With South Florida upsetting 7th-ranked West Virginia in Morgantown in earlier Big East Conference action on Saturday, the 8th-ranked University of Louisville Cardinals didn't want any part of a possible shake-up in the league standings. Despite a slow start defensively, turning the ball over near it's own 20-yard line, and a few out-of-character penalties in the first half of play, Bobby Petrino's team avoided a possible upset and rolled to an impressive 48-24 win at Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon.
"This was a good win," said Petrino, who's team improved to 10-1 on the season. "I am very happy with our football team right now."
Junior quarterback Brian Brohm used eight different receivers to throw for 337 yards and four touchdowns on the day. The Cardinals offense rarely stumbled and gained 499 total yards, including 162 on the ground.
"We definitely were clicking tonight," said Petrino. "I thought our offense played as well as they have all year tonight, especially our offensive line. We really found a good rhythm, and that's when we were able to make big plays."
Mario Urrutia pulled in a team-high seven catches for 144 yards, marking his seventh career 100-yard game. His 42-yard touchdown reception early in the second quarter gave the Cardinals a 17-10 advantage.
"Mario (Urrutia) has made a tremendous difference," said Petrino. "When he draws in the double coverage we are able to complete to someone else. He also has really developed as a leader. He leads in practice and in the huddle."
Junior receiver Harry Douglas collected four receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown and is now 49 yards from becoming the only the sixth player in school history to post a 1,000-yard season.
"We knew we'd be able to score a lot of points," Douglas said. "When big plays open up you need to make them, and tonight we did."
Pittsburgh quarterback Tyler Palcko threw for 307 yards and a touchdown, but his three interceptions proved costly.
"[Getting interceptions] has been one of our main focuses," said senior cornerback Gavin Smart, who totaled two interceptions in the game. "We focus on getting better and making the big plays - on getting the interceptions. We got that done tonight."
"Pittsburgh is a good team," Petrino said. "I have tremendous respect for their quarterback, Tyler Palko. We knew he was going to be a threat, and I thought he did a good job tonight."
Louisville's win, coupled with the West Virginia loss, gives the Cardinals an opportunity to win the Big East Conference title outright and represent the league in a Bowl Championship Series game. The Cardinals will need to win it's final regular season game against Connecticut on December 2 and needs West Virginia to upend Rutgers.