Cards win Keg of Nails, 43-40

The Cardinals fought off a stingy Bearcat team on Friday afternoon at Nippert Stadium and returned to Louisville with the Keg of Nails after winning 43-40. Head Coach Bobby Petrino becomes the first U of L coach to win nine games in his initial season at the helm.

After developing an early 21-point lead at 28-7 late in the second quarter, Louisville had to fight back in the end to capture their ninth victory of the season. A 54-yard touchdown pass from Stefan LeFors to J.R. Russell pushed the Cardinals ahead 43-40 with 1:05 remaining in the game. Louisville's defense held the Cincinnati in check during it's last drive to secure the win.

Despite a slow start that allowed the home Bearcats to build an early 7-0 first quarter lead, the Cardinals found their stride late in the first period, when true freshman Kolby Smith ran for five yards and his first career touchdown to even the score.


LeFors looks upfield (ITV)
Louisville then scored 21 unanswered points in varying fashions. The first was a 7-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Richard Owens early in the second quarter. LeFors then broke free for a 69 yard scoring run, which was, at that point, the longest running play from scrimmage for the Cardinals all season. Linebacker Brandon Johnson then recovered a fumble, which was forced by senior Rod Day and returned it 20-yards, pushing the Cardinals ahead 28-7.

Cincinnati added a late second quarter score to pull within 28-14 at the half.

The third quarter belonged to the Cincinnati Bearcats, as they evened the score at 28-28 with less than a minute remaining in the period.

The Bearcats comeback, which was fueled by three Louisville turnovers, continued into the fourth quarter. When Bearcat kicker Chris Manfredini converted a 38 yard field goal, it pushed UC ahead 31-28.

This time Louisville responded and it took just one play. Michael Bush effectively ran a fake reverse to Robert Haskins and then due to a couple nice blocks, ran straight up the middle of the field for an 81-yard touchdown run, the longest rush for the Cardinal offense all season long.


Russell pulls in the game winner (AP)
Cincinnati's offense continued to put points on the scoreboard, scoring nine straight in a 3 minute span to once again take the lead, this time at 40-35 with 2:20 remaining in the contest.

With all three timeouts, Louisville seemed to have plenty of time to march down the field for the game winning score. However, the game winning score took just over one minute, as LeFors connected with Russell for a 54-yard scoring pass. The Cardinals added a two-point conversion to increase their lead to 43-40.

Quarterback Stefan LeFors threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 80 yards and a score.


Victor Glenn & Josh Minkins show off
the Keg of Nails
 (ITV)
The Cardinal ground game rolled up 315 yards on the ground, led by Michael Bush's 125 yards and Lionel Gates 89 yards.

With the win, Cardinal head coach Bobby Petrino became the first U of L coach in history to win nine games in his initial season as the Louisville skipper. Louisville has now won five of the last six in the series.

Louisville is still awaiting news of its bowl destination. The Cardinals are expected to either play in the GMAC Bowl against Miami of Ohio or in the Hawaii Bowl against Hawaii.

TEAM STATISTICS

                                    LOU      CIN

FIRST DOWNS...................       21       26
  Rushing.....................       10       11
  Passing.....................        9       13
  Penalty.....................        2        2
Rushing Attempts..............       35       42
Yards Gained Rushing..........      315      222
Yards Lost Rushing............        0       19
NET YARDS RUSHING.............      315      203
NET YARDS PASSING.............      211      336
  Passes Attempted............       27       40
  Passes Completed............       16       20
  Had Intercepted.............        1        0
TOTAL OFFENSIVE PLAYS.........       62       82
TOTAL NET YARDS...............      526      539
  Average Gain Per Play.......      8.5      6.6
Fumbles: Number-Lost..........      3-3      1-1
Penalties: Number-Yards.......     8-55     4-45
Number of Punts-Yards.........    3-124    3-130
  Average Per Punt............     41.3     43.3
Punt Returns: Number-Yards....      1-0      1-0
Kickoff Returns: Number-Yards.     7-84    6-120
Interceptions: Number-Yards...      0-0      1-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yards..     1-20      0-0
Miscellaneous Yards...........        0        0
Possession Time...............    26:07    33:53
Third-Down Conversions........   2 of 8  6 of 16
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   0 of 1   1 of 2
Sacks By: Number-Yards........     2-12      0-0

