3:30 PM ET, September 4, 2005
Commonwealth Stadium, LEXINGTON, KY
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- For all the preseason talk about Louisville's high-powered passing game, it was a running back and a defensive end that led the Cardinals to victory in their opener.
Michael Bush rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns and Elvis Dumervil added a school-record six sacks as No. 12 Louisville held off Kentucky 31-24 on Sunday.
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Bush carried 27 times and scored on runs of 11 and 1 yards. He helped the Cardinals grind out the clock after Kentucky (0-1) rallied within a touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was Bush's fourth career 100-yard rushing effort, and the Cardinals' sixth win in seven years against their in-state rival.
"I'm just real sore," Bush said. "I wasn't paying attention to how many carries I have. I'm glad they put it on my shoulders to do what I did."
Louisville's heralded sophomore quarterback, Brian Brohm, went 19-of-27 for 179 yards and rushed for two touchdowns in his first collegiate start. He had just one incompletion in the first half as the Cardinals jumped to a 28-7 lead.
But the Cardinals managed only a 19-yard field goal by Art Carmody in the second half, opening the door for a Kentucky rally. The Wildcats pulled within 31-24 with 11:52 left on a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andre Woodson to tight end Jacob Tamme.
Tamme then partially blocked a Louisville punt, giving Kentucky possession at the Louisville 33 with 7:21 left, and the Wildcats quickly reached the 7-yard line.
On the next play, Woodson carried, switched the football from one hand to another and fumbled at the 2. Louisville linebacker Brandon Johnson, whose knee hit the ball while Woodson was going down, recovered with 6:21 left.
The Southeastern Conference is using instant replay this season, but game officials chose not to stop the game to review if Woodson was down when he fumbled. Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said he thought Woodson was down and wanted officials to review the play.
"I don't understand why we have instant replay if we don't look at a pivotal play in the game like that," Brooks said. "All we have to do is look at it."
Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said he didn't have a view of the play.
The Wildcats never got the ball back, as the Cardinals converted three times on third down on their ensuing drive.
"I was really happy with the way Michael ran at the end of the game because that is something we've been working hard on, getting the tough yards and the physical yards," Petrino said.
"That's how rivalry games are supposed to be and we felt like, coming in here, it was going to be a great battle. So, we're certainly glad to get out of here with a 'W."
Woodson, a sophomore making his second career start, went 17-of-27 for 278 yards and two touchdowns but lost three fumbles.
"It just makes me sick to my stomach that we were close to doing something that would have been very significant and again, we come up just short on it," Brooks said. "We had our chances."
Louisville opened with a 13-play, 76-yard touchdown drive, capped by Brohm's 1-yard run, but Kentucky answered by covering 80 yards in 10 plays, with Arliss Beach scoring on a 6-yard run to tie the game.
Louisville's offense kept rolling, while Kentucky managed only two first downs the rest of the half. The Cardinals went ahead 14-7, ending a 77-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Brohm on the first play of the second quarter.
Fumbles by Woodson, both forced by Dumervil, set up the next two scores. Dumervil appeared to return the second fumble 33 yards for a touchdown, but after a video review of the play, officials ruled he was down at the spot of the recovery.
Dumervil had four sacks in the first half and added two more after the break. The previous school record for sacks in a game was five, set by Mike Flores against Murray State in 1990.
"He's got arms like he's a 7-footer and he's able to get his arms out on the offensive linemen before the guy gets set and he knows leverage well," Petrino said of Dumervil. "I bet he would have been a good wrestler."
Kentucky, coming off a 2-9 season in which it had one of the worst offenses in NCAA Division I-A, didn't take much consolation from coming close against its archrival.
"There are no moral victories," said sophomore receiver Keenan Burton, who had four catches for 98 yards. "A win is a win and a loss is a loss."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Kentucky QB Andre Woodson fumbled at the Louisville 2 when it looked like the 'Cats would tie the game. Instead, the Cards ran the clock out and showed why Kentucky is, well, Kentucky.
Gameball goes to... Louisville's Michael Bush. The Cardinals' bruising back ran for 128 yards and 2 TDs and had countless big runs to keep the chains moving.
Stat of the game... 6: The school-record number of sacks by Louisville's Elvis Dumervil. Dumervil had four sacks in the first half and added two more after the break. The previous school record for sacks in a game was five, set by Mike Flores against Murray State in 1990.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||9-15||5-10|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||0-0|
|TD||8:22||BRIAN BROHM 1 YD RUN (ARTHUR CARMODY KICK)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 76 yards.
|TD||4:08||ARLISS BEACH 6 YD RUN (TAYLOR BEGLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||14:54||BRIAN BROHM 1 YD RUN (ARTHUR CARMODY KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 77 yards.
|TD||6:32||MICHAEL BUSH 11 YD RUN (ARTHUR CARMODY KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 17 yards.
|TD||1:13||MICHAEL BUSH 1 YD RUN (ARTHUR CARMODY KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 48 yards.
|FG||11:14||TAYLOR BEGLEY 37 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 58 yards.
|TD||6:01||SCOTT MITCHELL 21 YD PASS FROM ANDRE' WOODSON (TAYLOR BEGLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||14:17||ARTHUR CARMODY 19 YD FG|
Drive info: 13 plays, 75 yards.
|TD||11:52||JACOB TAMME 15 YD PASS FROM ANDRE' WOODSON (TAYLOR BEGLEY KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 75 yards.