NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Stefan LeFors returned to his home state for the final time as a collegian and led Louisville to a record-setting performance.
LeFors threw for one touchdown and ran for another and the
(No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP) Cardinals became the first team in NCAA history to score at least 55 points in five straight games, beating Tulane 55-7 Saturday.
"It was a great way to end it, coming back home and getting a
big win," said LeFors, a senior who played high school ball in
nearby Baton Rouge. "Anytime you win its great but in front of a
lot of family and friends it's that much better."
The nation's top-rated passer completed 19 of 27 for 247 yards
before leaving the regular-season finale late in the third quarter.
LeFors was not recruited by a single Louisiana college but has
become the triggerman for one of the most prolific offenses' in the
LeFors sold himself to Louisville, sending the school a tape of
his high school highlights. Eventually, he landed a scholarship
from former Cardinals coach John L. Smith. The only Louisiana
school to contact him was Nicholls State, a I-AA school that wanted
him to play safety.
"I didn't know him when nobody wanted him," second-year
Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. "But since I stepped on
campus he's been a pleasure to coach. He works hard every day,
prepares extremely hard. He utilizes his skills to the utmost and
he's a tremendous leader, all the players rally around him. What a
great job, what is he, 19-and-5 as a starter and that's something
The Cardinals (10-1, 8-0 Conference USA), the nation's highest
scoring team, are averaging over 50 points a game.
"That's great, and I think you said the right thing and that's
'team," Petrino said. "Because we get scores from our special
teams, our defense today. That's why we're scoring that many
points, not just the offense."
Louisville's lowest scoring game was a 28-0 victory over
Kentucky in the season opener. Since then, the Cardinals have
scored no fewer than 34 points, and more than 40 points seven
Louisville freshman kicker Art Carmody broke the NCAA record for
consecutive PATs. He kicked seven, giving him 72, breaking the mark
set by Bart Edmiston of Florida in 1995.
Louisville had already clinched the conference regular-season
title and a spot in the Liberty Bowl. Tulane (5-6, 3-4) had won
three straight, and was hoping for an upset and a shot at a bowl
The regular-season finale for both teams was originally
scheduled for Sept. 18, but was postponed when Hurricane Ivan
threatened the New Orleans area.
Louisville had 522 yards in total offense to 165 for Tulane. The
Cardinals had 26 first downs to nine for the Green Wave.
"They're a great football team," said Tulane linebacker
Anthony Cannon "There's a reason they're ranked in the top 10.
They are really balanced and can hit you with the run or the pass.
You have to be ready for everything. They have a great offense and
a great defense, they compliment each other really well."
Tulane's defense managed to hold the Cardinals to field goals on
two of their three scoring drives in the first quarter.
Louisville capped its opening possession with a 30-yard field
goal, going up 3-0. On their second possession the Cardinals drove
67 yards with Eric Shelton rushing the final yard to make it 10-0.
Jon Russell blocked a punt that was recovered by Lou Harris,
setting Louisville up on the Green Wave 12. The Cardinals settled
for a field goal again, however, a 33-yarder that made it 13-0 at
the end of the first quarter.
Tulane opened the second quarter with a goal-line stand,
stopping Louisville four times from inside the 3-yard line. It was
moot when Tulane quarterback Richard Irvin fumbled the snap in the
end zone. Montavious Stanley dove under the Green Wave center and
recovered the football for a Louisville touchdown that made it
Louisville closed out the first half with a 3-yard touchdown
rush by LeFors to make it 27-0.
The Cardinals added two third-quarter scores, a 9-yard run by
Michael Bush and an 18-yard reception by Montrell Jones.
In the fourth quarter Shelton rushed for a 5-yard score and
Kolby Smith ran for a 7-yard TD.
Tulane prevented the shutout with a 3-yard touchdown pass from
Irvin to Roydell Williams with 2:12 left in the game.