for this game

Louisville routs Pittsburgh to stay alive in Big East

Nov 26, 2006 - 12:10 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) - Just over two weeks after being left for dead, Brian Brohm and Louisville still are alive in their chase for a Bowl Championship Series berth.

Brohm passed for 337 yards and four touchdowns as No. 8 Louisville overcame a slow start to post a 48-24 triumph over Pittsburgh in Big East Conference play.

It was the Cardinals' second win since suffering a 28-25 upset at the hands of Rutgers on November 9.

But with Rutgers' loss to Cincinnati last weekend coupled with West Virginia's surprising home loss against South Florida on Saturday, Louisville (10-1, 5-1 Big East) still has a chance to win the conference's automatic BCS bid.

"We've been searching all year for our identity," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino. "I think tonight we really started to find it. We were able to run, able to get successful play action and able to convert on third down."

However, the Cardinals need some help. Along with winning next Saturday's regular-season finale against Connecticut, Louisville needs West Virginia to defeat Rutgers in Morgantown.

Perhaps anticipating next week's home game, the Cardinals looked listless at times in the first half Saturday. But Brohm snapped a 17-17 tie and gave Louisville the lead for good with his nine-yard TD pass to Gary Barnidge with 5:17 remaining before the break.

"Brian Brohm, he's as good as there is in the country," Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt said. "He didn't miss many throws. He hit us every time we blitzed him."

The Cardinals rolled from there, outscoring the Panthers by 17 points in the second half. A junior, Brohm found Scott Kuhn and Harry Douglas for TDs over the final 30 minutes to seal the victory.

"We definitely were clicking tonight," Petrino said. "I thought our offense played as well as they have all year tonight, especially our offensive line. We really found a good rhythm and that's when we were able to make big plays."

Brohm completed 21-of-29 passes with no interceptions. His favorite target was 6-6 sophomore Mario Urrutia, who hauled in seven catches for 144 yards and a TD.

"I'm getting healthier and healthier. I feel as good as I've ever felt," said Brohm, who is recovering from a sprained ligament in his right thumb. "Mario is a great asset to our offense. He does a great job running routes.

"I think tonight was my sharpest performance of the season. The offensive line did as good a job as they have all season. They kept me clean and gave me time to find the open guy."

Harry Douglas had 132 yards and a score on four receptions while Kolby Smith ran for 58 yards and a TD on just nine carries for Louisville, which improved to 6-4 all-time against Pittsburgh.

"This was a good win," Petrino said. "I am very happy with our football team right now. The offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage as well as we have all year."

Tyler Palko went 31-of-50 for 307 yards, one TD and three interceptions for the Panthers (6-6, 2-5), who have lost five straight.

"Right now, we're not good enough," Wannstedt said. "We've got to take a good look at things and recruit like we've never recruited before and have as tough an offseason as we've ever had. We've got to bring these kids along at a fast pace."

"Pittsburgh is a good team," Petrino added. "I have tremendous respect for their quarterback, Tyler Palko. We knew he was going to be a threat, and I thought he did a good job tonight."

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