffis’ interception to give the ball back to Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons then scored with 14 seconds remaining to avoid the second-half shutout.

Nonetheless, those eight turnovers tied Miami’s abysmal performance against Duke from last week. Miami needed all four quarters for those turnovers while all eight of Wake’s turnovers came in the second half.

It was a brutal performance from the Demon Deacons, who dropped to 6-2 with the loss. Previously, Wake Forest’s only loss had come in double-overtime vs. Clemson. Now, any hopes Wake Forest had of repeating as ACC Atlantic champions have pretty much gone by the wayside.