Bombs Away! Cards beat Army 34-10

The Louisville offense racked up over 600 total yards, while the defense held Army in check all afternoon as the Cards improved to 5-1 on the season.

In what is almost becoming an expected occurrence, the Cardinals, for the fifth time in six outings, opened the game with a score when kicker Nate Smith connected on a 22-yard field goal, giving Louisville an early 3-0 lead. However, while most expected Louisville to cruise to an easy victory, a couple costly turnovers kept Army close throughout the first half. The Cardinals returned from the locker room focused on dominating the second half and shut out the Black Knights. Behind a strong defense and numerous deep pass completions, Louisville pulled away from it's Conference USA mate for a 34-10 victory.

Following Nate Smith's field goal, the Louisville offense hurt itself on its very next possession. After a 24-yard reception by junior receiver Joshua Tinch that put the Cardinals at their own 44 yard line, running back Lionel Gates fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Army defensive end Odene Brathwaite.

The Cardinal defense then held the Army offense in check for what appeared to be a three and out situation. However, facing a fourth and one, the Black Knights gambled early and succeeded by converting the play for a first down. Army eventually drove to the Louisville 5-yard line before stalling and with a 22-yard field goal by Anthony Zurisko tied the score at 3-3.

Louisville's offense quickly rebounded and drove 84 yards on seven plays for a touchdown. The drive was highlighted by a 19-yard touchdown run on a fourth and one play by sophomore running back Eric Shelton.

After forcing Army to punt on its next possession, the Cardinal offense made its second costly mistake of the afternoon when quarterback Stefan LeFors, under pressure, made an ill-advised pass which was intercepted and returned for a game tying touchdown by Army's Brian Hall.


LeFors sets to pass (ITV)
With 10:13 remaining in the first half, Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino utilized the running game for 62 yards on a 80 yard touchdown drive. Eric Shelton rushed for 30 yards on three carries during the drive and true freshman Michael Bush ran right for 32 yards and a score to put the Cardinals up for good at 17-10.

Army kick returner Scott Wesley returned the ensuing kick off 43 yards, giving Army great field position once again. Army quarterback Zac Dahman helped direct his offense to the Cardinals 1-yard line, where they were unable to convert a fourth and goal situation.

"A field goal wasn't going to win the game," explained Army head coach Todd Berry of the decision to go for it on fourth down.

Pinned against its own goal line with just 1:43 remaining in the first half, Louisville's offense attempted to drive the length of the field for a score before the break. However, following a 26-yard reception by Lionel Gates, which put the Cardinals on the Army 43 yard line, Stefan LeFors was sacked on the next play ending any hopes of late score.

Following the halftime break, the Cardinal defense once again forced Army to punt on it's initial possession. Louisville's offense quickly picked up where they had left off and drove 68 yards for a touchdown, giving them a 24-10 lead. Michael Bush's acrobatic 28-yard pass reception, which gave the Cardinals a first down on the Army 7-yard line, highlighted the scoring drive.

"What I really liked was how we came out in the third quarter," said Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino. "I thought our players came out in the third quarter and took the game over by playing the way they're supposed to."


Coach Bobby Petrino (ITV)
For the remainder of the game, the Cardinals defense would hold the opposing offense in check and didn't allow the Black Knights to stage a serious scoring threat during the final two quarters.

"In the second half, they stepped up and made plays," said Army head coach Todd Berry. "That's what good teams do…they made them and we didn't."

Senior kicker Nate Smith would provide the next points, when he connected on a 44-yard field goal with 5:24 left in the third quarter.

Following another Army punt, Louisville drove 70-yards on two plays to increase their lead to 34-10. J. R. Russell's leaping, highlight reel 66-yard reception in double coverage preceeded a 4-yard touchdown run by Eric Shelton.

"I thought Eric [Shelton] got back to running the ball way he used to," commented Petrino on the sophomore's play on Saturday which included three touchdown runs. "He ran with power and did a good job getting the ball in the end zone."

With Louisville utilizing a number of reserves during the final 15 minutes, the Cardinals failed to convert a score during the fourth quarter. The Louisville defense continued it's impressive play and shutout the Black Knights during the entire second half, giving the Cardinals its fifth win of the season and first Conference USA victory.

"I thought our defense played well," said Petrino. "Those 10 points really are on the offense, with the interception for a touchdown and putting them in position to score after a fumble."

Junior quarterback Stefan LeFors directed an offense that produced a season-high 619 total yards, the most since Louisville gained a school-record 769 yards against East Carolina in 1998. LeFors finished the contest with a new career high 406 passing yards.

"We had a lot of yards, but not as many points as you'd like with that many," Petrino said. "It was good to see our players come out and play like that after that tough loss last week."

Louisville will next face Conference USA foe Tulane on Friday night at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

"We've got to get this one behind us and get ready for Friday night," said Petrino. "That's going to be a great game with national TV here in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium."

NOTES:

  • Stefan LeFors' 406-yards is the eighth-best individual performance in U of L history. It was the first time a Cardinal quarterback has thrown for more than 400-yards since Chris Redman threw for 450 yards against Illinois on September 18, 1999.
  • Receiver J.R. Russell's 153 receiving yards is a new career best for the junior. He has now caught at least one pass in 17 straight games.
  • Junior linebacker Robert McCune recorded his first career interception.

    Kolby Smith (ITV)
  • Tight end Ronnie Ghent now has at least one reception in 31 consecutive games and has caught a pass in 34 of his 35 career games.
  • True freshman running back Kolby Smith recorded his first career reception, a 45-yarder in the first quarter. He also ran for 60-yards on just five carries.
  • The sellout crowd of 40,432 is the seventh-largest in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium history.

