MIAMI -- The Louisville Cardinals drew a flag for excessive
celebration in the second quarter, and another in the third.
Against Miami, the displays of jubilation were premature.
Led by Brock Berlin and Devin Hester, the third-ranked
Hurricanes erased a 17-point deficit over the final 20 minutes and
came from behind twice in the fourth quarter to beat Louisville 41-38 Thursday night.
Berlin threw three touchdown passes and directed the winning
drive, a 56-yard march capped by Frank Gore's 1-yard run with 49
"We kind of got ourselves in a hole," Berlin said. "Some
things weren't working. But we proved what type of character our
Gore's touchdown capped a seesaw fourth quarter. Hester scored
on a 78-yard punt return to put Miami ahead 34-31, but Louisville (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today; No. 18 AP)
regained the lead when freshman backup quarterback Brian Brohm
directed an 80-yard touchdown drive.
Stefan LeFors threw three touchdown passes for Louisville before
being sidelined with a concussion in the fourth quarter.
"This is the type of game that puts the Louisville program on
the map," said Tiger Jones, who caught two touchdown passes for
the Cardinals (4-1).
They had touted the game as perhaps the biggest in school
history and rose to the occasion. The Hurricanes (5-0) narrowly
averted only the second loss in their past 30 games at the Orange
Bowl to remain in the race for their sixth national championship
"A tremendous win," coach Larry Coker said. "The guys didn't
flinch. They didn't give up. Our guys really, really fought to the
Much of the credit belonged to Berlin, the target of boos when
Miami fell behind in the first half. He suffered a bruised chest in
the second quarter but didn't miss a play and finished 25-of-37 for
308 yards, including a completion on fourth-and-4 to keep the
winning drive alive.
"I was hurting pretty good," Berlin said. "But I never
considered coming out of the game."
He threw touchdown passes of 9 yards to Greg Olsen, 14 yards to
Roscoe Parrish and 11 yards to Akieem Jolla. Miami scored on all
six possessions in the second half.
But Brohm had the Hurricanes worried until the final play. The
game ended with an interception of his Hail Mary pass from
midfield, and then a shoving match between the teams.
"We're hurting and we're down," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino
said. "Anytime you go out and compete as hard as you can and lose,
Petrino used multiple wideouts -- sometimes with an empty
backfield -- to spread out the Hurricanes and kept them guessing,
even trying a flea-flicker in the first quarter that fell
incomplete. In the open field the Cardinals were fast enough to
match Miami's vaunted speed, to the alarm of the crowd of 63,715.
The Hurricanes trailed 24-7 at halftime and 31-14 late in the
third quarter. An early goal-line stand suggested the Cardinals
meant business, and 24 consecutive points in the first half
"We thought they would roll over and die, but they didn't,"
Miami center Joel Rodriguez said. "We found out they're a tough
LeFors went 17-of-22 for 244 yards. Lionel Gates scored three
times and Tiger Jones caught two touchdown passes for the
Cardinals, who totaled 507 yards against a defense that had given
up only one touchdown in its first four games.
But in the second half the Hurricanes were the more unstoppable
team, and Berlin directed consecutive scoring drives of 76, 66 and
87 yards to cut the deficit to 31-24. The Cardinals then committed
their first turnover when LeFors fumbled a snap on his final play,
setting up Jon Peattie's second field goal to make it 31-27 with 12
When the highly touted Brohm entered the game for the first
time, Miami forced a punt. Hester found a seam up the middle to
score untouched -- his third touchdown on a punt return this season.
"What can you say about Devin Hester?" Coker said. "He's
certainly one of the most exciting players I've ever seen. He makes
fast players look slow."
The touchdown put the Hurricanes ahead 34-31 with 8:11 left. But
Brohm rallied the Cardinals, and Gates scored on a 1-yard run with
4:30 to go.
Then it was Hester's turn again. He twice reversed his field on
a 34-yard kickoff return to start Miami at the 44. Kerry Rhodes
dropped a potential interception that might have sealed the win for
Louisville, and on fourth-and-4 at the 8 with 1:52 left, Berlin hit
Darnell Jenkins for 5 yards and a first down.
Gore scored two plays later.