Michael Bush rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns, and Art Carmody tied a school record with four field goals to power No. 24 Louisville past visiting Pittsburgh 42-20 Thursday night at Papa John’s Cardinal stadium.
The game began on a wild note. Terrell Allen, the Panthers return man, fumbled the opening kickoff which Louisville’s Deon Palmer recovered in the end zone to give the Cardinals a quick 7-0 lead.
Allen, though, quickly made up for his mistake, taking the ensuing kick off 97 yards to tie the score at 7 just 25 seconds into the game.
“That was unbelievable,” U of L coach Bobby Petrino said of the game’s wild start. “I don't even know who recovered (the fumble on the kickoff), but for us to kick it off after we scored and them to run it back for a score is unbelievable. We had some missed tackles on that, but he had a nice run too.”
The Cardinals scored again on their next possession with Bush’s 5-yard run. U of L then forced a Panther punt deep in their own territory, resulting in a bad snap that sailed through the end zone for a safety and put U of L ahead 16-7.
U of L drove deep into Pitt territory on their next possession before receiver Montrell Jones fumbled on the Panther 7 yard line. Pitt linebacker H.B. Blades recovered.
However, Pitt managed to take a 20-19 lead late in the second quarter. The Panthers, however, couldn’t stop the Louisville offense, who marched into field goal range in the first half’s final 58 seconds. U of L’s Art Carmody connected from 46 yards to give the Cardinals a 22-20 edge at the break.
U of L sophomore quarterback Brian
Brohm guided the Cardinal offense
to 467 yards.
"We'd like to get more points on the board early,” U of L coach Bobby Petrino said. “When a fake (field goal) doesn't work, then you're stupid. I thought we also left one out there on Montrell's fumble and that makes you nervous. (But) our offense stayed poised and it was big to score there before the end of the first half.”
Louisville scored on the first possession of the second half on Bush’s three-yard run to put the Cardinals up 29-20. However, Bush injured his left foot on the play and didn’t return to the game. Petrino said afterward that x-rays were negative. Bush, who has rushed for a school-record tying 20 touchdowns this season, will have an MRI Friday to determine the extent of the injury.
"Michael is alright,” Petrino said. “After the game, he said he'd be ready for next week. The x-ray showed no break, so now it's just a matter of getting him ready for next week."
"I feel fine,” Bush said. “It's just one incident. I don't feel like I'm out of the game plan (for next week). I just came up a little sore but I'll be okay. I should be back for Rutgers."
The Cardinals added 13 more points, and the defense shutout the Panthers in the second half. The win, U of L’s sixth of the season, makes the Cardinals bowl eligible for the eighth consecutive season.
Carmody made field goals of 46, 47, 32 and 36 yards. His four field goals matched the school single-game record set by Nate Smith in 2000. A sophomore, Cardmody has connected on 10-12 field goal attempts on the season.
“Those kicks (by Carmody) were huge and even though we had the wind behind us, he hit it really well,” Petrino said. “He's been doing that for a couple of weeks in practice. Harry Douglas (holder) also did a nice job of getting a couple high snaps down for the kicks and it was good for us to see Art do that."
Brian Brohm won his head-to-head matchup with Pitt’s Tyler Palko. The U of L sophomore completed 21-of-31 passes for 247 yards. Palko was 17-30 for 198 yards.
Next up for Louisville will be Rutgers next Friday night at PJCS>