By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Andrew Robinson threw for a career-high
423 yards and four touchdowns as Syracuse stunned No. 18 Louisville
38-35 on Saturday.
Taj Smith caught four passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns
for the Orange (1-3, 1-0 Big East) as Syracuse ended Louisville's
20-game home winning streak by dominating the listless Cardinals
The victory was Syracuse's first road conference win and first
victory over a ranked team since beating Boston College at the end
of the 2004 season.
Brian Brohm completed 45-of-65 passes for a career-high 555
yards and four scores for Louisville, but the Cardinals' defense
allowed Syracuse - which entered the game ranked near the bottom
nationally in every offensive category - to pile up 465 yards and
make big play after big play.
Syracuse, a 36 1/2 point underdog, built a 17-point lead in the
fourth quarter before trying to make it interesting late. The
Orange turned the ball over twice in the final minutes allowing
Louisville to get within three with 56 seconds left.
The ensuing onside kick, however, failed to go 10 yards and the
Orange held on.
Following a last-second meltdown in a loss to arch rival
Kentucky, the Cardinals spent all week talking about improving
communication on a defense that ranked among the worst in the
It didn't work.
Syracuse needed just one play to take the lead as Robinson hit
Smith for a 79-yard touchdown. The play was symptomatic of
Louisville's defensive struggles all season, as Smith found himself
all alone at midfield with no Louisville player within 10 yards
when he caught the ball, allowing him to run free to the end zone.
It didn't get much better for the Cardinals.
Syracuse built a 21-7 lead at the half behind a 93-yard kickoff
return by Max Suter and a 42-yard pass from Robinson to little-used
wide receiver Da'Mon Merkerson. Syracuse had 234 yards of total
offense in the first half, 35 more than the Orange had been
averaging for an entire game.
Louisville, which entered the game leading the country in yards
per game, had little trouble moving the ball, but had several
drives sputter in Syracuse territory and turned the ball over four
Every time Louisville appeared ready to stage a comeback, the
Orange responded. Brohm hit Douglas for a 35-yard score in the
third quarter to pull within 21-14, but Robinson hit Smith on a
delayed screen, and he broke a couple of tackles on his way to a
Brohm was intercepted by Jameel McClain on Louisville's next
possession, and a 26-yard field goal by Patrick Shadle pushed the
lead to 31-14.
Brohm hit Gary Barnidge for a 2-yard touchdown to get back
within 10 early in the fourth quarter, but Robinson calmly led the
Orange right back down the field.
Robinson consistently found wide-open receivers running free in
Louisville's reeling secondary. He averaged nearly 25 yards a
completion and seemed unfazed by Louisville's pressure. Facing
third and 5 at the Louisville 17, Robinson found Mike Williams
underneath, and he slipped into the end zone to put it out of
Syracuse's 38 points were more than the Orange had in the first
three games of the season combined (32).
Syracuse's defense, which had taken its share of lumps, did
enough to make Robinson's heroics stand up. Though they allowed
Louisville to rack up 628 yards of total offense, they recovered
two fumbles and picked Brohm off twice.
Louisville's troubles extended beyond the defense. The Cardinals
committed 12 penalties for 105 yards, had punts of 11 and seven
yards and were booed heavily by the sellout crowd, most of which
headed for the exits with plenty of time left on the clock.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)