It was the championship game that was expected to be a hard fought contest between Louisville and Cincinnati, two of the teams leaving Conference USA for the Big East Conference next season, but the Cardinals dominated from it's first possession and cruised to a 70-7 win over the Bearcats.
"Our players did a great job today," said U of L head coach Bobby Petrino. "Our offense didn't get as many opportunities as we usually do because the defense was doing such a great job and the special teams were doing such a great job. I think that just represents what we've been all year long and that's a good football team. We take care of each other and play hard for each other. That's a good group we've got and we've got to have fun while we can for the next month."
The Cardinals grabbed an early lead when junior running back Eric Shelton took the first play of the game 80-yards for a toucdown to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead just seconds into the game.
Playing without starting quarterback Gino Guidugli, the Bearcats offense struggled all game, managing just 186 total yards.
"They were flying around and getting sacks and I know that [Cincinnati] didn't have Gino [Guidugli] and that certainly played into it because he's a great football player," Petrino continued. "But we came out and took advantage of that in every way we could."
Louisville's defense recorded a season best seven sacks, with six different players recording a stop.
Offensively, most of the damage was done on the ground. However, despite just 15 pass attempts on the afternoon, junior receiver Montrell Jones put together his best performance as a Cardinal with three receptions for 57 yards and two touchdowns.
"I would say that this was one of the my best games of my collegiate career," said Jones, who also returned a punt 72 yards for a score. "I just knew that when I had a chance I was going to have a breakout game and I had a chance to do that today and when the ball was in my hands I was able to do that."
The Cardinals ground game racked up 357 yards, led by Shelton's 158 and Michael Bush's 106-yards.
Just moments following the Cardinals 70-7 win over the Bearcats, the University of Louisville accepted an invitation to participate in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on December 31st, likely facing Boise State.