Senorise Perry's 14-yard touchdown run with 5:35 to play led 19th-ranked Louisville to a 21-17 win over Southern Miss in a wet matchup Saturday night.
Perry reached the end zone twice and had 22 carries for 118 yards while Teddy Bridgewater went 9-for-13 with 85 yards, one score and one interception for the Cardinals (5-0), who had their closest margin of the victory this season.
"You know for us to come in and survive the conditions that we played under tonight, just speaks about our team, a resilient team," said Louisville coach Charlie Strong. "You watched tonight the way we battled, we just refused to lose."
Desmond Johnson carried the ball 14 times for 99 yards, Jalen Richard had 13 touches for 62 yards and a score while Kendrick Hardy totaled 44 yards on four rushes for the Golden Eagles (0-4), who got just 25 yards on 2-of-8 passing from Ricky Lloyd.
"We're not going to try to wholesale a new offense," said Southern Miss coach Ellis Johnson. "We've got to use the personnel we've got. Ricky only had five days of practice and he's only going to get better. There were a lot of things we never even got to that looked good in practice because of the conditions."
Heavy rain fell throughout the game, leaving large puddles on the field.
Louisville began the winning drive at the Southern Miss 22 after Peter Boehme punted only six yards. Six plays later, on 3rd-and-goal at the 14, Perry took a handoff up the middle and kicked it out to the right. The extra point was blocked, but the team held a 21-17 lead.
The Golden Eagles got down to the Louisville 25 with under a minute to play, but a fourth down pass from Johnson was broken up and Louisville killed off the rest of the clock.
The Cardinals started the game with the ball and the rain pouring down. Passes of nine and 15 yards moved the ball across midfield. At the Southern Miss 29, Bridgewater hit DeVante Parker on a 29-yard score. The extra point failed and it was a 6-0 game with 11:45 left in the first.
Later in the frame, Reggie Hunt picked off a Bridgewater pass and took it 23 yards the other way for a 7-6 lead.
Following a Louisville punt, Southern Miss marched the ball 84 yards in just eight plays, including a 50-yard run by Johnson, to set up a 21-yard field goal from Corey Acosta for a 10-6 advantage with 1:35 left in the first.
Another Cardinals punt saw the Golden Eagles added to their advantage as Richard's 1-yard score made it a 17-6 game with 6:15 to play in the first half.
Louisville, though, answered with a nine-play, 57-yard drive that saw Perry get the final 45 yards on six carries and plunged into the end zone from a yard out. The team went for the 2-point conversion, but failed and it was a 17-12 game going into the break.
John Wallace's 38-yard field goal late in the third quarter was the only points of the frame as the Golden Eagles took a 17-15 lead into the final 15 minutes.
Louisville has off next week before opening Big East play at Pittsburgh ... Southern Miss hosts Boise State next Saturday ... Louisville has won the past six games against the Golden Eagles, who still have an 18-11-1 lead in the series ... Southern Miss had 224 yards on the ground while Louisville, which also got 84 yards on 20 carries from Jeremy Wright, got 184 rushing yards.