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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Chris Philpott tied a school record with a 52-yard field goal, and Teddy Bridgewater threw a touchdown pass in the third quarter as Louisville beat Rutgers 16-14 Friday night, snapping a three-game skid.
Louisville (3-4, 1-1 Big East) also capped a week in which coach Charlie Strong signed a new contract. The Cardinals had three interceptions, ending Rutgers' first two drives and Dexter Heyman picked off Gary Nova with 1:41 left to preserve the victory.
Jeremy Wright ran for a career-high 108 yards on just 11 carries, the first Cardinals running back to top 100 yards this season. Dominique Brown also ran for a TD.
Rutgers (5-2, 2-1) came in atop the Big East having won four straight and might have got caught looking ahead a week to the Scarlet Knights' game with No. 11 West Virginia. The Scarlet Knights struggled to find the end zone against a Louisville defense ranked 16th in the nation giving up just 16.3 points per game.
They pulled within 16-14 with 14:10 left after driving 80 yards over 14 plays when Nova tossed a 12-yard TD pass to Mohamed Sanu. That was as close as they would get as Mark Harrison dropped a would-be touchdown with the nearest defender 10 yards away, and Rutgers wound up punting on fourth-and-1 with 7:06 left.
David Rowe gave Rutgers one last chance when he ran down a ball in the end zone Bridgewater seemed to be throwing away with 2:08 left. But Heyman clinched the victory when he picked off Nova, allowing the Cardinals to run out the clock.
The Cardinals had struggled in their three-game skid scoring in the second half, managing only one touchdown.
Against Rutgers, they got their rushing game going behind Wright, Brown and Vic Anderson. They ran for 134 of their 187 yards in the second half, and that helped Philpott capped the opening drive with Louisville's longest field goal since 1989.
Bridgewater added to the lead capping a 68-yard drive with an 18-yard TD pass to Michaelee Harris, a former Northwestern High teammate in Miami, with 6:10 left in the third.
Rutgers was lucky to be tied at 7-7 at halftime after two interceptions in Nova's first four passes to end the first two drives of the game.
Brown scored on a 1-yard run for only Louisville's third rushing TD this season and just the second by a running back -- and the first since the season opener. That put the Cardinals up 7-0 midway through the first quarter in a lead that would have been more if not for Philpott pushing a 43-yard field goal wide left.
Marcus Cooper blocked Philpott's punt with 2:38 left in the second quarter, taking advantage of a low snap for the block. That set the Scarlet Knights up at the Louisville 26. Even then, Rutgers still had help from a defensive pass interference call in the end zone for first-and-goal at the 2. Nova scrambled and came up just short of the goal line on third down. Rutgers coach Greg Schiano took a timeout with 1 second left, and Savon Huggins ran in easily for the tying TD.