Tigers Maul Cards 37-7

In one of the biggest games in the series history, the Memphis Tigers roared into Louisville and won convincingly over the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

No Other Way to Say it, Tigers Maul Cards 37-7

Following the heartbreaking loss to TCU, the Louisville Cardinals were looking to bounce back, and to keep afloat their outside hopes of a Liberty Bowl bid. However, the team that was visiting from Memphis had other ideas. The Memphis Tigers spotted the Cards 7 points and then proceeded to dominate Louisville in all aspects of the game Saturday at Papa-Johns Cardinal Stadium.

Things started fairly well for the Cards, with Tiger Jones coming up with Louisville's second blocked punt of the year (first since the UK game) which led to a Lionel Gates 12-yd TD run and a 7-0 lead with 7:37 remaining in the first quarter.

The defense would then hold Memphis to three-and-out, and the offense would take over and move across midfield, but that is when things changed. Starting on first-and-ten from the Memphis 47, three consecutive Stefan LeFors passes were tipped at the line of scrimmage by Memphis. Third time was a charm, as the Tigers Eric Taylor would pick it off and return it 52-yds for the tying score. From that point on, the Cards struggled to find any offensive fluency, and were equally as troubled trying to defend Memphis on primarily short fields.

The end result was a game in which Memphis dominated about every aspect: 443yds to 216yds, 80 plays to 58, time of possession 37:28 to 22:32, and first downs 24 to 12.

"Defensively, they put a lot of pressure on us," said Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino. "They took away a lot of our run and play action game, and made us sit in the pocket and make plays. We just unable to do it. That's something that hasn't happened to this offense in a long time. Give them credit. They were the better team tonight. There's no doubt about it."

One thing that doesn't show on paper is field position, which may very well have been the most important factor in the match-up. Louisville continually began drives inside their own 20, while Memphis all-to-often saw its drives begin near midfield or even better. Memphis coach Tommy West eluded to the importance of field position in the game, and felt it was probably the one thing had the most influence on the outcome.

Once Memphis tied the game with the interception return, the field position and game quickly turned in their favor. Louisville followed the INT score by going three-and-out, which resulted in Memphis having good field position on their own 40 to begin their next drive. After the first play went for a one-yard loss, the Tigers would march 60-yards in six plays, capped by a DeAngelo Williams 17-yd touchdown run for the go-ahead score with 5 seconds remaining in the first quarter. From that point until the fourth quarter, the game was a completely one-sided affair, with Louisville managing only four first downs, while not making their way into Memphis territory once. The Tigers would take advantage of the good field position to add two Gotskowski field goals (22,28) to take an unexpected, but not insurmountable, 20-7 halftime lead.

Any hope Cardinal fans had of a potential comeback were likely wiped out on the opening drive of the second half, as Memphis marched 80-yards in 11 plays, finished with a Danny Wimprine sneak from the one, giving the Tigers a 26-7 lead. Memphis would successfully convert a two-point conversion to make their lead an even 3 touchdowns (28-7) when Wimprine was the recipient of a pass back across the field from Darron White.


(ITV)
With their backs against the wall, but still enough time for hopes of a rally, the Cardinals just couldn't come up with any solution to moving the ball against the Memphis defense. The Tigers repeatedly blitzed LeFors, and more often than not, Louisville failed to pick it up, leaving LeFors to scramble for safety. The Cards would go three-and-out on their opening drive of the second half when a LeFors pass to Broderick Clark fell incomplete.

Things then went from bad to worse, as Memphis, despite being forced to punt, made the most of it when Wimprine pinned a rugby style punt on the Louisville one-yard line. On second down, and still on the one, the Louisville protection would again breakdown as the Tigers Coot Terry would get ahold of LeFors in the endzone for a sack and the safety, giving Memphis a 30-7 lead with 3:29 remaining in the third quarter.

On the ensuing free kick, Wade Tydlacka shanked a punt, again giving Memphis good field position to work with, this time on the Louisville 45. It would take the Tigers only 4-plays to move down the field and into the end zone on a 19-yard Wimprine pass to White, for the games final score.

The Cards would mount some fourth quarter offense, sparked by a Robert Haskins 39-yard punt return of yet another rugby kick from Wimprine. It actually appeared that Louisville had a touchdown when LeFors hit JR Russell in the left of the end zone near the pylon, but the officials ruled that Russell was out of bounds on the catch (which replays showed as very debatable). The following play would bring another questionable call by the officials, as Richard Owens was called for offensive pass interference, pushing the ball from the 4 to the 17-yard line. The Cards would unsuccessfully convert a fourth down from that spot and turn the ball over to Memphis. Despite what may have some bad calls, a score likely would have made not a difference in the end, as the Cards would have still trailed 37-14 with less than 9 minutes remaining in the game.

The Tigers took over and used primarily their running game to run out the remaining clock time, as they covered 67-yards with 15 plays to drain the games final 7:55.

"Since I've been in this league, the two teams that have been a measuring stick for us have been Southern Miss and Louisville," said Memphis Head Coach Tommy West. "So it's a big, big win for us. It's hard to win on the road, and this is a team that has been on a pretty good roll. We're a very confident football team right now."


