MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Louisville defensive end Rodney Gnat spent
three quarters waiting for just one clean shot at Memphis
quarterback Arkelon Hall.
When Gnat finally got it, he didn't let it go to waste.
Gnat drilled Hall early in the fourth quarter, knocking the ball
free and into the awaiting arms of cornerback Johnny Patrick, who
raced 21 yards for the winning touchdown in the Cardinals' 35-28
victory Friday night.
It was redemption for the Cardinals (3-2), who lost to
Connecticut two weeks ago on a late interception return for a
score. It also was a bitter end for Hall, who played brilliantly
against the nation's ninth-ranked defense but couldn't rally the
Tigers (3-4) all the way back from a 14-point halftime deficit.
Louisville wide receiver Trent Guy, three months removed from a
gunshot wound to the back that nearly took his life, returned a
kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and caught a 43-yard scoring pass
from Hunter Cantwell to help the Cardinals survive against their
former Conference USA rival.
"It's amazing," Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe said. "It's
a great story. Trent's a great testament. He's worked hard and done
everything we've asked him to do. He's gotten up against a little
adversity and he's fought back."
Hall threw for 350 yards and completed a rare trifecta -
throwing for two scores while adding a touchdown rushing and
receiving - but couldn't lead the Tigers to their fourth straight
Memphis rolled up 481 yards but the Cardinals made up for it
with a pair of spectacular plays on special teams and a couple of
late stops to overcome an uncharacteristically sluggish offense.
"We were on the field a bunch, but we found a way at the end to
pick up a fumble and run it in," Kragthorpe said.
For three quarters, Louisville seemed to have no answer for a
creative Memphis game plan that pulled from the deepest pages of
offensive coordinator Clay Helton's playbook.
Wide receiver passes. Screens. Throwback screens. Tackle
eligible tosses. Direct snaps to running backs. The only thing
missing was a drop-kick. The trickery led to plenty of yards, but
not always points.
"Look at the stats, 481 to 299 (in yards) but we can't make
those errors we made and win a game like that," said Memphis coach
Though Memphis roared back from a 28-14 deficit to tie it late
in the third quarter, the Tigers couldn't get over the top no
matter how hard Louisville's offense tried to help.
The Cardinals appeared to take a 35-28 lead on a 13-yard
touchdown run by Brock Bolen. A holding call brought that back and
Ryan Payne's 36-yard field goal attempt clanged off the right
Memphis couldn't take advantage of the reprieve. Hall was
drilled by Gnat four plays after the missed field goal and Patrick
picked the ball up and raced to the end zone.
Memphis had two chances to tie. The first drive ended on a
failed fourth down at the Louisville 9 with 6:24 to play. The
Tigers quickly forced Louisville to punt, but Hall - who completed
33 passes to 10 different receivers - missed on three straight
passes from the Memphis 32 and the Tigers decided to kick it away
with 3:52 remaining.
Louisville's running game made sure Memphis never got it back,
churning out a pair of late first downs to run out the clock.
Victor Anderson had 81 yards rushing and Cantwell finished with 133
yards and two touchdowns on a gimpy left ankle.
Though the offensive struggled, Guy and Patrick picked up the
After the Tigers took a 14-7 lead on a 1-yard touchdown pass
from wide receiver Maurice Jones to Hall, Guy responded with a
nifty return up the middle to tie it.
Cantwell hit Pete Nochta for 23-yard score to put Louisville up
21-14 when Patrick made the play that turned the game after Memphis
brought in walk-on freshman kicker Vinny Zaccario for a 47-yard
attempt with 13 seconds left in the half.
Patrick, however, got a hand on the kick and the ball bounced
right into the arms of teammate Brandon Heath, who raced 60 yards
for a touchdown on the last play of the half to put Louisville up
"Our special teams didn't show up and that cost us the game,"
West said. "There's no question about it and there's no way to