In it's first outing since falling to a then undefeated Rutgers and having it's national championship title dream disappear, 10th-ranked Louisville faced a must-win situation against visiting South Florida on Saturday night for it to keep it's goal of reaching a BCS bowl still alive. Any lingering effects from the last minute loss at Rutgers failed quickly as the Cardinals had their way with the Bulls, winning 31-8.
"The guys on our team have tremendous pride," said U of L head coach Bobby Petrino following the game. "We have a group of seniors that we've coached for all four years. We had a good week of practice and nobody held their head down. We got better and better all week and it was an enjoyable week of practice. That says a lot about our team."
Junior quarterback Brian Brohm threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns, with receiver Harry Douglas hauling in a career-high seven receptions for 86 yards and two scores. Tight end Gary Barnidge also registered a new career-best, pulling in 5 catches for 112 yards. However, despite posting 446 yards of total offense, the Cardinals struggled throughout much of the first half. Louisville didn't gain it's first first down of the night until it's third possession and didn't reach the end zone until the second quarter.
"Everybody got back into the rhythm of things," said Brohm. "The big thing early on, we didn't let a few early three and outs bother us. We stayed in the game and stayed positive and went out there and executed the rest of our game plan."
Led by Kolby Smith's 50 rushing yards, the Cardinals gained 172 yards on the ground against South Florida. True freshman Anthony Allen - a Tampa, Florida native - scored a pair of touchdowns.
The Cardinal defense turned in one of it's best outings of the year, holding USF to just 286 yards of total offense and recorded six sacks.
"We couldn't get anything going offensively," said USF head coach Jim Leavitt, whose team was limited to only 49 rushing yards. "We just couldn't and that was sad."
Following the win, the Cardinals learned that Cincinnati had defeated Rutgers and improved the programs chances of participating in a BCS bowl game.
"We have to win out to be in any consideration," said Brohm. "We need to beat Pittsburgh and be ready for the next game. There are still a lot of things that can happen. We just have to play our games and not worry about the rest of it. It feels good to get a victory and put the Rutgers loss behind us. We just need to keep moving forward and try to get some more wins."
Game NotesU of L won it's 17th straight game at home, the second longest streak in the nation.
Placekicker Art Carmody set the U of L single-season record for field goals with 16 after he connected on a 47-yard attempt late in the second quarter. Carmody has made 15 straight field goal attempts.
Brian Brohm threw his 33rd career touchdown pass against USF, which moved him past Browning Nagle for sixth place in career passing TD's at U of L.
Louisville's 31 points is the most scored against the South Florida defense all season.
Anthony Allen leads the Cardinals with 10 touchdowns on the season.
Junior receiver Mario Urrutia has caught a pass in 12 straight games.