LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Even when he disagreed with his coach,
Louisville quarterback Stefan LeFors made the right play.
The senior left-hander completed his first 13 passes, threw for
one touchdown and ran for another in Louisville's 41-9
victory over South Florida on Friday night.
He finished 21-of-26 for 242 yards to help the Cardinals (5-1,
3-0 Conference USA) bounce back from a 41-38 loss to No. 4 Miami
"It was just one of those nights out there, throwing the ball
and not worrying about anything else," said LeFors, who ranks
second in the nation in pass efficiency.
Early in the game, LeFors read South Florida's defense and
changed a few plays Coach Bobby Petrino called from the sideline.
It worked every time, as the Cardinals (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today; No. 15 AP) marched to a 14-0 lead
before the Bulls got their initial first down.
"Stefan did an exceptional job," Petrino said. "He used his
experience to get us out of what would've been some negative plays
and into some positive plays. He's been really effective."
LeFors, completing 75.6 percent of his passes coming into the
game, lost his perfect game when J.R. Russell missed on a diving
try with 1:03 left in the first half. Art Carmody salvaged the
drive with a 34-yard field goal that gave the Cardinals a 27-3
LeFors sensed the Bulls' defense never got a feel for what the
Cardinals were doing.
"Defenses don't know what's coming," LeFors said. "We can do
so many things, throw so many things at them."
Russell finished with eight catches for 111 yards, his eighth
career 100-yard receiving game. All of them have come with LeFors
"People have told him all his life he's too short and doesn't
have a strong enough arm," Russell said. "But he's going to make
Louisville, third in the nation in total offense, racked up 517
yards and reached 40 points for the eighth time in 19 games under
Petrino, midway through his second year.
The sputtering Bulls (2-4, 1-3) finished with 203 yards and 13
first downs -- with most of the production coming too late to
Louisville has held four opponents below 250 yards of offense.
"We ran to the ball really well and did a great job of
gang-tackling," Petrino said.
The Bulls gained only 40 yards on 27 plays in the first half.
Sophomore quarterback Pat Julmiste misfired on 12 of 13 passes
before halftime, with many of his incompletions coming on drops by
"Our offense obviously didn't move the ball, Pat struggled, and
didn't throw it well," said South Florida coach Jim Leavitt.
"We've got to play a lot better on offense."
The Cardinals glided into South Florida territory on their first
three possessions. Senior tight end Adam McCauley caught three
passes on Louisville's first scoring march, including his first
career TD reception with 5:21 left in the opening quarter.
The Bulls went three-and-out from inside their own 10 and
Montrell Jones returned a short punt to the South Florida 26. Three
plays later, Michael Bush ran into the corner of the end zone on a
sweep for a 14-0 lead.
A pass interference call on Louisville cornerback Antoine Harris
kept alive a South Florida drive that ended with Santiago
Gramatica's 38-yard field goal.
LeFors was 9-for-9 when Petrino replaced him with backup Brian
Brohm early in the second quarter. It was the fifth time in six
games Petrino has made the move, as he continues grooming the
freshman for the future.
Brohm went 3-for-7 on two possessions and Carmody finished the
second with a 34-yard field goal with 4:55 left in the half.
Andre Hall brought the ensuing kickoff out of the end zone, but
only reached the 10.
Travis Lipp bobbled a pass from Julmiste a minute later and
Louisville linebacker Robert McCune intercepted it at the Bulls'
16. A clipping call backed up the Cardinals, but a 30-yard pass
from LeFors to Broderick Clark set up a 2-yard touchdown run by
"I was very impressed with our players' ability to prepare,
play with emotion and take care of business," Petrino said.
LeFors had a 13-yard touchdown run and Bush scored from 19 yards
in the third quarter, giving the Cardinals their 24th rushing
touchdown of the season, best in the nation.
Julmiste threw a 50-yard pass to Johnny Peyton early in the
fourth quarter. Julmiste finished 3-for-20 for 67 yards.