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November 6, 2011

COLUMN: Momentum carried Cards to win

MORGANTOWN — Momentum is a funny thing in football. When Uncle Mo is on your side, good things tend to happen. When he’s not, well, ask West Virginia University what happened Saturday.

With WVU leading 21-14 late in the second quarter, Louisville was able to drive and even the score going into the break and, in the process, snatched control of the game from the Mountaineers for good, though there was one moment when the Cardinals opened the door to give West Virginia hope.

Leading by a field goal, Louisville faced a fourth-and-1 at the West Virginia 43 with a little more than five minutes to play in the game. Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong called a timeout to talk about what he wanted to do at this very important moment in a very important game.

Strong, in his second year at U of L, went to his bread-and-butter and asked a simple question.

“We looked each other in the eye and (Strong) said, ‘10, can you get it?’ I said, ‘Yes sir.’”

The “10” Strong was speaking to was Dominique Brown, and with that the game was in the sophomore’s hands.

With that, Strong put the game in Brown’s hands, and boy did Brown deliver.

Brown took the handoff on the all-important play from freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and was initially hit behind the line of scrimmage, but was able to twist, turn and dive his way past the first-down marker and extend the Cardinal drive that eventually provided the game-winning touchdown (scored by Brown).

Strong said he made the call to go for it on fourth down on that drive knowing if the Cardinals failed West Virginia was capable of taking the lead once it got possession again.

“I told the defense to get ready because we were going for it,” Strong said. “I said, ‘If we’re going to lose this game, we’re going to lose it right here.’ We needed to get that first down, and Dominique Brown made an unbelievable, unbelievable play. He gets hit and he makes a dive to go and get the first down. Unbelieveable.”

Brown, for his part, was humble when asked about the play.

“It’s wasn’t just a second effort,” he said. “It was more of the offensive line as well.”

Brown finished as the Cardinals’ leading rusher, running for 76 yards on 14 carries.

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