Cards Run Over Wave 47-28

Louisville utilized a strong rushing attack and an impressive defensive effort to hold off Tulane for a 47-28 Conference USA victory and improve thier record to 6-1.

In a game that many expected to be an offensive show, it turned out to be a Cardinal show as the offensive, defensive and special team units all dominated throughout the contest.

"Louisville's a good football team," said Tulane head coach Chris Scelfo. "They really got after us in all three phases of the game."


Eric Shelton (ITV)
The Louisville rushing attack rushed for 288 yards, including 128 yards by sophomore back Eric Shelton, to help propel the team to a 47-28 victory over Tulane.

"I felt that we were playing a very good offensive football team," said Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino following the game. "I felt like we were going to have to run the ball to keep them on the sidelines."

The Cardinal defense put together what turned out to possibly be thier best complete performance of the season, highlighted by safety Kerry Rhodes two interceptions.

"I was very impressed with the way our defense played," continued Petrino. "To hold them to seven points in the first half and get the turnovers that we got and get the offense good field position...the defense did a really, really good job."

Entering the game, the Tulane Green Wave led Conference USA in scoring offense, with an average 33.8 points per outing and was second in the league in passing offense by averaging 300.8 yards per game. Against the Cardinals, the Green Wave was only able to gain 243 yards through the air.


Mike Gillhamer instructs the defense
(ITV)
"I knew coming into the game that facet of their game doesn't get the credit they deserve," said Scelfo of the Louisville defense. "The most important stat is points allowed, and they're good at it."

While the Louisville defense shut out the Tulane offense until there was less than nine minutes remaining in the first half, the Cardinal offense converted three touchdowns, two of which came on drives of over 80 yards.

Eric Shelton accounted for two of the scores, an 8-yard run to begin the scoring and an 11-yard run to put the Cardinals up 21-0 early in the second quarter. Shelton would score a third touchdown in the fourth quarter, giving him six rushing touchdowns in the past two outings.

"I give much praise to the offensive line," said Shelton. "They did a great job of blocking. Most of it was because of them and our tight end. I just expected to do what I do. Whatever came out of it, came out of it. It came out positive."


Michael Bush (ITV)
Freshman Michael Bush, who for the second consecutive game accounted for more than 100 all-purpose yards, rushed for a couple of scores, with the second coming with 8:01 remaining in the game and giving the Cardinals a commanding 47-21 lead.

Quarterback Stefan LeFors threw for 188-yards, connecting with J.R. Russell six times.

The player of the game could very well have been Kerry Rhodes' who's two interceptions thwarted two potential Tulane scoring drives. His 33-yard interception return for a touchdown was the first defensive touchdown for the Cardinals this season. In addition to his interceptions, Rhodes recorded six tackles, including one sack and forced one fumble.

"I think the defense as a whole played pretty good," said Rhodes. "I think the secondary played a great game."

In recent games, the play of the special teams, especially the punt coverage team, has hurt the Cardinals in the battle for field position, but on Friday night, Louisville limited Tulane to nine total return yards.

"I think that's the best game, at least from standing on the sidelines and not watching the film yet, that it was the best game from our special teams," Petrino said. "I felt they really gave us good field position."

Starting cornerback Josh Minkins, who is also a member of the punt coverage unit agreed.

"[Coach Petrino] told us it was going to be key," said Minkins. "We really had to step up...we took it serious. Everyone went out there and did the job."

Louisville will next travel to Greenville, NC to face a winless East Carolina program on October 25th.


NOTES
  • Sophomore RB Eric Shelton recorded 128 yards on 19 carries - his third 100-yard rushing game of the season. He scored three rushing touchdowns, giving him six in the last two games. Shelton has 622 yards on the year, which is 28 yards more than anyone rushed for during the entire 2002 season.
  • With two 29-yard field goals tonight, senior K Nate Smith broke the school record for field goals in a career with 37, breaking the old mark of 36 which was held by Ron Bell (1987-90).
  • The Cardinals are 4-0 at home for the first time since the 1997 season and have won their last five in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium dating back to last season.
  • Junior DB Kerry Rhodes recorded the first two-interception game of his career and returned an interception for a TD for the first time in his career, a 33-yarder in the fourth quarter.
  • U of L recorded five rushing touchdowns tonight, the first time the Cardinals have accomplished that feat in a single game since rushing for six TDs in a 63-34 victory over Western Kentucky on Oct. 31, 1998.
  • Junior WR J.R. Russell has now caught a pass in 18 straight games. He tied his career-high for reception with six.
  • Senior TE Ronnie Ghent has now caught a pass in 32 straight games during his career.
  • Freshman QB/RB/WR Michael Bush rushed for a career-best 66 yards on 19 carries. He added three catches for 43 yards.


