UCF Storms No. 8 Louisville, 38-35
UCF overcame a 21-point deficit in the third quarter and scored the game-winning touchdown with 23 seconds left, upsetting eighth-ranked Louisville on the road, 38-35, on Friday.
With the loss, Louisville (6-1, 2-1) went from a longshot BCS championship contender to unlikely to play in a BCS bowl.
The Knights (5-1, 2-0), meanwhile, seized control of the newly-formed American Athletic Conference.
Playing at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville scored less than a minute before halftime and tacked on two more touchdowns in the third quarter to command a 28-7 advantage. Halfway through the fourth quarter, UCF took a 31-28 lead.
Dominique Brown's 15-yard touchdown run with 3:00 left gave the Cardinals a 35-31 advantage, but Blake Bortles connected with Jeff Godfrey from 2 yards, and a Top-10 team fell for the third time in a seven-day span.
Bridgewater completed 29-of-38 passes in a nearly-flawless performance (the Cards dropped at least one pass and the final play of the game was a desperation heave). The All-America candidate threw for 341 yards and two touchdowns in the loss and no longer can be considered a serious Heisman Trophy candidate.
Former Miami running back Storm Johnson, now a junior, had a breakout game, accounting for 188 total yards and two touchdowns. Entering the game, Louisville's defense only allowed 229.5 yards per game — to entire teams.
South Florida and Houston, also unbeaten in the AAC, remain on UCF's schedule.
Louisville must collect itself and face the Bulls on the road next Saturday for a noon ET kickoff. The Cardinals also host Houston and play at Cincinnati, though they likely will be favored in every game.
The AAC champion gets a spot in the Orange Bowl against the ACC champion, assuming that team isn't in the BCS title game. The AAC's No. 2 team, which national sites likely will project as Louisville as of this week, plays in the lowly Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 28 against the ACC's third-place team.