The Cardinals won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. FIU chose to receive to begin the game.
The Cardinals and Panthers met for the first time today, with the Panthers taking a 24-17 victory.
The Cardinals are 34-25 against current members of the Sun Belt Conference. The last time Louisville faced a Sun Belt opponent was in 2010, when the Cardinals beat Arkansas State, 34-24, on the road. The loss snapped a 17-game winning streak against Sun Belt competition, a stretch dating back to a 40-7 loss to Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 7, 1981.
The defeat also ended Louisville's four-game win streak over non-conference foes; the school's last loss to a non-BIG EAST team came on Sept. 18 of last season (35-28 to Oregon State).
Harris and Parker became the first pair of Cardinal freshmen with touchdown grabs in the same game since at least the 1985 season.
Stein set single-game career bests in completions (30) and yards (349) in the contest.
The 349 yards were the most for a Cardinal QB in a game since Oct. 5, 2007, when Brian Brohm tossed for 467 in a home loss to Utah. The 30 completions were the also the most for a Louisville signal-caller since that date, on which Brohm finished 39-for-58 with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Stein's 30 completions came on 43 attempts, with that total serving as the highest for a Louisville quarterback since Hunter Cantwell threw 47 times against West Virginia on Nov. 22, 2008.
In Louisville history, only one quarterback has completed 30+ passes in a game at a higher completion percentage than Stein's (69.8) on Friday night: Chris Redman. Redman accomplished the feat six times, the last coming on Oct. 16, 1999, at Memphis (33-for-47, 70.2). Five of Redman's six such efforts came on the road.
Highest completion percentage in games with 30+ completions, Louisville history
1. 78.6 (44-for-56) - Chris Redman at East Carolina - 11.14.98
2. 78.3 (36-for-46) - Chris Redman vs. Western Kentucky - 10.31.98
3. 73.2 (41-for-56) - Chris Redman at Tulane - 10.17.98
4. 73.2 (30-for-41) - Chris Redman at Kentucky - 9.4.99
5. 72.0 (36-for-50) - Chris Redman at Army - 10.7.99
6. 70.2 (33-for-47) - Chris Redman at Memphis - 10.16.99 7. 69.8 (30-for-43) - Will Stein vs. FIU - 9.9.11
8. 69.2 (45-for-65) - Brian Brohm vs. Syracuse - 9.22.07
Stein's yardage total ranks 34th on U of L's all-time single-game list.
Stein had his fifth pass of the evening intercepted and returned for a score, snapping a streak of 84 straight pass attempts without a pick for the junior (dating back to Oct. 31, 2009, against Arkansas State).
The Panthers sacked Stein six times in the game, something that hadn't happened to a Cardinal quarterback since Pittsburgh got to Adam Froman six times on Oct. 2, 2009. Louisville allowed 17 sacks all of last season (among the top 25 in the FBS in fewest allowed per game), with no opponent collecting more than four.
Senior Josh Chichester needed just a half to tie his career high in receiving yards with 67 (on three catches), a mark he would break in the second half. He finished with six receptions for 111 yards.
Chichester's 111 yards were the most in a game for a Cardinal tight end since Gary Barnidge had 126 - on four catches with two touchdowns - on Sept. 6, 2007, against Middle Tennessee.
Freshman DeVante Parker caught his second career touchdown with 1:49 remaining in regulation. He finished the game with four catches and 52 yards receiving, giving him seven receptions, 107 yards, and two TD through two career contests.
Louisville finished with 83 rushing yards in the game, only the second time under Strong the Cards have failed to gain 100 yards on the ground. The other occurrence came against West Virginia last season (26 yards on 30 rushes).
Senior Dexter Heyman recorded a tackle for loss for the sixth straight game dating back to last season, ending the game with 2.0 (including a sack). He has 7.5 TFL over that span.
FIU's T.Y. Hilton finished with 201 yards receiving in the game, a Panther record and the most for Cardinal opponent since Sept. 11, 1999, when Chattanooga's Cos DeMatteo notched 207 yards and three touchdowns on 13 receptions in Louisville's 58-30 victory. The wideout's output is the fourth-highest documented receiving total ever for a U of L opponent.
Wes Carroll's second long TD pass to Hilton, going for 83 yards (after an earlier 74-yard score), was the longest play from scrimmage for a Louisville opponent since Baylor's Jeff Watson found Kalief Muhammad for an 87-yard touchdown in the Bears' 14-13 win over the Cardinals on Sept. 14, 1996.
It marked the first time the Louisville defense allowed two plays from scrimmage of 70+ yards in one game since Sept. 6, 2007, when U of L survived a 78-yard touchdown pass from Joe Craddock to DeMarco McNair and a 79-yard TD scamper by Phillip Tanner in a 58-42 win over Middle Tennessee.
Adding in Winston Fraser's 71-yard interception return, the Panthers had three touchdowns of 70+ yards in the contest. Since 1978, only one other time has Louisville allowed three scores of 70 or more yards in a single game. The year was 2006, the opponent was Kentucky (Sept. 3), and the scores were from 73 (Andre' Woodson to Keenan Burton pass), 80 (Woodson to Dicky Lyons), and 100 yards (Burton kickoff return).
Despite the 201 yards from Hilton, FIU managed just nine first downs in the contest, the fewest for a U of L opponent since Indiana State had seven in the 2009 opener. Louisville has not given up fewer first downs in a loss since Oct. 26, 1996, when the Cards fell 10-7 to Cincinnati despite just 148 total yards and seven first downs for the Bearcats.
Fewest opponent first downs in a Cardinal loss, since 1978
1. 7 - Cincinnati (H) - 10.26.96 (L, 7-10)
2. 8 - Tennessee State (H) - 11.10.84 (L, 15-24) 3. 9 - FIU (H) - 9.9.11 (L, 17-24)
Hilton accounted for all but 47 of his team's 249 yards through the air in the contest. On the 40 FIU plays from scrimmage that did not end in Hilton's hands, the Panthers gained just 92 yards, or 2.3 per play.
Louisville has gone 16 games since it last allowed 300+ yards through the air, tied for the longest streak for the team since a 25-game stretch from Sept. 29, 2001-Sept. 20, 2003.
The Cards finished with fewer penalties and yards (four for 25 yards, compared to five for 45 for FIU) than their opponent for the first time in 10 games.
Senior Mike Evans set new career bests with seven total tackles and six solo stops in the game. Evans had 11 tackles in his first eight career games, but has collected 26 in five games since (at least four each time).
Junior Daniel Brown recorded the first two pass breakups of his career on Friday night.
Senior placekicker Chris Philpott connected on his only field-goal try of the evening, a 30-yarder in the second quarter. Philpott is 15-for-16 on field goals inside 40 yards over the last three seasons.