Bush makes Owls' heads spin in Louisville victory
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Howard Schnellenberger came to Louisville in the mid-1980s and revived a sagging program.
He was back home on Saturday, coaching in the stadium he helped build, watching the Cardinals win again.
And this time, he could do nothing to stop it.
Michael Bush ran for a career-high 204 yards and No. 24 Louisville spoiled Schnellenberger's homecoming with a 61-10 rout of Florida Atlantic, the program Schnellenberger started from scratch seven years ago.
The 71-year-old Schnellenberger was born in Louisville and coached the Cardinals from 1985-94. He downplayed his emotions this week, but held back tears at the end of his postgame news conference.
"Wouldn't it have been wonderful if we could have had a win like this when we were here?" Schnellenberger said.
The Owls (0-5) suffered the worst loss in their five-year history and gave the Cardinals (3-1) a much-needed confidence boost after last week's 45-14 loss at South Florida.
Bush was the first Cardinal to top 200 yards rushing since Anthony Shelman had 220 in Schnellenberger's last game as Louisville's coach, a 34-27 win over Tulsa. And Elvis Dumervil had three sacks to push his Big East-leading total to 12 as the Cardinals held the Owls to 15 rushing yards.
"As you can tell," Schnellenberger said, "we're still a long way from being able to play a team of this magnitude."
The Cardinals went over 60 points for the fifth time in coach Bobby Petrino's three seasons. They won their eighth straight at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, a $63 million venue Schnellenberger helped raise funds to build.
The stadium opened in 1998, the year Schnellenberger launched the Florida Atlantic program. He was coaching there for the first time.
Schnellenberger was inducted into the University of Louisville's athletic hall of fame on Friday night and the school named its football complex after him before Saturday's game.
"It was very touching," Schnellenberger said. "I've always been treated better than I should've been here. We're very indebted and very appreciative."
Petrino had a brief chat with Schnellenberger on the field before the game.
"I went over and said, 'Thanks,' for what he did for this program," said Petrino. "I'm really thankful for what he's done here because it's made my job easier."
The Owls have 15 underclassmen starters and Schnellenberger conceded they probably couldn't compete with the Cardinals.
Early on, they did, though, marching down the field on their opening drive and taking the lead on Danny Kennard's 50-yard field goal.
Louisville's Art Carmody, who had missed two of his first three field-goal tries this season, made a 40-yarder to tie the game.
Brian Brohm started the second quarter with a 25-yard pass to Montrell Jones. Kolby Smith then darted 23 yards to the Owls' 1 and dived over the pile on the next play. Dumervil forced an Owls' punt after picking up his 10th sack and a 45-yard pass from Brohm to Mario Urrutia set up a 24-yard field goal by Carmody.
The Owls faced third-and-6 from their 38 when quarterback Danny Embick found Thomas Parker for a 37-yard gain. Louisville's secondary looked lost again when Embick hit a wide-open Casey Magahee for a 15-yard touchdown that drew the Owls to 13-10. The Cardinals dominated from there, finishing their next six drives with touchdowns.
Bush carried six times for 65 yards on the first, including a 2-yard TD run. He had 103 yards at halftime.
On the first scrimmage play of the second half, Bush sidestepped two tacklers and outran the Owls' secondary for a 73-yard touchdown.
"I saw a big ol' hole and I got to it," said Bush, a junior who recorded his third 100-yard rushing game of the season. "I just cut back and after that, I saw nothing but fans and I had to get to them."
Louisville's defense looked much stronger after the break, holding the Owls without a first down on their first two possessions. The Cardinals scored touchdowns after each punt, on short runs by Brohm and Smith.
Brohm threw a 76-yard touchdown pass to Urrutia later in the third quarter, but Carmody got the extra-point kick blocked, snapping a streak of 97 consecutive PATs.
Bush went over 200 yards on a 10-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter.
Schnellenberger shook hands with several Cardinals after the game and spoke briefly with Brohm, whose older brother, Jeff, played for Schnellenberger from 1990-93.