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Louisville wins, clinches Big East title

Dec 2, 2006 - 8:21 PM LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Brian Brohm and Louisville did their part. West Virginia then did them a huge favor.

Playing for a spot in a BCS bowl, the sixth-ranked Cardinals scored early and often en route to a 48-17 rout of Connecticut in a Big East Conference matchup.

Hoping to win the Big East's automatic BCS berth, Louisville (11-1, 6-1 Big East) entered the game tied with No. 13 Rutgers atop the conference standings. The Cardinals fell to the Scarlet Knights on November 9 and would have lost the head-to-head tiebreaker with Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights fell at No. 15 West Virginia later Saturday, 41-39 in triple overtime, giving Louisville the conference crown.

"I'm very happy with how we played," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. "I think our seniors showed today and all season long what kind of leadership they have. This team has a tremendous amount of character."

Coming off a four-touchdown performance in a rout of Pittsburgh, Brohm was sharp again, completing 20-of-28 passes for 341 yards and four TDs.

Brohm connected with Harry Douglas on scoring strikes of 67 and 25 yards in the second quarter as the Cardinals opened up a 27-10 lead at the half.

He added a five-yard TD pass to Brock Boden in the third quarter and capped his outing with a 32-yard TD pass to Gary Barnidge with 8:45 to play that made it 48-10.

"It felt good out there and we did a great job offensively," said Brohm, who announced he was returning for his senior season after the game. "We are playing good football and can play with anyone out there."

Connecticut (4-8, 1-6) finished a disappointing season with five defeats in six games.

"To start off, you have to give Louisville a tremendous amount of credit. They are just an outstanding football team," Connecticut coach Randy Edsall said. "I don't think we played our best today, but I think Louisville had a lot to do with that."

The Cardinals wasted little time taking control, driving 65 yards in 11 plays on the game's opening possession to take a 7-0 lead. Anthony Allen capped the march with a one-yard TD run.

Louisville finished with 570 yards of offense, including 221 on the ground, while Connecticut managed just 236 yards and only eight first downs.

"The next step is a BCS bowl and a chance to compete for a national championship," Petrino said. "We missed out on the national championship opportunity, but we hope a BCS bowl is out there for us."

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