The University of Louisville football program has won a Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Orange Bowl with many other benchmark victories along the way.
On Saturday, with Touchdown Jesus watching under the Golden Dome at Notre Dame the Cardinals did it once again. The Cardinals survived a missed late field goal by Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza to score a 31-28 win over the Fighting Irish.
"That's a good win there," U of L coach Bobby Petrino said. "I'm proud of the way our guys played and how our assistant coaches were coaching. That's a good win."
Freshman Reggie Bonnafon rushed for two touchdowns in the first half as the Cardinals darted to a 17-6 lead. But Notre Dame took the lead at 20-17 early in the third quarter.
Bonnafon then hit DeVante Parker on a 21-yard TD pass and Brandon Radcliff rushed for 127 yards in the second half, including a 15-yard TD. The Fighting Irish added a fourth quarter touchdown and both teams missed a field-goal attempt.
Simply no way to only give one game ball in this one.
But Reggie Bonnafon did leave the field, clutching the real game ball and said he wasn't giving it up, noting "I have to talk to the equipment guys about keeping this one."
The freshman from Trinity High School grew up a lot in this one. He completed 8 of 21 passes for 180 yards and rushed 15 times for 35 yards.
Bonnafon was poised and directed the team on back-to-back TD drives after Notre Dame had taken the lead and lineman Jamon Brown said, "he showed us a lot tonight."
Brandon Radcliff also has to get a game ball, rushing 17 times for 136 yards and one TD ans breaking a bunch of tackles along the way.
Petrino said Michael Dyer was "giving us some good runs," but he went with Radcliff to give the Cardinals a little more speed in the game. Radcliff had two carries for nine yards in the first half for U of L.
PLAY OF THE GAME
It was a big one by DeAngelo Brown on second-and-goal for Notre Dame in the final minutes of the game with the Cardinals clinging to the lead.
Brown caught Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson for a six-yard loss on a sack and forced third-and-goal from the 15 where Jermaine Reve and Gerod Holliman had good coverage on the Irish receiver in the back of the end zone.
"The second down sack was big," Petrino said.
Kyle Brindza then missed a 32-yard field goal - wide right - by a foot.
THEY SAID IT
"It is a great experience for myself and the team to come out here and play in a stadium like this. It is great to come out here and experience new things."
"Besides Florida State, this game is one of the biggest games I’ve ever played. We just told ourselves we gave away one big game, we can’t give away another."
"I wasn't really paying attention to the crowd until I heard that, 'Go Cards' cheer and then I looked up. There were a lot of them here and they were loud."
"It was great to see our fans travel. It’s a great feeling. They were just as loud [as the Notre Dame fans]."
BY THE NUMBERS
555 - Parker now has that many yards on 29 catches this season.
409 - Total offense by Louisville, while Notre Dame had just 335.
136 - Radcliff's third 100-yard game and highest single-game total of the season.
68 - Michael Dyer's contribution on 13 carries.
65 - DeVante Parker's total on four catches.
30 - Parker's career TD total.
18 - Number or more plays U of L ran - 71 to 53.
17 - Louisville's streak of games win in a row under Petrino when rushing for 200-plus yards.
8 - Terell Floyd's team-high in tackles.
U of L (8-3) will play Kentucky on Saturday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Senior Day and the last game of the regular season.