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ORANGE BOW

Louisville kicks it in gear, beats Wake Forest, 24-13

January 03, 2007|From the Associated Press

MIAMI — For much of the Orange Bowl, the high-powered Louisville Cardinals were stalled in neutral.

They blew a field goal, lost two fumbles and dropped a potential touchdown pass. But despite the rash of mistakes, there was no stopping the Cardinals from their first major-bowl victory in 15 years.

Anthony Allen scored two touchdowns, one on a trick play, and Brian Brohm threw for 311 yards to lead Louisville past Wake Forest, 24-13, on Tuesday night.

The Cardinals averaged 39 points and ranked second in the nation in total offense this season but fell behind, 13-10, in the final period before their offense went into high gear. Touchdown drives of 81 and 71 yards on consecutive possessions secured their first win in a major bowl since the 1991 Fiesta Bowl.

No. 5 Louisville finished 12-1 to ensure the highest final ranking in school history.

"This is a big win for our program," said Harry Douglas, who made 10 catches for 165 yards. "We're becoming a national power. It had to start with this game."

The No. 15 Demon Deacons slipped to 11-3, still their best season.

"Looking back on our season, you definitely have to be happy with what we did," linebacker Jon Abbate said. "We turned the corner for Wake Forest football."

Brohm finished 24 for 34 and was chosen the game's most valuable player. He said he's leaning toward returning for his senior season next fall.

"It looks very appealing right now," Brohm said. "We've got a great team coming back, and it'd be hard to pass up."

Wake Forest's Riley Skinner was 21 for 33 for 271 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

"It never helps to lose in the fourth quarter," he said. "That kind of leaves a thorn in your side."

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