Bilal Powell, who carried only four times for no yards last week against West Virginia, scored three first half touchdowns to lead the Cardinals. Powell, one of the nation's best running backs, finished with 123 yards rushing as UofL rushed for 217 yards. Powell also caught two passes for 28 yards and two scores.
"Enough can not be said about resiliency, about commitment, about attitude, about this football team and a group of 25 young men who decided they wanted to leave a trade mark on this program and start something special," Strong said. "I'm so proud of these guys and what they've accomplished."
Now, Louisville waits to find out its post-season fate. Louisville's win against Rutgers has positioned the Cardinals to land one of the Big East's six bowl game tie-ins. The Cardinals could be headed to St. Petersburg, Fla. for the Beef O'Brady's Bowl Dec. 21 vs. the fourth pick from C-USA.
A bowl announcement, though, will wait for another day. On this day, Louisville scored early and often to set the tone in the regular-season finale.
A week after gaining a season-low 171 total offensive yards in a 17-10 loss to West Virginia, Louisville's offense came out firing on all cylinders against Rutgers, scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions to take a 28-0 lead.
After the Louisville defense forced a second straight three and out, Burke directed the Cards 64 yards in six plays, capped by Burke's 11 yard touchdown touchdown pass to Powell.
Louisville made the score 21-0 early in the second quarter on Powell's 11-yard scoring run. Burke drove the Cardinals offense into scoring position but was forced to the sideline with back spasms. Will Stein, the third-string quarterback, came on to finish out the drive and game.
"Burke started out on fire, then we were able to open up the line of scrimmage for our running game," Strong said. "It was great to see Bilal come back."
After another Louisville defensive stop, Stein directed a nine play, 69 yard drive that was capped by his short touchdown pass to tight end Cameron Graham for a 28-0 lead with 8:20 remaining in the first half. Stein's 29 yard pass to Andrell Smith on third down and 10 set UofL up with first and goal at the two yard line.
"You're always going to get the best from Stein," said Strong. "I told him I didn't need him to win it and he did great job directing the offense for us."
Rutgers finally got on the scoreboard late in the first half. The Scarlet Knights drove 10 plays for 74 yards, capped by Jordan Thomas' 17 yard scoring run that cut Louisville's lead to 28-7.
Rutgers had an opportunity to cut further into Louisville's 28-7 lead early in the second half, but Johnny Patrick intercepted Rutgers quarterback Chas Dodd at the 10. Four plays later, Jeremy Wright ran 64 yards for a touchdown to put Louisville ahead 34-7.
The Scarlet Knights answered Wright's touchdown with a Jeremy Deering one yard score late in the third quarter to make it 34-13. A 34 yard run by Thomas push Rutgers into UofL territory, then Dodd connected with Mark Harrison to set up Deerin's short touchdown. Rutgers attempted a two-point conversion, but Dodd was tackled in the backfield.
UofL's defense brought pressure throughout the fourth quarter, sacking Dodd multiple times. The pressure eventually led to Johnny Patrick's second interception late in the contest, which he returned 36 yards for a touchdown.
"We're not very big so we have to pressure," Strong said. "We want to get teams behind the chains on second and third down then we know we have a chance."