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
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
”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
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
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
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.