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Louisville

Rushing         No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
--------------------------------------------
BUSH, Michael   11  125    0  125  1 81 11.4
GATES, Lionel   14   89    0   89  0 21  6.4
LeFORS, Stefan   5   80    0   80  1 69 16.0
SMITH, Kolby     4   18    0   18  1 10  4.5
HASKINS, Robert  1    3    0    3  0  3  3.0
Totals...       35  315    0  315  3 81  9.0

Passing         Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sck
-------------------------------------------
LeFORS, Stefan    27-16-1   211  2   54   0
Totals...         27-16-1   211  2   54   0

Receiving        No.  Yds   TD Long
-----------------------------------
RUSSELL, J.R.      6  111    1   54
GHENT, Ronnie      6   65    0   19
GATES, Lionel      1   13    0   13
BUSH, Michael      1    9    0    9
OWENS, Richard     1    7    1    7
TINCH, Joshua      1    6    0    6
Totals...         16  211    2   54

Punting          No.  Yds   Avg Long In20
-----------------------------------------
MOODY, Brent       3  124  41.3   43    0
Totals...          3  124  41.3   43    0

                  Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns     No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
---------------------------------------------
CLARK, B.        0   0  0  4  63 19  0   0  0
GLENN, Victor    0   0  0  2  21 17  0   0  0
HASKINS, Robert  1   0  0  0   0  0  0   0  0
SMITH, Kolby     0   0  0  1   0  0  0   0  0
Totals...        1   0  0  7  84 19  0   0  0

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------
SMITH, Nate     3rd 02:21  36 yds - Missed

FUMBLES: Louisville-SMITH, Kolby 1-1; CLARK, B. 1-1; GATES, Lionel
1-1. Cincinnati-JONES, Carl 1-1.


Cincinnati

Rushing         No Gain Loss  Net TD Lg  Avg
--------------------------------------------
JONES, Carl     15   89    3   86  0 13  5.7
GUIDUGLI, Gino  11   80   12   68  0 33  6.2
VANN, Booker    12   44    3   41  0 16  3.4
KOESTER, Kyle    2    5    0    5  2  4  2.5
DANIELS, Mike    1    4    0    4  1  4  4.0
EDDINGTON, Deri  1    0    1   -1  0  0 -1.0
Totals...       42  222   19  203  3 33  4.8

Passing         Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sck
-------------------------------------------
GUIDUGLI, Gino    40-20-0   336  1   61   2
Totals...         40-20-0   336  1   61   2

Receiving        No.  Yds   TD Long
-----------------------------------
THOMAS, Hanniba    5   89    0   61
LEWIS, Thaddeus    4   48    0   17
HART, Dennis       3   69    1   51
ROSS, Derick       3   69    0   40
DAWLEY, Cedric     2   28    0   22
VANN, Booker       2   22    0   16
POLAND, Bill       1   11    0   11
Totals...         20  336    1   61

Punting          No.  Yds   Avg Long In20
-----------------------------------------
ERVIN, Chet        3  130  43.3   47    1
Totals...          3  130  43.3   47    1

                  Punts   Kickoffs  Intercept
All Returns     No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg No.Yds.Lg
---------------------------------------------
LEWIS, Thaddeus  0   0  0  2  35 20  0   0  0
HARWELL, Tedric  0   0  0  2  24 15  0   0  0
NORTON, Zach     1   0  0  0   0  0  1   0  0
DANIELS, Mike    0   0  0  2  61 43  0   0  0
Totals...        1   0  0  6 120 43  1   0  0

Field goal attempts
----------------------------------------
ERVIN, Chet     2nd 13:50  48 yds - Missed
MANFREDINI, Chr 3rd 11:52  29 yds - Good
MANFREDINI, Chr 3rd 06:15  32 yds - Good
MANFREDINI, Chr 4th 14:02  38 yds - Good
MANFREDINI, Chr 4th 05:21  38 yds - Good

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