It was over just about as quickly as it started. Quarterback Stefan LeFors continued to post Heisman like results, completing his first 13 pass attempts. The senior would finish 21 of 26 for 242 yards and a touchdown, helping guide the Cardinals to a 41-9 victory over the visiting South Florida Bulls.
"I can't say it's one thing that leads me to do that," said LeFors. "It's a big game with a national audience and it's my senior year and I want to make the most of it. I'm out there playing and having fun and getting into a rhythm early."
The Louisville offense racked up 517 total yards, including 345 through the air, while the Cardinals defense limited the Bulls to just 203 total yards.
Senior tight end Adam McCauley put Louisville on top 7-0 with 5:21 left in the first quarter when he hauled in his first career touchdown reception, a 6 yard pass from LeFors.
The Cardinal defense forced USF to a three and out on its next possession and Montrell Jones returned the punt 22 yards to the visitors 26 yard line. Four plays later, Michael Bush rushed nine yards for the Cardinals second score of the game.
South Florida narrowed the margain to 14-3 when kicker Santiago Gramatica connected on a 38 yard field goal with 9:56 remaining in the first half.
Louisville redshirt freshman kicker Art Carmody answered when he converted a 37 yard field goal, capping off a 12 play, 62 yard drive, giving the Cardinals a 17-3 advantage.
On the Bulls following possession linebacker Robert McCune recorded his first career interception at the South Florida 16 yard line. Three plays later Eric Shelton rushed two yards for a touchdown to give the Cardinals a 24-3 halftime lead.
The halftime statistics echoed the domiance by the No. 15 Cardinals, which racked up 267 yards of offense and holding the Bulls to just 40 yards.
The Cardinals scored two more touchdowns during the third quarter on a 13 yard run by LeFors and a 19 yard run by Bush, boosting U of L's lead to 41-3.
"They gave us some different looks, especially with their defensive fronts," said head coach Bobby Petrino. "Stefan [LeFors] had to mix it up at the line of scrimmage and he used his experience to get us out of what would've been some negative plays and into some positive plays."
South Florida would score its first touchdown of the night on a 50-yard pass completion from Pat Julmiste to Johnny Peyton with 12:12 remaining in the game.
The Louisville defense, which applied constant pressure on the Bulls quarterback, limited Julmiste to 67 passing yards. He completed just 3 of his 20 pass attempts, which tossing two interceptions.
"They had a great plan going in and the players really understood what [South Florida] was going to do and what our plan was to stop them," said Petrion. "I thought they did a nice job of bouncing back after the Miami game. We ran to the ball really well and we did a great job of gang tackling."
The Cardinals will next face rival Memphis on November 4th at the Liberty Bowl for a game that will televised nationally on ESPN.