Defense, shanked punt keyed Cards victory

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The play of the game for Louisville on Saturday night was a shanked punt by Southern Mississippi's Peter Boehme, which led to the game-winning touchdown. But the three defensive plays prior to the punt by the Golden Eagles also aided the Cardinals.

Jeremy Wright fumbled with 10:55 left in the game and it appeared the University of Louisville football team was headed for defeat, trailing 17-15 in a torrential downpour at Southern Mississippi.

But the next four plays helped the Cardinals rally for a 21-17 victory and a 5-0 start for the first time since the 2006 season.

Southern Miss took over at the 39-yard-line but on first down, Calvin Pryor busted through the line and tackled Jalen Richard for a 5-yard loss.

George Durant then pressured quarterback Ricky Lloyd on second down, allowing Deiontrez Mount to get a 19-yard sack. DeAngelo Brown stopped Desmond Johnson for 1-yard on third-down, forcing a punt.

And that's when the Cardinals took advantage.

Adrian Bushell, who had almost blocked the previous punt, again came flying in off the left side. Boehme seemingly took his eye off the ball, shanking the punt for just a 6-yard gain before U of L's Jalen Harrington fell on it.

"We just had to get pressure in his face, especially in the rain," Mount said. "We knew we had to come out and make some plays."

U of L coach Charlie Strong said he was worried when Harrington went to grab the ball, noting the slippery conditions were tough and he should have just let it go. He said his first thought was of former Dallas Cowboys lineman Leon Lett, who tried to recover a blocked field-goal attempt in a 1993 game against the Miami Dolphins, only to fumble and give the Dolphins the ball on the 1-yard-line.

"I thought I had Leon Lett back out there," Strong said. "I said Oh God, what are you doing. He picked it up or fell on it. . . . The (punt) before that Bushell almost blocked that punt and I think he felt that. It just slipped out of there.

"But I was like just get away from it."

Six plays later, Senorise Perry scored the winning touchdown, a 14-yard run off the right tackle. He received big blocks downfield by tackle Kamran Joyer and wide receiver Damian Copeland.

The TD came on third-and-14.


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