John Wallace hit a 29-yard field goal late in the game to lead the Louisville Cardinals to a 20-17 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a Big East battle.
With the Louisville win, there is now a three-way tie for the top spot in the Big East between Louisville, Syracuse and Rutgers. It could possibly be a four-way tie if Cincinnati defeats Connecticut on Saturday.
Due to the BCS rankings, Louisville will most likely gain the automatic BCS bid for a spot in the Orange Bowl.
Teddy Bridgewater went 20-for-28 with 263 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while Jeremy Wright and DeVante Parker each caught a score in the win for the Cardinals (10-2, 5-2 Big East), who snapped a two-game slide.
Gary Nova was just 13-for-28 with 284 yards, two scores and two fourth-quarter interceptions for the Scarlet Knights (9-3, 5-2), who dropped their final two games of the season. Mark Harrison caught five passes for 131 yards and a score while Brandon Coleman caught the other touchdown pass,
Rutgers had tied the game early in the fourth quarter and later in the frame had the ball, but a missed catch was tipped into the air and James Burgess came down with the ball and Louisville had the ball at the Rutgers 47.
On the first play, Bridgewater and Andrell Smith got together for a 30-yard play. After three straight runs failed to produce a first down, John Wallace hit a 29-yard field goal for a 20-17 lead with 1:41 to play.
Nova then got the Knights near midfield, but was picked off by Terell Floyd and the Cardinals killed off the rest of the clock for the win.
Louisville converted a fourth down on its first touch, but later stalled near midfield and gave the ball back to Rutgers at its own 15.
Rutgers didn't need long to get on the board as its first play of its opening touch saw Nova hit Coleman near his own 40 and he raced down the left sideline for an 85-yard score. It was the longest play of the season for the school, and the first time the team scored on its first possession of the game.
With a drive that spanned the first and second quarters, Louisville got on the board as Wallace capped an 11-play, 66-yard drive with a 20-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game with 9:54 to play in the second.
The Knights again had a quick answer as the second play saw Nova hit Harrison with a short pass, he then broke a tackle and raced down the right sideline for a 68-yard score and a 14-3 advantage with under nine minutes to play in the first half.
Rutgers second possession of the third quarter saw the team get into scoring range and line up for a field goal. The team went for the fake and nearly scored, but an ineligible player down field took away the score and the team had to punt.
The Cardinals followed with their best drive of the game to make it a one- score contest. Starting at their own 10, the team quickly converted a first down, but faced a 3rd-and-12. A 26-yard catch by Smith moved the chains and got the ball near midfield. The team later converted another third down, but were facing a 3rd-and-12 at the Rutgers 14. Bridgewater stepped up in the pocket to avoid the rush and used a shovel pass to Wright, who took the ball into the end zone for a 14-10 game.
On the ensuing kickoff, Jeremy Deering fumbled and it was recovered by Louisville at the 20-yard line. On the next play, Bridgewater found Parker for a score and a 17-14 lead with 33 seconds left in the third.
Rutgers answered later in the fourth quarter after Lorenzo Waters picked off Bridgewater and returned it 29 yards to the Louisville 42. That led to a 38- yard field goal from Nick Borgese to tie the game with 7:48 to play.