(Friday, November 14th)
Final Score: (22) Cincinnati 28, Louisville 20
Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - John Goebel rushed for 77 yards on 10 carries and scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter that helped seal the 22nd-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats' 28-20 victory over the Louisville Cardinals.
Tony Pike finished 19-of-33 for 250 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Dominick Goodman had nine receptions for 134 yards and a score.
Mardy Gilyard also hauled in a TD catch, part of a five-catch, 73-yard performance for the Bearcats (8-2, 4-1 Big East), who were coming off arguably their biggest win of the year, as they knocked off then 20th-ranked West Virginia 26-23 in overtime last weekend after taking out previously 24th- ranked South Florida a week prior.
The win temporarily gives Cincinnati sole possession of first place in the Big East standings at 4-1, breaking a three-way tie with WVU and Pittsburgh, who are both 3-1 and have scheduled open dates on Saturday. The Bearcats, who are bowl eligible for the third straight season, will host Pittsburgh on November 22nd in a game that could very well be for the Big East title.
"I think I said earlier in the week that this wasn't much of a rivalry. We had not won any games against Louisville in quite some time. I think we all can officially say the rivalry is back on," Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly said. "There was a lot of emotion in the game. It was good, hard, physical, football."
Hunter Cantwell completed 19-of-35 pass attempts for 204 yards with a score and a pick, while Victor Anderson gained 60 yards rushing on 13 carries and scored for the Cardinals (5-5, 1-4), who have dropped three straight coming off ugly losses to both Pittsburgh last weekend and Syracuse a week prior.
"We're not winning football games right now and that's on me. I take full responsibility for that. We've got to win games and I'm paid to win games," head coach Steve Kragthorpe said. "We've just got to find a way to win the games. We've got to continue to fight and continue to battle."
After Pike was intercepted on Cincinnati's first drive of the final quarter with the team still holding a precarious 21-20 lead, the Bearcats survived a missed field goal by Louisville. Dustin Grutza came on for Pike and completed a 24-yard pass to Goodman on 3rd-and-5 to the Cardinals' 43. Goebel then broke off a 37-yard run and on the next play took it up the middle for a six-yard score with less than 6 1/2 minutes remaining.
The Cardinals gained just 23 yards in turning it over on downs on the ensuing series but Cincinnati let them stay in the game when Jake Rogers missed on a 43-yard field goal with 2:19 remaining.
Cantwell, though, had four straight passes fall incomplete and the Bearcats were able to run out the clock.
Cincinnati executed a 73-yard, seven-play drive to open the game, with the big play being a 48-yard catch-and-run TD from Gilyard. Pike hit his receiver on a short slant and Gilyard split a pair of defenders and bounced off another to take it the distance.
After a Louisville punt, the Bearcats looked to go three-and-out but on 4th- and-1 tried a QB sneak and wound up turning the ball over on downs at their own 28. It took the Cardinals 11 plays but eventually they tied the score on a two-yard pass to James Bryant with three minutes to go in the first.
Louisville started a 71-yard, 10-play march in the final moments of the first and moved the ball to the Cincinnati six but couldn't convert on a 3rd-and-3, instead coming away with a 23-yard boot from Ryan Payne a little over three minutes into the second.
The Cardinals turned the ball over on their next possession and the Bearcats came back with a 64-yard drive that Jacob Ramsey capped with a one-yard TD run to put the Bearcats back on top, 14-10, with just under five minutes left in the half.
Louisville put together a quick scoring drive, though, buoyed by a 37-yard Anderson run, which helped set the table for his three-yard score later in the drive. The Cardinals led 17-14 at the half as Rogers missed from 34 yards as the clock expired.
A Ramsey fumble opened the second half for Cincinnati, giving Louisville the ball on the Bearcats nine but the defense was able to hold and Payne split the uprights from 23 yards out, pushing the lead to six.
The Bearcats shook off the turnover and came out with a nine-play drive that reached the Cardinals 21, but Rogers continued a miserable night by striking the right upright from 39 yards.
Louisville went backwards on its next drive and DeAngelo Smith's 18-yard return set up the Bearcats at the opposing 32. Two plays later, Pike connected with Goodman for a 23-yard score that gave Cincinnati a 21-20 lead entering the final quarter.
Cincinnati leads the all-time series 27-20-1...Ramsey had 48 yards rushing on 13 carries...Rogers missed on all three of his field goal attempts....Doug Beaumont led the Cardinals' receiving corps with four receptions for 61 yards...Despite the loss, Louisville won the time of possession, 34:13-25:47...The Cardinals had won the last five meetings dating back to 2002, but Cincinnati was able to wrestle away the Keg of Nails trophy, which is awarded to the winner of this matchup each year.
11/15 03:25:09 ET