Cardinals end Wake's dream season


Published: Wednesday, January 3, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 3, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

MIAMI — Anthony Allen and Brock Bolen rushed for fourth-quarter touchdowns as the fifth-ranked Louisville Cardinals rallied for a 23-14 victory over Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl Tuesday night.

Sam Swank's 36-yard field goal with 14:46 left in the game gave the Demon Deacons a brief 13-10 lead. From there, the Cardinals took over.

Led by Brian Brohm, who passed for 310 yards, Louisville had scoring drives of 81 and 71 yards, capped by runs by Allen for 1 yard and Bolen for 18, putting the Cardinals ahead to stay and ending their season at 12-1. Wake Forest, champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference, finished the school's most successful season at 11-3.

Riley Skinner threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Nate Morton, and No. 15 Wake Forest pulled to a 10-10 tie with fifth-ranked Louisville through three quarters of the Orange Bowl on Tuesday night.

Receiver Patrick Carter threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Allen on a trick play for Louisville's only touchdown, and Art Carmody kicked a 41-yard field goal for the Cardinals.

But Carmody was wide right on a 32-yarder with 2:03 left in the third quarter which would have given Louisville the lead.

Sam Swank put Wake Forest ahead 3-0 with a 44-yard field goal on the second play of the second quarter, and was wide left on a 47-yard attempt on the final play of the first half.

Skinner's touchdown pass with 12:41 left in the third quarter came on Wake Forest's first possession of the second half and briefly appeared to be the wake-up call Louisville was waiting for.

The high-powered Cardinals offense marched downfield to the Wake Forest 35 before the drive was short-circuited by Louisville's second turnover of the game.

Mario Urrutia caught Brohm's pass at the 29 but Nate Harris stripped the ball and Jon Abbate recovered, and after a brief booth review, the call was upheld.

Later, Wake Forest turned it over for the second time deep in Louisville territory, when Rich Belton fumbled and Jon Russell recovered for the Cardinals at the 13. Brohm led the Cardinals downfield, but the drive stalled at the 15 and Carmody's kick sailed wide.

Louisville's most productive pass of the game came not from Brohm but from Carter, the one-time quarterback and Georgia Tech transfer who gave Louisville a 10-3 lead in the second quarter. He caught a lateral from Brian Brohm in the right flat and then found a wide-open Allen near the goal line.

Wake Forest entered hoping to cap its worst-to-first season with the biggest bowl victory in school history. The Demon Deacons, picked to finish last in their division of the Atlantic Coast Conference, instead won the division and then claimed their first conference title since 1970.

The Cardinals almost certainly would have led sooner had Wake Forest not forced a fumble a play after Louisville dropped a sure-thing touchdown pass in the first quarter, a sequence of events which led to a rare scoreless quarter for the Cardinals.

It was the Cardinals' first scoreless period since the first quarter of their 31-8 rout of South Florida on Nov. 18, a span of nearly three full games.

Louisville's high-powered offense — which entered the game averaging nearly 39 points and 477 total yards per game — had only six scoreless quarters during its 12-game regular season.

The Cardinals entered hoping to cap the best season in school history with their first victory in a major bowl game since they beat Alabama 34-7 in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl.

On its first possession, Louisville drove 34 yards to the Wake Forest 38, and Brohm froze the defense by faking an end-around and passing to Urrutia.

Urrutia got behind the secondary but Brohm's pass bounced harmlessly off his fingers, ruining what would have been an easy score. Allen, a freshman, then fumbled it away on the next play and Wake Forest recovered at the 39.

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