LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Even taking away one of the nation's
leading scorers didn't seem to slow down the Louisville Cardinals.
Brian Brohm passed for 339 yards and three touchdowns and ran
for another score to help No. 23 Louisville rout Rutgers 56-5 on
Running back Kolby Smith, filling in for the injured Michael
Bush, scored three touchdowns for Louisville (7-2, 3-2 Big East),
which won its third straight game and extended its home streak to
11 games, tied for the fifth-longest in NCAA Division I-A.
Louisville scored more than 40 points for the sixth straight
game despite the absence of Bush, who ranks second in Division I-A
with 21 touchdowns. The junior didn't suit up and missed a game for
the first time in his college career because of a sprained foot. He
was injured in the Cardinals' win over Pittsburgh on Nov. 3.
"You always miss a great player, but I think the players on
this team have taken a lot of pride in overcoming obstatcles when
we have a player down -- not only the offensive players, but the
defensive players," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. "We were
very fortunate that we played that well."
Rutgers (6-4, 3-3) hasn't beaten a ranked team since Sept. 24,
1988, when it upset Penn State 21-16. The Scarlet Knights have lost
to South Florida and Louisville since becoming bowl-eligible two
weeks ago, giving up 101 points in the two games.
Rutgers, which entered the game ranked No. 2 in the Big East in
total offense, behind Louisville, managed only nine first downs and
finished with 187 yards of offense, almost 200 below its average.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Mike Teel, making his third career
start, completed 12 of 24 passes for 91 yards and threw two
interceptions. The running back tandem of Ray Rice and Brian
Leonard combined for only 79 yards on 20 carries after entering the
game averaging 150.3 rushing yards per game.
"We really didn't play like ourselves," Rutgers coach Greg
Schiano said. "We didn't really capitalize on anything. I don't
think we played as well as we could and that is what we need to
Smith carried 17 times for 55 yards, scoring on runs of 5 and 4
yards and catching a 9-yard touchdown pass from Brohm, who
completed 23 of 31 passes. The three-touchdown game was the second
of his career for Smith, a junior.
Brohm also threw scoring passes of 1 yard to Breno Giacomini and
36 yards to Joshua Tinch. Tinch caught 10 passes for 183 yards, a
career high in the latter category.
"It always puts a smile on my face when Joshua has that much
production because he works hard to get that," Petrino said.
Rutgers actually outgained Louisville 130 yards to 128 yards in
the first half but trailed 21-5.
The Scarlet Knights took a 3-0 lead on Jeremy Ito's 32-yard
first-quarter field goal. Louisville's Sergio Spencer returned the
ensuing kickoff 61 yards to the Rutgers 29, setting up a 1-yard
sneak by Brohm for a touchdown.
Louisville scored again on its next possession, covering 67
yards in six plays that included a 36-yard pass from Brohm to
Tinch. Smith scored on a 5-yard run to put the Cardinals ahead
Rutgers' Manny Collins blocked a Todd Flannery punt out of the
end zone for a safety, making it 14-5. But Flannery's next punt
covered a career-long 64 yards and rolled dead at the Rutgers 1.
The Scarlet Knights managed one first down, but on a
third-and-10 play, Teel underthrew a receiver and was intercepted
by safety Jon Russell, who returned the football 31 yards to the
Rutgers 4. Smith scored his second touchdown on the next play, 50
seconds before halftime.
Louisville scored touchdowns on its first five second-half
possessions, including a 1-yard run by Kurt Quarterman, a guard who
lined up in the backfield. It was the third career score for the
6-foot-5, 341-pound lineman.
"To be the top offense in the country," Tinch said, "you've
got to do good in the third and fourth quarter," Tinch said.
Louisville defensive end Elvis Dumervil did not record a sack,
keeping his season total at 20. Dumervil, one of six finalists for
the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award, is four sacks
shy of the Division I-A single-season record set by Terrell Suggs
of Arizona State in 2002. The NCAA began keeping defensive records
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Louisville's Jon Russel returned an interception 31 yards to the Rutgers' 4 with less than a minute to go in the first half and the Cardinals up 14-5. Rutgers had played a solid, if flawed, first half and was looking to go into the locker room with some momentum. Louisville scored on the next play from scrimmage, making the score 21-5, and the Scarlet Knights never had a chance after that.
Gameball goes to... Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm, who completed 22-of-30 for 315 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs. He also scored a touchdown on the ground for the Cardinals' first points of the day.
Stat of the game... 500-186. That was Louisville's advantage in total yards. While Rutgers stuck around for most of the first half, Louisville was clearly the better team on Friday, as the stats -- and the score -- came to show.