The third-ranked University of Louisville Cardinals opened it's game at undefeated and 14th-ranked Rutgers just as many had predicted. The Cardinals entered the Thursday night match up in Piscataway, New Jersey attempting to become the first team in school history to start it's season 9-0 and had strong hopes of playing in the BCS Championship game, but after an impressive 25-7 start, the nation's No.2 defense took over, allowing the Scarlet Knights to stage their stunning comeback victory.
Playing in front of 44,111 at Rutgers Stadium, the Cardinals first half success was fueled by an effective balanced attacked and a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown by JaJuan Spillman.
U of L drove 80 yards on 8 plays with it's initial possession, capping it off with a three yard touchdown run by freshman Anthony Allen. Junior quarterback Brian Brohm threw for 73 yards on the opening drive, including a 45-yard strike to Harry Douglas on the team's first play from scrimmage.
With five minutes remaining in the first quarter, Rutgers linebacker DeVraun Thompson intercepted a Brohm pass, returning it 32-yards to the Louisville 26 yard line. Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel found Tiquan Underwood in the end zone, evening the score seven.
In addition to Spillman's 100-yard kick return, plus a two-point conversion, the Cardinals added a second quarter touchdown and field goal to build it's 25-7 lead.
Rutgers added a second quarter score when running back Ray Rice scampered 18 yards for a touchdown.
Holding a 25-14 advantage, the Cardinals offense, which gained over 200 yards during first 30 minutes, failed to mount a serious scoring threat for the remainder of the game.
Rutgers scored 21 unanswered points against the Cardinals, including a 4 play 82 yard drive for a touchdown and two-point conversion late in the third quarter that narrowed Louisville's lead to 25-22.
Five minutes into the fourth quarter, Rutgers kicker Jeremy Ito converted a 46-yard field goal to even the score.
Louisville mounted it's best second half drive on it's next possession, reaching the Scarlet Knights 43 yard line before being forced to punt.
With the nation watching and with dreams of claiming the biggest victory in the school's 137 year football history, the Scarlet Knights marched 78 yards to set up a potential game-winning field goal attempt.
Ito, a Lou Groza Award semifinalist, missed a 33-yard attempt, but an offsides penalty against the Cardinals gave the junior another attempt, which he sent directly through the middle of the uprights.
Louisville drops to 8-1 on the season, while Rutgers remains among the nation's unbeaten and has sole possession of the Big East Conference lead.
The Cardinals will return to action on Saturday, November 18 when they host South Florida at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.