Continuin on in the Louisville football Bowl History, let’s take a look at how the Cardinals fared in their bowl games from 2001-2013:
2001 Liberty Bowl: Louisville 28, BYU 10
Head Coach John L. Smith got his first bowl win at the helm of the Cardinals as he led Louisville to a blowout win over the Cougars. Quarterback Dave Ragone threw for three touchdown passes and one to Deion Branch. Louisville was able to find their way into the endzone once in each of the four quarters, which helped lead them to a win.
BYU offensive lineman Dustin Rykert scored his first career touchdown off of a lateral pass from quarterback Brandon Doman. The fact that BYU only found their way into the endzone one time and it was off of a lateral pass to an offensive lineman certainly says something about the quality of the Louisville defense.
2002 GoDaddy.com Bowl: Marshall 38, Louisville 15
Also known as the GMAC Bowl from 2000-2010, the GoDaddy.com Bowl was held in Mobile, Alabama on December 18, 2002. The Thundering Herd blow out the Cardinals for the second time in a postseason bowl game. This time they were led by quarterback Byron Leftwich, who threw for 249 yards and four touchdowns.
This was also the game that has lived in Louisville infamy as the game where the team learned from the fans that Heach Coach John L. Smith left the team to accept a head coaching job at Michigan State, which caused mass chaos on the sidelines during the game.
2003 GoDaddy.com Bowl: Miami (OH) 49, Louisville 28
This was the first season in Bobby Petrino’s first stint as Head Coach of the Louisville Cardinals and his inaugural season on the headset did not end in exciting way. Miami (OH) was led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who threw for 376 yards on just 26 completions and four touchdowns. Louisville’s offense could not keep up with Miami (OH)’s offense losing the yardage battle 597-492.
2004 Liberty Bowl: Louisville 44, Boise State 40
In a rematch of the 1999 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Louisville gets the better of the Broncos this time around. Louisville quarterback Stefan Lefors threw for 193 yards and two touchdowns and managed to record a rushing touchdown as well.
Backup quarterback Brian Brohm came in for a short period time and threw for a passing touchdown as well. In a fast paced game, Louisville outgunned Boise State and came away with a narrow win.
2006 Gator Bowl: Virginia Tech 35, Louisville 24
In Head Coach Bobby Petrino’s last season in his first stint with the Cardinals led them to a 12-1 record, earning them a berth in the 2006 Gator Bowl. The Gator Bowl was held on January 2, 2006 in Jacksonville, Florida.
Louisville was set to take on Michael Vick’s brother, Marcus Vick, who threw for 203 yards on a mere 11 pass completions. This was also the game in which Vick stepped on Louisville’s Elvis Dumervil in the second quarter. Following the chaos of the second quarter, Virginia Tech closed out the game with a 22-point fourth quarter to finish off the Cardinals.
2007 Orange Bowl: Louisville 24, Wake Forest 13
In Head Coach Steve Kragthorpe’s first season at the helm for the Cardinals he barely clinched a bowl berth with a 6-6 record. But, nevertheless Louisville found its way into the Orange Bowl to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
Quarterback Brian Brohm threw for a field day against the Demon Deacons defense, recording 311 yards on 24 completions. Wide receiver Harry Douglas tallied 165 yards on just ten receptions, in which one of those receptions was a 50-yard bomb. Louisville ended the game with a strong 14-point fourth quarter to close out the win.
2010 Beef O Brady’s Bowl: Louisville 31, Southern Miss 28
In Charlie Strong’s inaugural season for the Cardinals, he edged his way into bowl eligibility by the skin of his teeth with a resounding victory over Rutgers in the final week of the regular season. With this win, Louisville gained a berth in the Beef O Brady’s Bowl on December 21, 2010.
The matchup was against Southern Miss, who was not a great football team in 2010 but gave Louisville a battle down in St. Petersburg, Florida. This game made Beef O Brady’s bowl history when running back Jeremy Wright returned a kickoff for 94 yards for a touchdown, marking the first kickoff returned for a touchdown in this bowl. Wright would end up winning the bowl’s MVP award for his performance as he led Louisville to a comeback victory over the Golden Eagles.
2011 Belk Bowl: North Carolina State 31, Louisville 24
Head Coach Charlie Strong led the Cardinals to a second straight season of a 7-6 record as Louisville was headed to Charlotte, North Carolina to take on the hometown NC State squad, who would ultimately finish with an 8-5 record.
It was a battle of quarterback play with Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and NC State’s Mike Glennon each throwing for over 250 yards and ultimately a difference in touchdown to turnover ratio that led North Carolina State to its first win over Louisville in four tries. Glennon recorded three touchdowns to just one interception and Bridgewater threw for two touchdowns to three interceptions.
Louisville could not contain NC State’s Trevor Graham who recorded 116 yards receiving on just seven receptions and found his way into the endzone twice.
2013 Sugar Bowl: Louisville 33, Florida 23
Charlie Strong led the Cardinals into New Orleans, Louisiana to stun the Top Ten-ranked Florida Gators. Louisville jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter behind safety Terrell Floyd’s 38-yard interception that was returned for a touchdown on the first play of the game followed by Jeremy Wright’s touchdown run.
Teddy Bridgewater outdueled Florida’s Jeff Driskel with an impressive 266 yards passing and two touchdowns, which sparked Louisville’s revenge win over the Gators dating back to their only other matchup in 1980 in which Florida shut Louisville out 13-0.