    BOX SCORE
    Score by Quarters     1  2  3  4   Score
    -----------------    -- -- -- --   -----
    Tulane..............  0  7  7 14  - 28
    Louisville..........  7 17  3 20  - 47
    
    
                                     TULANE      LOU
    
    FIRST DOWNS...................       24       20
      Rushing.....................       12       13
      Passing.....................       11        7
      Penalty.....................        1        0
    Rushing Attempts..............       42       42
    Yards Gained Rushing..........      213      296
    Yards Lost Rushing............       53        8
    NET YARDS RUSHING.............      160      288
    NET YARDS PASSING.............      243      212
      Passes Attempted............       29       28
      Passes Completed............       16       17
      Had Intercepted.............        2        0
    TOTAL OFFENSIVE PLAYS.........       71       70
    TOTAL NET YARDS...............      403      500
      Average Gain Per Play.......      5.7      7.1
    Fumbles: Number-Lost..........      4-2      2-1
    Penalties: Number-Yards.......      0-0    10-71
    Number of Punts-Yards.........    7-310    7-259
      Average Per Punt............     44.3     37.0
    Punt Returns: Number-Yards....      5-9     4-30
    Kickoff Returns: Number-Yards.    8-114     4-94
    Interceptions: Number-Yards...      0-0     2-33
    Fumble Returns: Number-Yards..      0-0      0-0
    Miscellaneous Yards...........        0        0
    Possession Time...............    27:18    32:42
    Third-Down Conversions........  5 of 12  4 of 13
    Fourth-Down Conversions.......   0 of 0   0 of 0
    Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      1-1      6-6
    Sacks By: Number-Yards........      0-0     3-27
    
    LOUISVILLE
    
    Rushing         No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
    --------------------------------------------
    SHELTON, Eric   19  130    2  128  3 36  6.7
    LeFORS, Stefan   6   70    0   70  0 31 11.7
    BUSH, Michael    9   66    0   66  2 22  7.3
    GATES, Lionel    4   19    0   19  0  9  4.8
    SMITH, Kolby     1    4    0    4  0  4  4.0
    PATTERSON, T.J.  3    7    6    1  0  7  0.3
    Totals...       42  296    8  288  5 36  6.9
    
    Passing         Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sack
    --------------------------------------------
    LeFORS, Stefan    27-16-0   188  0   43    0
    RASCATI, Justin    1-1-0     24  0   24    0
    Totals...         28-17-0   212  0   43    0
    
    Receiving        No.  Yds   TD Long
    -----------------------------------
    RUSSELL, J.R.      6   80    0   43
    BUSH, Michael      3   43    0   21
    OWENS, Richard     2   22    0   14
    GATES, Lionel      2    8    0    5
    JONES, Tiger       1   24    0   24
    SHELTON, Eric      1   19    0   19
    TINCH, Joshua      1    8    0    8
    GHENT, Ronnie      1    8    0    8
    Totals...         17  212    0   43
    
    Punting          No.  Yds   Avg Long In20
    -----------------------------------------
    MOODY, Brent       7  259  37.0   46    1
    Totals...          7  259  37.0   46    1
    
    TULANE
    
    Rushing         No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
    --------------------------------------------
    MOORE, Mewelde  26  149   26  123  1 25  4.7
    JACKSON, Jovon   4   21    0   21  0  8  5.2
    COLEMAN, Kris    3   10    0   10  0  4  3.3
    SMITH, Tristan   1    5    0    5  0  5  5.0
    LOSMAN, J.P.     8   28   27    1  0 14  0.1
    Totals...       42  213   53  160  1 25  3.8
    
    Passing         Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sack
    --------------------------------------------
    LOSMAN, J.P.      29-16-2   243  3   54    3
    Totals...         29-16-2   243  3   54    3
    
    Receiving        No.  Yds   TD Long
    -----------------------------------
    WILLIAMS, R.       5  119    1   54
    MOORE, Mewelde     5   57    0   29
    SMITH, Tristan     2   15    0   10
    TERRANOVA, B.      1   27    1   27
    DAVIS, Carl        1   16    1   16
    BUSH, Chris        1    8    0    8
    COLEMAN, Kris      1    1    0    1
    Totals...         16  243    3   54
    
    Punting          No.  Yds   Avg Long In20
    -----------------------------------------
    BECKMAN, Chris     7  310  44.3   50    1
    Totals...          7  310  44.3   50    1
    
    
    

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