Rutgers Bowl Hopes Dashed By Louisville 40-13

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Louisville scored on its first four possessions and sacked quarterback Chas Dodd nine times as Rutgers fell in its home finale 40-13 Friday at Rutgers Stadium. The Scarlet Knights lost for a fifth straight time while allowing 217 yards rushing. The long bright spot was freshman running back Jordan Thomas' 120 yards rushing.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – While the world's great democracy celebrated the unofficial holiday that is Black Friday, Rutgers staged one of its own.

And it wasn't celebratory and festive as Louisville cashed in.

The Cardinals scored touchdowns on their first four possessions while lifeless Rutgers was knocked out of bowl contention with a 40-13 loss in front of 37,422 at Rutgers Stadium.

The Scarlet Knights' fifth straight loss figures to resonate for a while because it is the second straight week Rutgers (4-7, 1-5 Big East) was pounded by a team which was below .500 at kickoff.

"Not a very pretty picture out there," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. "We have a lot to work on. …We got licked. I don't think it's effort. I think it's execution."

Louisville (6-6, 3-4) is bowl eligible, and got there by sacking Rutgers quarterback Chas Dodd nine times, by running for 217 yards, and by knocking much of the fight out of Rutgers by halftime.

"It's upsetting," Rutgers senior defensive tackle Charlie Noonan said. "We got our butt whooped. …I wouldn't say we were emotionally ready. First four drives says it pretty blatantly we weren't ready."

The lone bright spot for Rutgers was the running of freshman Jordan Thomas, who got his first extended chance to run between the tackles and finished with 120 yards on16 carries.

"That was the line," Thomas said. "They did extremely well all week. They worked so hard. The line did an awesome job."

By the time lunchtime arrived on a blustery, chilly day, the Cardinals held a 28-0 lead as running back Bilal Powell (23 carries, 123 yards) scored touchdowns on Louisville's first three possession (17- and 11- yard passes, 11-yard run).

The Cardinals made it 28-0 on Cameron Graham's 1-yard catch with 8:20 left in the second quarter before Thomas scored on a 17-yard run with 3:08 left in the first half to make it 28-7.

"We didn't focus on the little things and we were making mistakes that we usually don't make the last two weeks," Rutgers senior linebacker Antonio Lowery said. "Those small things become big things, and that's how those big plays happen. It's just steps, running too much, or too less."

Rutgers got no closer, and has been outscored 109-51 in the last two games.

"They out-executed us," Schiano said. "Nothing schematically that was confusing or anything like that. We made more mistakes than we've made in the last two weeks than we made all season."

The loss ends Rutgers' bowl streak at five straight years, but Schiano is confident it is only a bump in the road, and does not signal the downturn of the program.

"It's frustrating in the fact that's become what we do here," Schiano said. "Sometimes in life you've got to take step back maybe to take two steps forward. Hopefully, that's what we're going to do with this setback here. That's my plan."

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