Louisville's Michael Bush (19) is pulled down by Houston's Wade Koehl after a 6-yard run during the second quarter.
Nov. 20, 2004
By JOEL ANDERSON
AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) - Stefan LeFors threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns and Eric Shelton rushed for three more scores, leading No. 8 Louisville to a 65-27 win over Houston on Saturday night.
The Cardinals (8-1, 6-0 Conference USA) scored the final 30 points of the game - in a little over 10 minutes - to turn a close game into a lopsided rout. Perhaps trying to impress poll voters and improve its Bowl Championship Series standings grade, Louisville added a final touchdown on Deriontae Taylor's 6-yard run with 1:47 left.
Ranked 10th in this week's BCS standings, Louisville has only a slim chance of getting an invite to one of the four big-money bowls. But as long as the Cardinals keep winning, they can keep dreaming. They have Cincinnati and Tulane remaining on their schedule.
The Cardinals rolled to 666 yards of offense, averaging 9.7 yards a play, and scored more than 50 points for the fifth time this season.
LeFors, the nation's leader in pass efficiency, completed his first 10 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns, both to tight end Adam McCauley. He turned over the offense to freshman Brian Brohm early in the second period.
Brohm responded with a 74-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Tinch on his second series, giving the Cardinals a 28-10 lead.
The Cougars (3-8, 3-5) kept chipping away at the Cardinals' lead in the second half.
On third-and-11 from the Louisville 40, Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb bobbled the snap before gathering it in and throwing a screen pass to Vincent Marshall. The 5-foot-9 Marshall started for the sideline, squirted through a few tacklers and sprinted to the end zone to close Louisville's lead to 35-27 just 48 seconds into the fourth period.
The sparse crowd at Robertson Stadium actually got into the game a little bit, finally having something to cheer about after Marshall's score.
But the Cardinals scored 23 unanswered points in little more than four minutes, capitalizing on a safety after Houston snapped the ball out of the end zone and an interception deep in Houston territory.
Shelton scored his third touchdown on a 2-yard run following Kolb's turnover, giving Louisville a 58-27 lead midway through the fourth.
LeFors completed 18 of 22 passes, five to Tinch for 148 yards and a touchdown. Montrell Jones had four catches for 93 yards and J.R. Russell added seven receptions for 99 yards.
The defeat was yet another disappointment for the Cougars in their second season under coach Art Briles.
A year after going 7-6 and clinching its first bowl appearance in seven years, Houston was overwhelmed in its third game against a Top 10 team this season. The Cougars also lost to No. 2 Oklahoma and then-No. 4 Miami, losing by a combined score of 166-53 in the three games.
Kolb finished 29-of-44 for 375 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Marshall had eight catches for 152 yards and a score.