Jan. 3, 2007
MIAMI (AP) - For much of the Orange Bowl, the high-powered Louisville Cardinals were stalled in neutral.
They blew a field goal, lost two fumbles and dropped a potential touchdown pass. But despite the rash of mistakes, there was no stopping the Cardinals from their first major-bowl victory in 15 years.
Anthony Allen scored two touchdowns, one on a trick play, and Brian Brohm threw for 311 yards to lead Louisville past Wake Forest 24-13 Tuesday night.
The Cardinals averaged 39 points and ranked second in the nation in total offense this season, but fell behind 13-10 in the final period before their offense went into high gear. Touchdown drives of 81 and 71 yards on consecutive possessions sealed their first win in a major bowl since the 1991 Fiesta Bowl.
No. 5 Louisville finished 12-1 to ensure the highest final ranking in school history. The No. 15 Demon Deacons slipped to 11-3, still their best season.
For three quarters, squandered opportunities plagued the Cardinals. They lost two fumbles in Wake Forest territory, Mario Urrutia dropped a potential 62-yard touchdown pass, and Art Carmody - the Lou Groza Award winner - was wide right on a 32-yard field goal attempt, only his fourth miss this season.
Alphonso Smith nearly blocked Carmody's errant kick and also harried Louisville's punter into a 14-yard kick that set up a 44-yard field goal by Sam Swank of Wake Forest.
Like Louisville, the Demon Deacons failed to convert several scoring chances. They committed three turnovers in Cardinal territory, and after moving 36 yards in the final minute of the first half, Swank missed a 47-yard field goal.
But Swank made a 36-yarder to cap a 61-yard drive and put the Demon Deacons ahead 13-10 early in the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals responded with an eight-play drive capped by Allen's 1-yard plunge for a 17-13 lead with 12:31 to go. They quickly forced a punt, and mounted a 10-play drive that ended with Brock Bolen's 18-yard scoring run.
Brohm finished 24-for-34 and was chosen the game's most valuable player. "This is huge for the whole program here at Louisville," he said.
Receiver Harry Douglas, who caught 10 passes, agreed. "It's making us a national power by winning this game," he said.
Wake Forest's Riley Skinner went 21-for-33 for 271 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
The Demon Deacons trailed 10-3 at halftime but scored on their first possession of the third period when Nate Morton slipped behind the Louisville secondary to catch a 30-yard TD pass from Skinner.
The Cardinals sputtered early but pulled out a trick play to score their first touchdown.
Brohm threw a lateral to receiver Patrick Carter, who stopped and threw across the field deep to Allen for a 21-yard score. The pass was the first this season by Carter, a quarterback at Georgia Tech before he transferred.
Trick plays backfired early on for the Demon Deacons, who twice tried reverses in the first quarter. The first lost 17 yards and the second lost 10.
The Cardinals converted a fourth-and-9 during a 61-yard drive that led to a 41-yard field goal by Carmody.