Louisville senior quarterback Stefan LeFors went the distance for the first time this season, throwing for 321-yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 42 yards in guiding the 14th-ranked Cardinals to a 56-49 win over rival Memphis at the Liberty Bowl on Thursday night.
"It was a great game," said head coach Bobby Petrino. "You can't say enough about how they played offensively and how we played offensively."
The two teams traded offensive drives throughout the night, but it was the Cardinals that had the last possession, which led to the winning score, a 1-yard touchdown run by Eric Shelton. LeFors rushed for a 2-point conversion for the final margin.
The Louisville defense entered the contest ranked 11th in total defense and 10th against the rush, but Tommy West’s Tiger offense produced a near perfect game plan, attacking U of L both through the air and on the ground. Memphis quarterback Danny Wimprine threw for 361-yards and tied a career high with four touchdowns, while running back DeAngelo Williams became the first opposing runner to eclipse the 100-yard mark, gaining 195-yards on the evening.
Louisville’s offensive attack was just as potent. Along with LeFors 321-yards, Shelton gained 134 yards on the ground, while the team racked up 281 total rushing yards.
The two teams combined for just three punts and each had committed two turnovers, including a forced fumble and recovery by safety Kerry Rhodes who scampered 40 yards for a score.
Linebacker Abe Brown intercepted Wimprine’s pass late in the game to secure the victory.
Louisville, which is now tied with Southern Miss atop C-USA at 4-0, will return home to face Conference USA foe TCU on Wednesday night.
Stefan LeFors completed all three of his pass attempts, good for 43-yards, during the Cardinals first scoring drive.
With 4:53 remaining in the first quarter, LeFors threw his first incompletion in a first quarter of a game in three games.
True freshman Gary Barnidge recorded his first touchdown as a Cardinal on a 17-yard pass from LeFors.
Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams had his first fumble of the season when safety Kerry Rhodes stripped him of the ball midway through the second quarter. The senior recovered the fumble and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.
Eric Shelton’s 78-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter is a new career high. His previous best was a 67-yard run for a touchdown against East Carolina earlier this season.
The game featured 10 lead changes.
LeFors threw only one incompletion during the second half.
The combined 105 points between the two programs is the highest total in the 40 games between them.