The Cardinals will make their third straight bowl appearance in the state of Florida.
Dec. 5, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The University of Louisville has accepted an invitation to play in the third annual Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Tues., Dec. 21, against long-time rival Southern Mississippi.
The game is set for 8 p.m., ET, that evening at Tropicana Field, which is the home of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays. The game will be televised live nationally by ESPN.
"The Louisville and Southern Miss matchup is a big win for college football fans," said Executive Director Brett Dulaney. "These are two programs that have always played an exciting brand of football and the matchup features a defensive-minded Louisville head coach against a Southern Miss coach, who has his team scoring nearly 40 points a game."
Louisville (6-6) will be playing in its 15th bowl game in school history and first under Charlie Strong, who guided the Cardinals to a 6-6 overall record and a 3-4 mark in the BIG EAST in his first season. The Cardinals' last trip to the postseason was in 2007, when they defeated Wake Forest 24-13 in the FedEx Orange Bowl -- the school's first BCS appearance.
Louisville appeared in nine straight bowl games from 1998-2007 before missing the postseason the last three seasons. The Cardinals are 6-7-1 all-time in bowl games and have won two of their last three appearances.
This will be Louisville's third straight bowl appearance in the state of Florida. Prior to defeating Wake Forest in the 2007 Orange Bowl, the Cardinals dropped a 35-24 decision to Virginia Tech in the 2006 Gator Bowl.
"We are thrilled to be traveling to the Beef O'Brady's Bowl," said Vice President and Athletics Director Tom Jurich. "It's a great accomplishment to reach a bowl game in Charlie's first year here. He and our team have worked hard and done a terrific job getting us to this stage. I know our fans will be excited to follow this team to St. Petersburg. It's in the heart of a strong recruiting base for us and we have a very active alumni group in that area. Southern Mississippi has an excellent team and is an institution in which we have great respect. We have many friends there from the competition we've had over the years."
The Cardinals qualified for a bowl this season by playing consistent football. The Cardinals dropped two of their first three games of the season, but bounced back to win three of their next four, including their first league shutout -- a 26-0 win over Connecticut.
After dropping a 20-3 decision to Pittsburgh, the Cardinals snapped an 11-game BIG EAST road losing streak with a huge 28-20 win at Syracuse. After losing two tough BIG EAST games by a combined total of 10 points to South Florida and West Virginia, the Cardinals became bowl eligible with a 40-13 win at Rutgers.
"I'm very proud of this football team, but I'm especially happy for our senior class to get to a bowl game and have the opportunity to play one more game," said Strong. "Our team has worked hard and dedicated themselves to earn a bowl game, and I'm so happy for them. We are pleased to represent the BIG EAST Conference against Southern Miss in this outstanding bowl are looking forward to this outstanding opportunity."
Under head coach Larry Fedora, Southern Mississippi finished at 8-4 and 5-3 in Conference USA. This will be the ninth consecutive football bowl appearance for the Golden Eagles and 13th in the last 14 years. The program makes its first showing in a Florida bowl game in 29 years, since playing Missouri in the 1981 Tangerine Bowl in Orlando.
Strong and Fedora served on the same staff at the University of Florida from 2003-04. Strong served as the defensive coordinator, while Fedora served in the role of perimeter game coordinator in 2003 and offensive coordinator in 2004. Fedora also coached on the same Oklahoma State staff with current Louisville defensive coordinator Vance Bedford in 2007.
Louisville and Southern Mississippi were long-time members together in Conference USA before the Cardinals left for the BIG EAST in 2005. The Cardinals have faced the Golden Eagles on 28 occasions all-time with Southern Mississippi owning an 18-9-1 advantage in the series. Louisville has won the last four meetings in the overall series, including a 25-23 win at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in 2009. The two teams are scheduled to meet again in Hattiesburg in 2012.
While members of Conference USA together from 1995-2005, the Cardinals won three league titles in 2000, 2001 and 2004, while the Golden Eagles were champions in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2003.