PITTSBURGH (AP) Louisville coach Jeff Brohn spent all week trying to guard his team against an emotional letdown following a cathartic and emphatic victory over Notre Dame.

Brohm had been through this before. A handful of times during his six-year stay at Purdue the Boilermakers would upset a highly ranked team. And the next week they'd lose.

He feared the 14th-ranked Cardinals falling into the same trap following his first signature victory at his alma mater. So he preached the importance of focus. On not letting the giddy high of beating the Irish linger. On treating the Panthers with the same reverence and intensity.

History repeated itself anyway.

Christian Veilleux threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start and M.J. Devonshire returned an interception 86 yards for a game-tilting score late in the third quarter as the Panthers pulled away for a 38-21 win on Saturday night.

The Cardinals (6-1, 3-1 ACC) came crashing back to earth after Jack Plummer turned it over three times and Louisville was shut out during the second half while playing without star running back Jawhar Jordan, who missed all but a handful of plays with a hamstring injury.

“We probably hung on to that win (against the Irish) too long and we can’t do that,” Plummer said. "Just because we beat a team doesn’t mean you’re going to beat another team.”

Particularly not when the other team is Pitt, which has made a habit of upending a ranked opponent's plans during Pat Narduzzi's nine-year tenure. The Panthers have now topped at least one ranked team in eight consecutive seasons.

“We talked about playing together and staying together,” Narduzzi said. “(This will) give us a little fuel for the second half of the season.”

C'Bo Flemister ran for two scores for Pitt (2-4, 1-2), which snapped a four-game losing streak by returning to a formula that has worked so well for the program under Narduzzi. The Panthers pressured Plummer relentlessly, sacking him four times and forcing him into mistakes.

Plummer completed 29 of 52 passes for 336 yards and a touchdown but also threw multiple interceptions for the third time.

Louisville did enough to overcome the picks in wins over Murray State and North Carolina State. A rainy Acrisure Stadium proved to be another matter.

The Cardinals appeared to be in decent shape when Isaac Guerendo's 5-yard touchdown run with 25 seconds left in the first half gave Louisville a 21-14 lead.

It didn't last. The Cardinals did little offensively in the second while Veilleux - promoted to starter in place of struggling senior Phil Jurkovec - did just enough.

The sophomore transfer from Penn State hit Bub Means for a 46-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and orchestrated two long scoring drives, including a 13-play, 61-yard march in the third quarter that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Flemister that put the Panthers up 24-21.

Louisville answered by driving deep into Pitt territory but wide receiver Jamari Thrash was bumped early in his route, leading to an overthrow by Plummer that ended up in the hands of Devonshire.

The senior cornerback raced the other way for his third career pick-6 to give the Panthers a somewhat improbable 10-point lead they never came close to squandering.

“The margin for error is (thin) in this league and we didn’t do the small things right in the second half,” Plummer said.

Louisville couldn't find the second-half magic that had helped carry the program through the first six weeks of Brohm's homecoming. The Cardinals saw their chance at their first 7-0 start since 2012 vanish under a series of incompletions and missed opportunities.

Louisville's last best chance ended when Thrash slipped out of his break on fourth down. The pass sailed out of reach, leading to a turnover on downs with 3:28 remaining.

ALL ABOUT THAT VASE

Pitt put a blue vase in the entryway to the team facility this week. Its symbolism depends on who you ask. Means said the vase is a place to put your negative thoughts before going to work. Narduzzi suggested it means doing whatever it takes to win.

Either way, it's not going anywhere. Not after Narduzzi plopped it down next to the podium during his postgame interview.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Expect the Cardinals to stumble quite a bit - but probably not out - of the rankings after losing to a team that came in riding a four-game losing streak, three of them decided by at least 11 points.

THE TAKEAWAY

Louisville: Jordan may even be more important to the Cardinals than they realized. On a night when throwing the ball in the middle of a steady rain was difficult, a consistent running game might have gone a long way.

Pitt: Veilleux has earned a longer look. He played with an aggressiveness and assertiveness that Jurkovec lacked but needs to work on his accuracy after completing just 12 of 26 passes.

UP NEXT

Louisville: Off next week, then begins a stretch of three straight home games when Duke visits on Oct. 28.

Pitt: Visits Wake Forest (3-3, 0-3) next Saturday.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll

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