Louisville Shocks #24 West Virginia, 38-35

Who needs the Big 12?

Charlie Strong secured the biggest win of his coaching career Saturday with a wild win in Morgantown. The Cardinal defense was able to make a few key plays in the second half to give Louisville the edge.

Although the Mountaineers put up 533 total yards, two fumbles and a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown blew it for WVU.

Coaches encourage Andrew Johnson to run back a blocked field goal for Louisville. PHOTO: AP

Freshman Andrew Johnson was able to run back the blocked kick 82 yards for the touchdown. Leaving Morgantown silent as Louisville celebrated.

The turning point in the game came with Coach Charlie Strong electing to go for it on fourth down in midway into the fourth quarter. If the Cards didn’t convert the Mountaineers would have the ball on the 43 yard line, and in tremendous field position to perhaps take the lead.

When asked about the decision Strong explained that he didn’t believe his defense could hold the explosive Mountaineers again.

The gamble paid off.  The Cards converted and capped the drive with a three yard touchdown run from Dominic Brown. The score gave UofL what would become an insurmountable lead late in the game.

Despite the key stops and turnovers, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith still made mince meat of the Louisville defense. On several drives the Cards had no answer for the explosive Mountaineer offense. Smith was able to cut Louisville’s lead to three with under a minute remaining with a seven play drive that took less than a minute.

When Brown recieved the failed onside kick attempt, Charlie Strong was ecstatic. “This is a huge win not only for me, but for this program,” he told ESPN while walking off the field.

The win is especially enjoyable because West Virginia topped Louisville in their bid to the Big 12. In a game where Mountaineers fans held signs mocking Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell for his actions in the sweepstakes, this time West Virginia fans are leaving empty-handed.

The win also brings Louisville one win closer to becoming Bowl eligible. With the Cards 2nd place position on the Big East standings, UofL also has an outside shot at winning the Big East and a BCS berth.

The young Cardinals maturing more and more every week. Teddy Bridgewater continues to show poise and confidence, the defense has solidified itself as the best in the Big East, and Charlie Strong is finally getting the support he deserves.

Strong now has three straight victories since receiving his seven-year contract extension, and every week he’s proven that he’s worth every penny.

The Cardinals will return home next Saturday to play Pittsburgh for the final home game of the season.