No. 19 Louisville beat Cincinnati 31-24 in OT

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 5, 2013 at 11:08 pm •  Published: December 5, 2013
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He and Kay kept topping each other in the fourth quarter, but Cincinnati's sixth-year senior didn't have one more big play left in him. He was 22 of 40 for 304 yards with two interceptions and two touchdown scrambles, one of which left him woozy.

For Louisville, the game amounted to a farewell.

The Cardinals head off to the ACC next season, leaving Cincinnati behind. Louisville claimed the final Big East football title last season, beat Florida in the Sugar Bowl and was favored to win the first AAC championship.

A loss at home to Central Florida ended the Cardinals' chances of winning the league's BCS bowl berth. Cincinnati's slim hopes were extinguished by the loss Thursday.

Both defenses rank in the Top 10 nationally for fewest points and yards allowed. They dug in a cold rain that made it tougher to throw and catch the ball, until the two quarterbacks lit it up in the fourth quarter.

Bridgewater rallied Louisville with two sensational plays. He slipped away from three tackles for his 14-yard run on fourth-and-12, then ran around in the backfield avoiding rushers before throwing a 22-yard touchdown pass to Damian Copeland with 8:08 left, ending up on his back after the off-balance throw.

"The plays Teddy made in that fourth quarter," Strong said with admiration. "I thought he was sacked. Then he breaks free and gets the ball to Damian Copeland."

Kay responded with a 57-yard completion that set up Ralph David Abernathy IV's touchdown run, and Bridgewater matched it with a 4-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker and a 24-21 lead with 2:26 to go — just enough time for Kay to lead the Bearcats in range for a tying field goal.

Kay hurt his left ankle on the opening drive of the second half and played the rest of the game with a pronounced limp. He went for an MRI after the game. He also got dazed on his second touchdown run, getting hit hard by two defenders as he crossed the goal line in the third quarter.

"That's how tough the kid is," Tuberville said. "You can't say enough about him. I'm proud he was my quarterback for the last nine games."

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

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