Cards get "Bulled" in 2 OT, 31-28

The Louisville Cardinals (4-1, 0-1) fell in Tampa to South Florida (3-1, 2-0) Saturday in their C-USA opener, 31-28 in double overtime.

Tampa, Fla - All good things come to an end.

That old saying rang true for first year U of L Head Coach Bobby Petrino and the Louisville Cardinals Saturday night in Tampa as both the coach and team suffered their first defeat of the season, 31-28 on a Santiago Gramatica 26 yard field goal in double overtime.

"Their down," Petrino said of his troops after the heartbreaking defeat. "It was a very good football game and I thought both teams played extremely hard. We just didn't make enough plays on offense in the first half and couldn't get off the field on fourth down in the fourth quarter. It was a hell of a football game we just came up on the short end of it."

The Cards started quickly, scoring on its opening possession when running back Lionel Gates ran 67 yards to give the Cards an early 7-0 lead.

Louisville, which struggled offensively the remainder of the first half, saw the upstart South Florida Bulls take a 14-7 lead to the break after scoring on two of it's first three offensive possessions.

"We actually moved the ball," Petrino said of the Cards first half offensive performance. "I think we had about 250 yards at half time. We just moved it from [our] 20 to [their] 30 and then had some negative plays and weren't able to put any points on the board."

After Gates' touchdown run, South Florida immediately raced 50 yards in six plays to tie the game at 7-7, when Huey Whitaker caught a 13 yard touchdown reception from Ronnie Banks at 11:43 in the first quarter.

Two possessions later, running back DeJuan Green scored from 5 yards out to give the Bulls a 14-7.

After that score, the Cardinal defense made effective adjustments and held the Bulls scoreless until South Florida's game tying touchdown with ten seconds to go in the game.

Louisville tied the score at 14 apiece on an eight play 78 yard drive capped by Stefan LeFors four yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Richard Owens at the 10:15 mark of the final quarter.

On South Florida's ensuing possession, corner J.T. Haskins intercepted Banks that set up the Cards go ahead touchdown.

Less than two minutes after tying the score, Michael Bush connected with LeFors for a 5 yard touchdown on a double reverse half back pass to give the Cards a 21-14 advantage.

With 4:56 remaining, South Florida took possession on its own 33 yard line and drove 67 yards in 14 plays capped by Clenton Crossley's 1 yard touchdown with 10 seconds left to force overtime.

South Florida's Brian Fisher scored on the first possession of OT to put the Bulls ahead 28-21.

On the Cardinals first possession of OT, LeFors scrambled left and scored from one yard out on fourth and goal from the one yard line to force double overtime.

In double overtime, LeFors threw a costly interception that gave possession to USF and gave the Bulls the opportunity to end the contest with only a field goal.

"I dropped back and I lost him," LeFors explained of the interception. "I didn't think he was there. I threw it to J.R. but ended up throwing it right to him." Moments later, Santiago Gramatica made a 26 yard field to give the Bulls a 31-28 victory.

"We got into position to win the game," Petrino said. "We just couldn't finish it. Every goal that we've set is still attainable. We beat Kentucky. We can still win every game at home and we can still win the conference. We just have to go out there and work for it and take it."

News & Notes

  • True freshman Michael Bush's touchdown pass to Stefan LeFors marks the first of his career.
  • Guests on the sidelines included U of L baseball head coach Lelo Prado and current St. Louis Cardinal first baseman Tino Martinez. Former Cardinal greats and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers Dewayne White and Roman Oben strolled the sidelines and former Louisville receiver Ernest Givens also attended the game. Another Tampa Bay Buccaneer great, receiver Keshaan Johnson, also watched the contest from the field. Antoine Russell, the younger brother of receiver J.R. Russell watched the action near the Cardinals bench as well.
  • Louisville is now 3-2 all-time in overtime games, with wins over Kentucky, Florida State and Southern Miss and losses to Army and South Florida.
  • The announced attendance of 36,044 is the largest crowd for a South Florida game at Raymond James Stadium.

    Louisville 7 0 0 14 7 - 28 South Florida 14 0 0 7 10 - 31

    First Quarter
    Lou-Gates 67 run (N. Smith kick), 13:47.
    SF-Whittaker 13 pass from Banks (Gramatica kick), 11:43.
    SF-D. Green 5 run (Gramatica kick), 4:22.

    Fourth Quarter
    Lou-Owens 4 pass from LeFors (N. Smith kick), 10:15.
    Lou-LeFors 5 pass from Bush (N. Smith kick), 8:19.
    SF-Crossley 1 run (Gramatica kick), :10.

    First Overtime
    SF-Fisher 2 run (Gramatica kick).
    Lou-LeFors 1 run (N. Smith kick).

    Second Overtime
    SF-FG Gramatica 26.

    A- 36,044.

                              Lou       SF
    First downs                19       21
    Rushes-yards           42-187   38-119
    Passing                   272      256
    Comp-Att-Int          20-41-2  26-48-3
    Return Yards               43      247
    Punts-Avg.               8-40     7-47
    Fumbles-Lost              0-0      0-0
    Penalties-Yards          5-45    11-88
    Time of Possession      31:18    43:42


    Rushing- Louisville, Gates 11-88, Shelton 17-58, LeFors 10-25, Haskins 1-7, Moody 1-7, Bush 2-2. South Florida, D. Green 20-78, Crossley 6-24, Fisher 4-20, Banks 8-minus 3.

    Passing- Louisville, LeFors 19-39-2-267, Bush 1-2-0-5. South Florida, Banks 26-47-3-256, Brewer 0-1-0-0.

    Receiving- Louisville, Russell 7-67, Clark 3-18, Ghent 2-35, Gates 2-31, Owens 2-23, Tinch 1-37, Haskins 1-32, Bush 1-24, LeFors 1-5. South Florida, Whittaker 9-96, Fisher 4-55, Sheffield 4-46, Hicks 3-28, Crossley 2-12, S.J. Green 1-9, M. Jones 1-6, Bain 1-4, D. Green 1-0.

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