Louisville QB Brohm shines in bowl, mulls return

Updated: January 3, 2007, 1:06 AM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Brian Brohm saved his best for when Louisville needed it most.

The Louisville quarterback suffered through three quarters of dropped passes, poor throws and missed opportunities against No. 15 Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl on Tuesday night.

Yet with the Cardinals' first Bowl Championship Series game on the line, the hometown kid delivered on the promise he made to the Cardinals when he chose to stay home rather than head to Notre Dame.

Brohm completed 24 of 34 passes for 311 yards -- the third-most in Orange Bowl history -- and was spectacular in the fourth quarter to lead Louisville to a 24-13 victory. It's a win that could propel the Cardinals into the national championship hunt next season, and Brohm into the Heisman Trophy race if he chooses to return for his senior year.

"It looks very appealing right now. It does," said Brohm, who was named the game's Most Valuable Player. "We've got a great team coming back and it would be very hard to pass that up."

If the Orange Bowl was his final bow at Louisville, Brohm made sure it was special. With the Cardinals trailing by three early in the fourth quarter, he was nearly perfect over Louisville's next two drives.

Brohm completed 9 of 11 passes for 124 yards in the final period, providing the Cardinals with the crispness they lacked over the first three quarters.

Playing with the cool efficiency that's highlighted his career, Brohm guided Louisville on an 81-yard drive that gave the Cardinals a 17-13 lead, and followed it with a 72-yard march that ended with an 18-yard touchdown run by Brock Bolen. The score put an exclamation point on Louisville's most significant win in program history.

"He just has a knack for the game," receiver Harry Douglas said of Brohm. "Some guys are just born with it, and he's one of them."

Brohm said he'll meet with his family and gauge the interest from NFL personnel before making his decision on whether to play again for Louisville. But the Cardinals return a majority of starters on both sides of the ball and could have injured running back Michael Bush back next year. Bush broke his right leg in the first game of the year and hasn't played since.

Brohm, whose older brothers Jeff and Greg and father Oscar all played at Louisville, has plenty of reason to return. But with some NFL experts predicting him to be a high draft pick, the lure of the pros may be too tempting.

"It'll be exciting to see what he does and hopefully he'll come back because I like our chances with him back there," said center Eric Wood.

So do the Louisville fans. The thousands at Dolphins Stadium chanted "one more year" to Brohm as he ran off the field.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press