(7) Louisville 55

(10-1, 5-1 away)

Tulane 7

(5-6, 4-2 home)

Coverage: GamePlan

2:30 PM ET, December 4, 2004

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA

1 2 3 4 T
#7LOU 13 14 14 1455
TULN 0 0 0 77

Top Performers

Passing: S. LeFors (LOU) - 247 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: E. Shelton (LOU) - 18 CAR, 58 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: J. Russell (LOU) - 9 REC, 103 YDS

Five straight with 55 or more is an NCAA record

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 country.

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 special."

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 times.

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 game.

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 20-0.

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.