Cincinnati 10, Louisville 7
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Robert Cooper ran for 69 yards and a touchdown and Cincinnati forced five turnovers in a 10-7 Conference USA victory over Louisville on Saturday.
The Bearcats (4-4, 2-2 Conference USA) gained only 148 yards and earned just seven first downs in soggy conditions at Cardinal Stadium.
Louisville (4-4, 1-2) lost for the third time in four home games.
Two early Louisville turnovers led to a 10-0 Cincinnati lead less than six minutes into the game.
After a 46-yard return on the opening kickoff by Tendai Charasika, Chris Redman hit Charles Sheffield on a 15-yard pass on Louisville’s first play from scrimmage. But three plays later, Redman’s pass was intercepted by Jermaine Trent, who returned it to the Louisville 44. The Bearcats drove to the Louisville 11 in six plays and Eric Richards kicked a 21-yard field goal for a 3-0 Cincinnati lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Cincinnati safety Don Simpson laid a jarring hit on Charasika, forcing a fumble. Ivan Fulton picked up the loose ball and ran to the Louisville 8. Three plays later, Robert Cooper scored on a 1-yard sweep for a 10-0 lead with 9:02 left in the first quarter.
Louisville’s offense couldn’t get untracked in the first half, gaining only 68 yards and recording only four first downs. Cincinnati also struggled after scoring on its first two drives, amassing only 66 yards the rest of the half.
The Cardinals drove to the Cincinnati 32 midway through the third quarter and used trickery to score their lone touchdown. Louisville set up for a 47-yard field goal with back-up quarterback Jason Payne holding for placekicker David Akers. Payne took the snap, stood up and hit wide-open Ibn Green down the left sideline to cut the lead to 10-7 with 7:17 left in the third quarter.
The Cardinals drove across the 50 four more times but stalled each time.
Sam Madison recorded his 15th career interception, tying the Louisville record held by Ray Buchanan.