    FINAL STATISTICS


    ARMY LOU FIRST DOWNS................... 18 25 Rushing..................... 4 12 Passing..................... 13 12 Penalty..................... 1 1 Rushing Attempts.............. 26 37 Yards Gained Rushing.......... 106 223 Yards Lost Rushing............ 9 15 NET YARDS RUSHING............. 97 208 NET YARDS PASSING............. 242 411 Passes Attempted............ 55 32 Passes Completed............ 28 20 Had Intercepted............. 3 1 TOTAL OFFENSIVE PLAYS......... 81 69 TOTAL NET YARDS............... 339 619 Average Gain Per Play....... 4.2 9.0 Fumbles: Number-Lost.......... 2-0 2-2 Penalties: Number-Yards....... 3-24 8-75 Number of Punts-Yards......... 6-259 3-118 Average Per Punt............ 43.2 39.3 Punt Returns: Number-Yards.... 1--2 3-46 Kickoff Returns: Number-Yards. 6-140 1-11 Interceptions: Number-Yards... 1-33 3-0 Fumble Returns: Number-Yards.. 0-0 0-0 Miscellaneous Yards........... 0 0 Possession Time............... 33:52 26:08 Third-Down Conversions........ 8 of 20 3 of 11 Fourth-Down Conversions....... 3 of 5 2 of 2 Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 1-3 4-5 Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 1-7 1-1

    
    Louisville
    
    Rushing         No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
    --------------------------------------------
    SHELTON, Eric   14   75    5   70  3 19  5.0
    SMITH, Kolby     5   60    0   60  0 29 12.0
    BUSH, Michael    6   46    1   45  1 32  7.5
    GATES, Lionel    5   25    0   25  0 13  5.0
    PATTERSON, T.J.  3    8    2    6  0  5  2.0
    LeFORS, Stefan   4    9    7    2  0  6  0.5
    Totals...       37  223   15  208  4 32  5.6
    
    Passing         Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sack
    --------------------------------------------
    LeFORS, Stefan    28-19-1   406  0   66    1
    RASCATI, Justin    3-1-0      5  0    5    0
    BUSH, Michael      1-0-0      0  0    0    0
    Totals...         32-20-1   411  0   66    1
    
    Receiving        No.  Yds   TD Long
    -----------------------------------
    RUSSELL, J.R.      6  153    0   66
    TINCH, Joshua      3   70    0   35
    BUSH, Michael      3   46    0   28
    GATES, Lionel      2   36    0   26
    SMITH, Kolby       1   45    0   45
    OWENS, Richard     1   20    0   20
    JONES, Tiger       1   16    0   16
    GHENT, Ronnie      1   11    0   11
    HASKINS, Robert    1    9    0    9
    GLENN, Victor      1    5    0    5
    Totals...         20  411    0   66
    
    Punting          No.  Yds   Avg Long In20
    -----------------------------------------
    MOODY, Brent       3  118  39.3   54    1
    Totals...          3  118  39.3   54    1
    
                      Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
    All Returns     No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
    ---------------------------------------------
    BUSH, Michael    0   0  0  1  11 11  0   0  0
    HASKINS, Robert  3  46 29  0   0  0  0   0  0
    McCUNE, Robert   0   0  0  0   0  0  1   0  0
    RHODES, Kerry    0   0  0  0   0  0  1   0  0
    HARRIS, Antoine  0   0  0  0   0  0  1   0  0
    Totals...        3  46 29  1  11 11  3   0  0
    
    Field goal attempts
    ----------------------------------------
    SMITH, Nate     1st 12:47  22 yds - Good
    SMITH, Nate     3rd 05:24  44 yds - Good
    

    
    ARMY
    
    Rushing         No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
    --------------------------------------------
    Kent, Ryan       1   31    0   31  0 31 31.0
    Dahman, Zac      4   26    1   25  0 20  6.2
    Jones, Carlton   9   17    2   15  0  5  1.7
    Gulsby, Seth     5   14    2   12  0  7  2.4
    EVANS, Recardo   5   11    4    7  0  5  1.4
    Silva, Matt      2    7    0    7  0  5  3.5
    Totals...       26  106    9   97  0 31  3.7
    
    Passing         Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sack
    --------------------------------------------
    Dahman, Zac       30-17-0   130  0   15    1
    Silva, Matt       25-11-3   112  0   33    0
    Totals...         55-28-3   242  0   33    1
    
    Receiving        No.  Yds   TD Long
    -----------------------------------
    Murphy, Jacob      5   49    0   15
    ALEXANDER, Aaro    4   64    0   33
    Horaist, Doug      3   32    0   15
    Gulsby, Seth       3   16    0    9
    Jones, Carlton     3   12    0    7
    White, William     2   29    0   23
    ROBINSON, Tielo    2   16    0   10
    Mason, Lamar       2    8    0    5
    HILL, Walter       2    7    0    6
    MONTAGLIANI, Ch    1    5    0    5
    Woody, Clint       1    4    0    4
    Totals...         28  242    0   33
    
    Punting          No.  Yds   Avg Long In20
    -----------------------------------------
    Bradford, Alex     6  259  43.2   61    1
    Totals...          6  259  43.2   61    1
    
                      Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
    All Returns     No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
    ---------------------------------------------
    Stith, Ray       1  -2  0  0   0  0  0   0  0
    Hill, Brian      0   0  0  0   0  0  1  33 33
    WESLEY, Scott    0   0  0  6 140 43  0   0  0
    Totals...        1  -2  0  6 140 43  1  33 33
    
    Field goal attempts
    ----------------------------------------
    ZURISKO, Anthon 1st 03:10  22 yds - Good
    

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