Gloom turned to glory for Louisville in the final minute of its Friday night thriller against UCF. Linebacker Jaylin Alderman intercepted Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel and returned it 66 yards for a go-ahead touchdown with 13 seconds left to lift the Cardinals to a 42-35 victory. The game-clinching defensive score came just one play after Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham had a pass of his own tipped and intercepted.
Cunningham's pick gave the Knights the football near field goal range in a tie game with 25 seconds remaining, but Gabriel's pick-six afforded the Cardinals a much-needed victory to improve to 2-1. The back-to-back interceptions were the first turnovers of the game for either team and added a wild, late wrinkle to an entertaining shootout.
GAME-WINNING PICK-SIX WITH SECONDS LEFT 😱 pic.twitter.com/I0tgOYfk8B— ESPN (@espn) September 18, 2021
As the hero of game, Alderman actually came on as a replacement for injured Louisville starter Monty Motgomery. The true freshman had just one tackle through his first two games, but now he has a highlight worth remembering.
The pick-six was not the only development from the stunning ending, however. With five seconds left, the Knights attempted a hook and ladder from their own 28-yard line. The play failed, but the more concerning development could be with Gabriel, who was tackled awkwardly as he tried to lateral the ball.
Gabriel's injury was later revealed to be to his clavicle. While the injury won't require surgery, Gabriel will be out indefinitely. The Knights are off next week before playing at Navy on Oct 2. Louisville plays at Florida State next week.