Scores

Final

Cincinnati 17

(3-4, 0-3 away)

(7) Louisville 23

(6-0, 3-0 home)

Coverage: ESPNU

3:30 PM ET, October 14, 2006

Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY

1 2 3 4 T
CIN 3 7 0 717
#7LOU 0 13 7 323

Top Performers

Passing: B. Brohm (LOU) - 324 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: G. Moore (CIN) - 19 CAR, 97 YDS

Receiving: G. Barnidge (EAST) - 5 REC, 96 YDS, 1 TD

QB Brohm may be back for Louisville vs. Cincinnati

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Cincinnati coach Mark Dantonio laughs when you ask him if it matters who starts at quarterback for No. 7 Louisville on Saturday when they host the Bearcats.

Will it be starter Brian Brohm, returning from a hand injury, or backup Hunter Cantwell?

"I think they're still averaging 44 points," Dantonio said. "They're still running their offense and [Cantwell] is playing very well."

Cantwell has filled in ably since Brohm injured his right (throwing) hand in a win over Miami on Sept. 16, throwing for 513 yards and four touchdowns while leading the Cardinals (5-0) to wins over Kansas State and Middle Tennessee.

But Brohm's surgically repaired right thumb has healed faster than expected. Brohm originally planned to return in time for Louisville's Big East showdown with No. 5 West Virginia on Nov. 2, but said on Wednesday his thumb is "80-85 percent" of where it needs to be for him to play for the Keg of Nails.

And while coach Bobby Petrino knows there's nothing wrong with playing it safe and delaying Brohm's comeback, Brohm's progress this week might not give Petrino a choice.

"He's zipping it pretty good," Petrino said. "It's really kind of amazing. I think everyone was shocked the first day he threw and he's just gotten better since then."

Petrino said he may wait until game time to make a decision. Either way, the challenge remains the same for the Bearcats (3-3, 0-1): find a way to stop the nation's number one offense.

"It's another test to measure our program," Dantonio said. "Since I've come here, we've looked to Louisville as a measuring stick."

Though the Cardinals have won 14 straight home games -- the second-longest streak in the nation -- the Bearcats will hardly be intimidated. They've already played at No. 1 Ohio State and No. 22 Virginia Tech this season, games in which they held early leads before letting things slip away.

"I think we've matured," Dantonio said. "We've played in some hostile environments. The teams we lost to are good football teams."

The Cardinals have dominated the rivalry with the Bearcats since Petrino took over the program in 2003, winning all three meetings by an average of 30 points, including a 70-7 romp at home two years ago. But in an improved Big East, the Cardinals are taking nothing for granted.

"Every game is going to be a battle and that starts this week," he said. "We have to do a good job or preparation for Cincinnati. They're capable of coming in and playing great."

They'll have to if they want to hand the Cardinals just their second home loss under Petrino. Though the Cardinals survived their nonconference schedule undefeated, Petrino said there are areas of concern, particularly in the running game. The Cardinals struggled at times against Middle Tennessee, though Petrino took much of the blame for staying with the run too long when the Blue Raiders were packing nine defenders near the line.

"I'm still concerned about it, but I think we'll run the ball well," Petrino said. "The thing is you have to have the balance and be willing to do both."

Brohm, who will wear a splint on the injured thumb until it fully heals, said he knows there's a danger of aggravating the injury whenever he returns but that it's just something he'll have to deal with.

"I think that's always going to be in the back of your mind," he said. "We'll have to see how it goes, but once I get on the field in game action I won't be thinking about it at all."

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Passing Leaders

CincinnatiCMP%YDSTDINT
G. Kiel67.641860
M. Legaux80.01800
LouisvilleCMP%YDSTDINT
W. Gardner56.050362
R. Bonnafon70.015110

Rushing Leaders

CincinnatiCARYDSAVGTD
H. Williams141037.40
G. Kiel4246.00
LouisvilleCARYDSAVGTD
D. Brown582574.43
L. Scott161438.91

Receiving Leaders

CincinnatiRECYDSAVGTD
M. McKay917519.41
J. Holton36822.70
LouisvilleRECYDSAVGTD
E. Rogers1213511.30
G. Christian1212710.62