Sept 8, 2001
Final Stats |
Coach Smith's Postgame Press Conference
By CHRIS DUNCAN
AP Sports Writer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sophomore T.J. Patterson ran for a career-high 114
yards and two touchdowns and Deion Branch returned a punt 61 yards for another
score to lead Louisville to a 31-7 win over Western Carolina on Saturday night.
The Cardinals (3-0) are off to their best start since 1993, but struggled at
times with the Catamounts (1-1), a Division I-AA team from the Southern
Western Carolina used an effective running attack to dominate time of
possession 35:57 to 24:03 and earn a 19-18 edge in first downs. The Catamounts
rushed 52 times for 173 yards, led by Fred Boateng's 80.
But Louisville outgained Western Carolina 394-277 overall and topped 30
points for the seventh consecutive time in a regular-season game.
The Cardinals' offense looked sharp at the start, scoring a touchdown on its
opening drive for the third straight game. Quarterback Dave Ragone went 5-for-5
on the 70-yard march, and backup running back Tony Stallings scored his first
touchdown of the season on a 9-yard sweep with 9:27 left in the first quarter.
Louisville crossed midfield again on its second drive, but Patterson fumbled
and Western Carolina defensive back Ahmed Green recovered at the Catamounts'
Western Carolina then drove to the Louisville 37 and set up for a field-goal
attempt. But holder Stanton Horne bobbled the snap and threw a weak pass that
was intercepted by Louisville linebacker Bobby Leffew.
The Catamounts chewed up more than five minutes on their next drive and
Donnie Bryant scored the tying touchdown on a 7-yard run with 6:32 left in the
first half, triggering boos from the Louisville crowd.
The Cardinals responded with an eight-play, 61-yard drive, and Nathan Smith
gave Louisville the lead for good with a 29-yard field goal with 3:01 left
Two minutes later, Branch fielded Horne's punt at the Louisville 39, cut
right and ran untouched down the sideline for Louisville's first punt return
for a touchdown since 1997.
The Catamounts hadn't allowed a punt return for a touchdown since 1991.
Louisville's decisive drive came late in the third quarter. Patterson
finished the 11-play, 62-yard march with a 5-yard burst up the middle with 3:19
left in the quarter. He added another 5-yard touchdown run with 7:53 left in
the game, his fourth touchdown in Louisville's last two games.