November 25, 2006

Louisville punishes Pittsburgh, 48-24

Quarterback Brian Brohm threw for 337 yards and four touchdowns as No. 8 Louisville rolled past Pittsburgh Saturday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Louisville improved to 10-1 on the season and stayed in a tie for first-place in the Big East standings with No. 12 Rutgers.

Pittsburgh quarterback Tyler Palko was sacked five times and hurried a dozen more in the final home game of his career.

The UofL offense sputtered on the first drive, going three and out. Louisville's defense came up big on Pittsburgh's first drive. Panthers' running back LaRod Stephens-Howling was stripped near the 40 yard line and the fumble was recovered by safety Jonathan Russell who started upfield before having to jump on a fumble of his own near the sideline.

It took Louisville just two plays to find the end zone after the Cardinal offense received the ball. Brohm found Urrutia across the field for a 15 yard gain on the first play of the drive. Then Kolby Smith rumbled 13 yards and spun into the end zone with 11:33 left in the first quarter.

The Cardinal defense wasn't as successful on Pitt's next drive. Quarterback Tyler Palko led the Panthers on an 80-yard march that seemed to stall just before the end zone. But on fourth and 1 on the 12 yard line, Palko found Derrick Kinder who was tackled at the 6 yard line. Stephens-Howling found the end zone on the next play, and Connor Lee kicked the extra point to tie the score at 7-7.

Louisville's third drive couldn't have been worse. Kick returner JaJuan Spillman was stuffed at the 21 yard line and Brohm fumbled a handoff to Smith on the first play. Pitt took over at the Louisville 19 yard line and scored on the first play. Palko tossed the ball to Kinder on an apparent reverse, but Kinder took two steps back and threw a touchdown lob to fellow receiver Oderick Turner.

It took UofL just five plays to find the end zone again, but a 34-yard touchdown from Brohm to receiver Harry Douglas was called back on a clip by Smith. The Cards got four yards back on a pass from Brohm to Spillman, then got a 10-yard run by Smith, but Brohm's pass to Douglas fell incomplete on third and 8. UofL kicker Art Carmody kicked a 39-yard field goal to cut the Panther lead to four, 14-10.

Louisville got the ball back on a punt by Pittsburgh after a three-and-out drive, and the Cardinals scored a touchdown in just one play later on a 42-yard pass from Brohm to Urrutia.

Pitt converted a fourth-and-inches near midfield to keep their next drive alive. Then Palko found Collins over the middle for a 31 yard gain. Louisville's defense got a sack and was aided by a Pitt false start to stop the Pitt drive short. Pitt tied the score at 17 with a 30-yard field goal.

Louisville marched downfield midway through the second quarter in a 13-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that included a 43-yard pass from Brohm to Urrutia. The Cards drive was capped by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Brohm to junior tight end Gary Barnidge.

Senior cornerback Gavin Smart intercepted a Palko pass at the 45-yard line after Russell tipped the ball into the air. Smart's 21-yard interception return gave the Louisville offense a very short field just before halftime.

Brohm hit Barnidge across the middle on second and eight, but Barnidge got hit hard by Pitt linebacker H.B. Blades and appeared to fumble. Pitt defensive tackle 93 picked the football up and rumbled a few yards before Brohm made the tackle. After a lengthy video review, the play was ruled an incomplete pass, giving Louisville the ball back with a third and 7 at the 30-yard line.

A pass interference call gave Louisville a first down near the 10-yard line, but a holding call forced the Cards into second-and-20. A 19-yard pass from Brohm to Douglas put Louisville at third-and-1 from the six yard line before freshman tailback Anthony Allen rushed into the end zone on the following play.

Allen's touchdown was called back on holding, and Brohm dumped the ball out of bounds on third-and-11. A 30-yard field goal by Carmody was blocked with under a minute remaining, but Pitt was unable to score again before the half.

After leading 24-17 at the half, Louisville's defense stopped Pittsburgh on the Cardinals' 41-yard line. Pitt downed the ball on the Louisville 2, but the Cards offense responded with a 98-yard scoring drive to start the third quarter. The drive included a 42-yar run by fullback Brock Bolen and was capped by a one-yard pass from Brohm to tight end Scott Kuhn.

On Pittsburgh's second drive, Palko threw a lob that was intercepted by William Gay at the Pittsburgh 24-yard line. Given another short field to work with, Brohm found Urrutia on the 16 on first down. Louisville scored two plays later on a 13-yard end-around by Spillman.

Louisville linebacker Abe Brown batted down a pass from Palko on fourth-and-2 from the 35 yard line to stop a Pitt drive just before the end of the third quarter. The Cards took over with a 38-17 then proceeded to drive straight down the field and appeared to have another touchdown from Brohm to Kuhn, but the play was called back on offensive pass interference. Instead of a touchdown, UofL had to settle for a field goal from Carmody.

Pitt's first drive of the fourth quarter allowed a quick pass from Palko to Turner to turn into a 22-yard touchdown with 11:34 remaining in the game. Louisville responded with a 75-yard touchdown strike from Brohm to Douglas with just under six minutes left in the game.

Pitt's drive stalled at the Louisville 35-yard line and Palko was intercepted in the end zone by Smart, and sophomore Hunter Cantwell replaced Brohm at quarterback. Brohm left the game with 337 yards and four touchdowns while completing 21-29 passes.




 

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