No. 16 Louisville 27, South Florida 25

Louisville coach Charlie Strong hopes his 16th-ranked Cardinals

have learned they can’t take any opponent for granted.

Teddy Bridgewater threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Eli Rogers

with 1:35 left, and the undefeated Cardinals edged South Florida

27-25 on Saturday for their best start since 2006.

”We can’t go into a game thinking because a team is 2-4 they

aren’t going to come into a game and play as hard,” Strong said.

”You watch today, and it was a good lesson for us. They came in

here, South Florida wanting to win this game bad. But we had the

answer at the end.”

Louisville (7-0, 2-0 Big East) rallied after yielding 15

straight points to South Florida and a season-high 197 yards

rushing. Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright each ran for a touchdown

for the Cardinals, who can match the school’s 8-0 start in 2006 on

Friday night when they host No. 21 Cincinnati.

B.J. Daniels threw three TD passes in the second half, the last

one putting South Florida ahead 25-21 with 3:09 left. The Bulls had

one last chance for the win, but Adrian Bushell intercepted

Daniels’ last-gasp throw at the Louisville 10 as time ran out.

”We’ve been fighting through a lot of adversity, it’s good to

get through another one,” Louisville linebacker Preston Brown

said. ”We just wanted to keep our composure. (We) knew with Teddy,

he would score. We just had to get the stop after they

scored.”

South Florida (2-5, 0-3) has dropped five straight games. It has

just one win in its last 12 conference games dating to last

season.

”We had a chance to finish right there,” linebacker Sam

Barrington said. ”It’s crazy because there were two minutes left

in the game, and I’m sitting there confident because God finally

blessed us and helped us win. Now I’m talking on the other end, and

we lost the game. It’s definitely tough.”

Louisville finished with four sacks and a big goal-line stand

late in the third quarter.

Bridgewater was 21 of 25 for 256 yards and two TDs, and the

sophomore quarterback also led the Cardinals with 74 yards rushing

on 10 carries. He connected with nine different receivers in his

seventh straight game with at least one touchdown pass.

”There was a lot riding on that game, bragging rights and

things like that,” Bridgewater said. ”I am a guy from the state

of Florida. I played on high school teams with some of their guys

and grew up. The game meant a lot to me.”

South Florida outgained Louisville 386-384, and Lindsey Lamar

ran for 110 yards against a Louisville unit that came in ranked

26th nationally in run defense, allowing an average of 114 yards

per game. The Bulls grabbed the lead by scoring 15 straight points

after Louisville stopped them during a goal-line stand in the third

quarter when South Florida thought it had scored not once but

twice.

First, Lamar appeared to score on first-and-goal on a 4-yard

run. But officials ruled Lamar down at the 1. Daniels tried to

sneak in and was stopped. Demetris Murray couldn’t score on third

down. Then Daniels pushed up through the left side on fourth down

and into the end zone.

But officials flagged Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith for

jumping offside, forcing South Florida to line up one more time.

Daniels kept the ball and was stopped yet again, sparking a big

celebration by Louisville.

”That was a great stand by the defense, and we really needed

that,” Rogers said.

Strong couldn’t recall a goal-line stand by Louisville since

he’s been with the program.

”It was first-and-goal and what? The 1-inch line, and they got

five downs when we luckily jumped offsides there,” Strong

said.

The Bulls closed to 21-18 after Daniels directed an 86-yard,

14-play drive, including a fourth-down conversion. He finished it

off with a 13-yard TD pass to Sean Price with 8:02 left. When

Louisville was flagged for being offside on the extra point, the

Bulls gave the ball to Demetris Murray for the 2-point

conversion.

Daniels then found Andre Davis for a 12-yard score to make it

25-21. The drive featured a defensive pass interference call on

Bushell where the ball appeared uncatchable out of bounds.

Bridgewater, who completed his first 11 passes of the game,

responded by leading the Cardinals on a 75-yard drive. He set up

the winning TD pass by scrambling 11 yards, and officials flagged

Bulls cornerback Kayvon Webster for a late hit as the QB went out

of bounds. A play later, Bridgewater found Rodgers at the back of

the end zone.

”I was going to do whatever it took to get the team in the end

zone,” Bridgewater said.

DeDe Lattimore blocked John Wallace’s extra point, giving the

Bulls a chance to win with only a field goal. But the Cardinals got

their fourth sack of Daniels on the opening play of the resulting

drive. With no timeouts, the Bulls’ last gasp came on third-and-10

when Bushell grabbed Daniels’ last pass.