Cards defend 4th down decision

By Kendrick Haskins

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - On the road at Syracuse last week, U of L Head Coach Charlie Strong rolled the dice on fourth down, going for it twice in the fourth quarter, and converting both times with Justin Burke keeping the ball on quarterback sneaks to help clinch the win. Strong attempted to roll the dice on fourth down one more time today against South Florida in overtime, and his luck ran out.

On the sneak, Burke was stopped short of the first down, the Bulls took possession and kicked the game winning field goal from 37 yards out to break the Cards' hearts, 24-21.

After the game, Coach Strong explained why he made the controversial call. "We had been running the ball, just thought that if we could control the ball and get the first down and go and get the touchdown, then we would be up by seven, then they would have to drive the ball and I didn't think they could score on our defense," he said.

While the coach and players are upset about the outcome, they are not second guessing the decision to go for it. The players believe in their coach, and more importantly to the team, their coach believes in them. Starting center Mario Benavides said that's the most important thing, "he believes in us. If we didn't go for it, I might feel even worse."

With the loss, the Cards fall to 5-5, 2-3 in the Big East. They have two more chances to pick up a sixth win to become bowl eligible. The first is next Saturday when they host West Virginia (6-3, 2-2). Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

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