LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Michael Bush sat up on the stretcher and
waved to the Papa John's Stadium crowd.
He didn't anticipate having to say goodbye so soon.
The Louisville running back broke his right leg in the third
quarter of the 13th-ranked Cardinals' 59-28 victory over Kentucky
on Sunday night and will be out for the season.
"It was devastating to lose a player like him," said
Louisville coach Bobby Petrino. "It hurts a lot because of what
Michael has done for this program."
Bush had already run for 124 yards and three touchdowns in the
first half when he took the pitch from quarterback Brian Brohm on
Louisville's second play of the second half. His right leg was
pinned awkwardly underneath him while being tackled by Kentucky's
"I didn't even realize he was hurt," Woodyard said. "I didn't
hear anything. I just heard the crowd and I heard a big pop."
Bush lay on the ground for several minutes before being placed
on a stretcher and taken to a local hospital. He will undergo
surgery on Monday. He finished with 128 yards on 17 carries.
"Losing a guy like Michael Bush, he's irreplaceable," Brohm
said. "You can't replace him with one guy."
The injury quickly ended what had been a giddy night for the
Brohm, playing his first game since suffering a devastating knee
injury last November, threw for 254 yards and a touchdown, showing
no ill effects from nine months of grueling rehab.
Brohm completed his first pass and more importantly, survived
his first hit, bouncing up quickly after getting drilled by
Kentucky's Myron Pryor on Louisville's second drive.
He seemed comfortable in all phases, moving around nimbly when
required and standing up in the pocket during the few occasions the
Wildcats were able to generate pressure.
"I felt comfortable and I didn't even think about it," Brohm
said. "It really helped that I had a lot of protection and didn't
get hit very much. I really came away barely touched."
With Brohm's arm and Bush's legs leading the way, the Cardinals
scored on five of their first six possessions, grabbing a 31-0 lead
before the Wildcats could manage their second first down.
"They were hitting us before we hit them and we knew the snap
counts," said Kentucky coach Rich Brooks. "I expected us fully to
be better up front. They manhandled us up front."
Despite a pair of long touchdown passes by Kentucky's AndrDe
Woodson, the Cardinals were still firmly in control when they took
over at their own 16 on their first possession of the second half.
Two plays later, one of their best players lay on his back in
Though reserves George Stripling (nine carries, 90 yards, two
touchdowns) and Kolby Smith (12 carries, 66 yards) filled in ably
for Bush, much of Louisville's hopes for its first Big East title
were on Bush's broad shoulders.
He led the nation in scoring last season, averaging 14.4 points
per game while scoring a school-record 23 rushing touchdowns. He
considered turning pro after the season, but the Louisville native
decided to return for his senior year to help the Cardinals make
their first appearance in a Bowl Championship Series while
hopefully lifting his draft stock at the same time.
With a favorable schedule that includes home games against No.
11 Miami and No. 7 West Virginia, the Cardinals are still in
position to have a big season. Now they'll have to do it without
Bush, who will have the opportunity to be redshirted and return for
another season if he chooses.
Petrino said it will be up to Bush and his family to decide
whether to apply for a redshirt.
Bush's injury cast a shadow over Louisville's fourth straight
win over its in-state rival. The offense rolled up 631 total yards,
doing whatever it wanted whenever it wanted. Louisville's 59 points
was its highest output in series history, and the 13th time under
Petrino that they've eclipsed 50 points in a game.
"We just never really matched their tempo and they took
advantage of us," Woodyard said.
Kentucky wide receiver Keenan Burton -- a lifelong friend of
Bush's who consoled him as he left the field -- tried to keep the
Wildcats competitive. He caught four passes for 127 yards and a
touchdown and also scored on a 100-yard kickoff return.
But the Wildcats ultimately had no answer for the Cardinals,
with or without Bush.
Now it will be up to Stripling and Smith to help the Cardinals
"I knew when [Bush] went down that me and Kolby would have to
step it up," Smith said. "We had to step it up and go get it for
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