Louisville, KY – A timeout call to ice Cardinals kicker John Wallace backfired, and 16th-ranked Louisville beat Cincinnati, 34-31 in overtime, Friday night.
The rainy conditions played a big factor in the outcome. Cincinnati got the ball to start overtime, but on 3rd-and-9, Terell Floyd stepped in front of tight end Travis Kelce to make an interception of a Munchie Legaux pass in the left side of the end zone.
"The quarterback was locked on the receiver and I knew he was going to throw the ball. I just went under the receiver and got the pick," Floyd said.
The Cardinals ran the ball five straight times until Wallace came onto the field for his 30-yard field goal attempt. The snap from center went high over the holder's head, but Cincinnati coach Butch Jones had signaled for a timeout.
"When you see that play when the ball was snapped over Will Stein's head, I thought 'oh God.' They had blown the whistle and long snapper Grant Donovan said he heard a whistle, so he just shot the ball backwards," Louisville coach Charlie Strong said.
Wallace then knocked in the winning kick to give Louisville (8-0, 3-0 Big East) the win in the 52nd Battle For The Keg Of Nails.
Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater completed 24-of-41 passes for 416 yards and a pair of fourth-quarter TDs, both to DeVante Parker.
Legaux ended 13-of-28 for 157 yards with a TD and three interceptions. George Winn rushed 26 times for 125 yards for the Bearcats (5-2, 1-1), who had tied the game with 63 seconds remaining in the last quarter thanks to Legaux's 26- yard scoring strike to Damon Julian.
"We're hurt right now and we have some things to think about. All we can do is get back to on the field and perfect our craft," Cincinnati linebacker Maalik Bomar said.
Louisville trailed 24-14 in the third quarter, but Bridgewater led a 14-play, 66-yard drive that resulted in a 26-yard field goal from Wallace.
Bridgewater connected with Damian Copeland for a 51-yard gain into Cincinnati territory early in the fourth quarter. Parker then capped the 93-yard trek with a 30-yard TD to tie the game. The original call on the field was an incomplete pass, as Parker bobbled the ball in the back of the end zone. Replays, though, showed Parker regained possession and got his left foot down before going out of bounds with 11:10 remaining.
After a trade of punts, the Bearcats moved into prime position to go ahead. Kelce dropped a third down pass that would have moved the ball in the red zone. Tony Miliano then pushed a 46-yard field goal try wide left.
Parker put the Cardinals up 31-24 by taking a sideline pass and cutting back to the middle for a 64-yard touchdown with 1:56 left.
Legaux's TD pass to Julian on the left side of the end zone forced the overtime.
The Bearcats led 10-7 after one quarter, as Miliano kicked a 47-yard field goal and Ralph David Abernathy IV scored on a 14-yard run. Louisville got a 1- yard scoring rush from Jeremy Wright.
Legaux scored on a 4-yard run in the second, but Senorise Perry countered with an 8-yard surge to the end zone to leave Louisville behind 17-14 at intermission.
Abernathy had a 4-yard scoring run early in the third.
The Bearcats had won the last four meetings. UC leads the all-time series 29-22-1 ... The Cardinals are 3-0 in the Big East for the just the second time in school history and the first since 2006 when they opened league play at 3-0 before falling to Rutgers ... Louisville had 524 yards of offense.