Stefan LeFors (ITV)
Following the game, LeFors was asked if he ever thought he would see the Cardinals offense shut down as it was against the Tigers. "That's the first time, I didn't think it could happen; I mean, there's time we would march up and down the field but couldn't get any points, but we couldn't even march up and down the field. It was a rough night, we were just off."

The Cards will try to break out of their two-game losing streak when the offensive minded Houston Cougars come to town for the season finale in PJCS. The Cougars moved to 6-4 Saturday with a 34-14 win at Army. Both teams now have 3-3 conference records, so this game now takes on added importance in regards to position for a post-season bowl game.

STATISTICS


                                MEMPHIS      LOU

FIRST DOWNS...................       24       12
  Rushing.....................       12        6
  Passing.....................        9        6
  Penalty.....................        3        0
Rushing Attempts..............       51       27
Yards Gained Rushing..........      250       96
Yards Lost Rushing............        8       39
NET YARDS RUSHING.............      242       57
NET YARDS PASSING.............      201      159
  Passes Attempted............       29       31
  Passes Completed............       17       13
  Had Intercepted.............        0        1
TOTAL OFFENSIVE PLAYS.........       80       58
TOTAL NET YARDS...............      443      216
  Average Gain Per Play.......      5.5      3.7
Fumbles: Number-Lost..........      0-0      2-0
Penalties: Number-Yards.......     5-35     6-56
Number of Punts-Yards.........    6-184    7-267
  Average Per Punt............     30.7     38.1
Punt Returns: Number-Yards....     3-19     4-57
Kickoff Returns: Number-Yards.      0-0    7-148
Interceptions: Number-Yards...     1-52      0-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yards..      0-0      0-0
Miscellaneous Yards...........        0        0
Possession Time...............    37:28    22:32
Third-Down Conversions........  7 of 17  3 of 13
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   1 of 2   0 of 2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      5-6      1-2
Sacks By: Number-Yards........     3-26      0-0


MEMPHIS

Rushing         No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
--------------------------------------------
WILLIAMS, DeAng 27  157    3  154  1 27  5.7
PARQUET, Derron  7   36    2   34  0 21  4.9
COLE, LaKendus   8   26    1   25  0 16  3.1
WIMPRINE, Danny  4   21    0   21  1 10  5.2
AVERY, Maurice   2    8    2    6  0  8  3.0
PRICE, LaDarius  1    1    0    1  0  1  1.0
WHITE, Darron    1    1    0    1  0  1  1.0
Team             1    0    0    0  0  0  0.0
Totals...       51  250    8  242  2 27  4.7

Passing         Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sack
--------------------------------------------
WIMPRINE, Danny   29-17-0   201  1   55    0
Totals...         29-17-0   201  1   55    0

Receiving        No.  Yds   TD Long
-----------------------------------
WHITE, Darron      3   55    1   29
KELLEY, Chris      3   29    0   16
WILLIAMS, DeAng    3   25    0   16
DOUGLAS, Robert    2    8    0    7
DOUCETTE, John     2    5    0    4
AVERY, Maurice     1   55    0   55
DAVIS, Tavariou    1   16    0   16
PRATCHER, Mario    1   11    0   11
PRICE, LaDarius    1   -3    0    0
Totals...         17  201    1   55

Punting          No.  Yds   Avg Long In20
-----------------------------------------
AVERY, Maurice     1   44  44.0   44    1
Team               1    0   0.0    0    0
WIMPRINE, Danny    4  140  35.0   37    2
Totals...          6  184  30.7   44    3

                  Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns     No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
---------------------------------------------
TAYLOR, Eric     0   0  0  0   0  0  1  52 52
HOPPE, Cole      3  19 12  0   0  0  0   0  0
Totals...        3  19 12  0   0  0  1  52 52

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------
GOSTKOWSKI, S.  2nd 06:24  22 yds - Good
GOSTKOWSKI, S.  2nd 00:08  28 yds - Good

Louisville

Rushing         No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
--------------------------------------------
GATES, Lionel   14   54    6   48  1 12  3.4
BUSH, Michael    3   11    0   11  0  5  3.7
LeFORS, Stefan   8   30   26    4  0 13  0.5
SMITH, Kolby     1    1    0    1  0  1  1.0
HASKINS, Robert  1    0    7   -7  0  0 -7.0
Totals...       27   96   39   57  1 13  2.1

Passing         Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sack
--------------------------------------------
LeFORS, Stefan    31-13-1   159  0   31    3
Totals...         31-13-1   159  0   31    3

Receiving        No.  Yds   TD Long
-----------------------------------
RUSSELL, J.R.      4   36    0   14
TINCH, Joshua      3   69    0   26
GATES, Lionel      2   18    0   22
GHENT, Ronnie      2    7    0    5
CLARK, B.          1   31    0   31
BUSH, Michael      1   -2    0    0
Totals...         13  159    0   31

Punting          No.  Yds   Avg Long In20
-----------------------------------------
MOODY, Brent       7  267  38.1   48    1
Totals...          7  267  38.1   48    1

                  Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns     No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
---------------------------------------------
CLARK, B.        0   0  0  7 148 39  0   0  0
JONES, Tiger     1  15  0  0   0  0  0   0  0
HASKINS, Robert  3  42 36  0   0  0  0   0  0
Totals...        4  57 36  7 148 39  0   0  0

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