Senorise Perry’s 14-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter gave Louisville the lead while a defensive stand in the final minute of the game closed the door as the 17th-ranked Cardinals escaped with a 21-17 road victory at Southern Mississippi on a rainy night at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg.
Playing through heavy rain for most of the evening, Louisville scored the final 15 points of the game to overcome a 17-6 second quarter deficit and improve to 5-0 overall. The win, which extended the Cardinals’ winning streak over the Golden Eagles (0-4) to six straight games, continued Louisville’s best start to a season since winning eight straight to open the 2006 campaign.
Perry, who scored the game-winning score on a third and goal run with 5:35 left in the game, finished with a career-high trifecta on the wet surface rushing for 118 yards on 22 carries and scoring two touchdowns to set new personal highs in all three categories. Jeremy Wright added 84 yards rushing for the Cardinals, while quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was limited to a season-low 85 yards through the air on 9-for-13 passing, including a 29-yard touchdown throw to DeVante Parker.
After regaining the lead for the first time since a 6-0 edge in the first quarter on the run by Perry, the Cardinals made it stand with a defensive stop on the Golden Eagles’ fourth down pass attempt from the Louisville 25-yard line with 55 seconds left in the game. Linebacker Keith Brown led the way for U of L with nine tackles, including eight solo stops, while linebacker Preston Brown and safety Calvin Pryor added eight tackles each as Southern Miss finished with just 25 yards passing on 2-of-9 attempts.
Following its final non-conference contest of the season this week, Louisville will have its first bye week of 2012 before taking its unbeaten record on the road to Pittsburgh for the BIG EAST Conference opener on Oct. 13 at Heinz Field.
A complete recap of Saturday’s win, including stats and photos, is available here at UofLsports.com.
- With heavy rain forcing both teams to turn almost exclusively to the run game, Louisville finished with a 269-249 advantage in total offense. The 269 yards of offense set a season low for the Cardinals.
- The six-game winning streak for Louisville over Southern Miss is the Cardinals’ longest winning streak ever against the Golden Eagles.
- Of Teddy Bridgewater’s nine pass completions on Saturday night, five came on the Cardinals’ opening touchdown drive in the first quarter prior to the arrival of the strongest rainfall. On that first drive, the Louisville sophomore was 5-for-5 for 64 yards.
- The Cardinals finished with a 35:22 to 24:38 advantage in time of possession on Saturday night.
- Louisville is one of three unbeaten BIG EAST Conference teams entering the month of October joining Rutgers (4-0) and Cincinnati (3-0).