The win moves the Cardinals to 4-3 on the season and evens their Big East record at 1-1 – keeping their conference title hopes alive for another week.
"It's tough to win on the road in this league and our guys made play after play and never got down against a team that was 6-0 and had a lot of momentum coming off a win over Rutgers last week," Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe said. "Our guys kept battling and fighting and never gave up."
U of L quarterback Brian Brohm threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns and the Louisville defense came up with four turnovers, including a game-clinching interception by Woodny Turenne in the final seconds, to knock off the previously undefeated Bearcats.
Cards ahead for good.
"It was four to nothing in the turnover department and that was huge," Kragthorpe said. "We did a great job taking care of the (ball)."
Anthony Allen scored the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter on a three yard run. The touchdown gave the Cards a 28-21 advantage with under 12 minutes left to play. Cincinnati managed a field goal two minutes later to cut Louisville's lead to 28-24. But the Cardinals salted most of the clock with two drives totaling over seven minutes.
A key Kragthorpe gamble paid off late for the Cardinals and enabled them to run off precious minutes in the final quarter. Facing fourth and one on their own 29-yard line and clingy to a narrow 28-24 advantage, Kragthorpe elected to go for it. Brohm sneaked for the needed yard and the Cards kept churning yards, and most importantly, clock.
"At that point in time we just didn't want to give the ball back to them," Kragthorpe said.
With several key performers out, including starters Mario Urrutia and Adrian Grady, Louisville got a big boost with the return of wide receiver Harry Douglas. Douglas sparked the Cardinals offense with 7 catches for 118 yards. Douglas' 51-yard reception early in the fourth quarter set up Louisville's final touchdown.
With Urrutia sidelined, Louisville again received big performances from Scott Long and Pat Carter. Long caught five passes for 75 yards, while Carter had 5 receptions for 59 yards. Carter had two touchdown receptions, including an 8-yarder in the third quarter that tied the game at 21.
Though Louisville's offense struggled in certain areas - the Cardinals rushed for just 97 yards, converted only 4 of 15 third downs and were forced to punt eight times, they still did enough to come out with their biggest win of the season.
The win was Louisville's fifth straight over rival Cincinnati, and their ninth in the last ten meeting between the two schools. That means the Keg of Nails, awarded annually to the game's winner, will be heading back to Louisville for another year.