Unable to overcome an explosive second quarter by the home team, ninth-ranked Louisville suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday afternoon dropping a disappointing 45-26 road decision to Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.
With the loss, the Cardinals had their school record nine-game season-opening winning streak halted and dropped to 4-1 in BIG EAST Conference games. The Orange moved a step closer to gaining bowl eligibility improving to 5-5 overall and 4-2 in league action with the Senior Day win. Despite the loss, Louisville still controls its own fate in the pursuit of a BIG EAST title and a BCS bowl berth. With wins in their home finale against Connecticut on Nov. 24 and in their regular season finale at Rutgers on Nov. 29, the Cardinals would clinch at least a share of the league title and represent the BIG EAST in a BCS bowl for the second time in school history because of the head-to-head tiebreakers.
Louisville lost on Saturday despite a record day for sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who threw for 424 yards on 36-of-49 passing and three touchdowns. The yards, completions and attempts are all game-highs for Bridgewater, who has thrown for more than 400 yards twice in the last three games. Sophomore receiver Eli Rogers led the Cardinals’ receiving corps with a personal best 10 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. The 10 catches are the most for a Louisville player since Harry Douglas had 12 receptions against Syracuse in 2007.
The primary issue for Louisville on Saturday came on the defensive side of the ball where Syracuse finished with 524 yards of total offense, including 278 yards rushing setting new season highs allowed by the Cardinals. In the last two games, UofL has allowed its two highest rushing totals of the season as Temple ran for 255 yards last week in the Cardinals’ 45-17 win. Jerome Smith ran for 144 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown to lead the Orange, while Prince-Tyson Gulley added 98 yards on 15 carries and two scores in the win. In the passing game, senior quarterback Ryan Nassib threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns completing 15-of-23 throws, while Alex Lemon led the Syracuse receivers with nine catches for 176 yards and two scores.
While throwing for a season-high in yardage, the Cardinals were limited to a season-low on the ground rushing for just 48 yards on 17 carries. Jeremy Wright was held to only 29 yards on 10 carries, while Senorise Perry ran for just two yards on only two carries before leaving with an undisclosed injury in the first half.
Up next, Louisville will have its second and final bye week of the season before hosting Connecticut on Saturday, Nov. 24 for Senior Day at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Game time and television details for the home finale are expected to be announced on Monday.
A complete recap of Saturday’s loss is available here at UofLsports.com.