Sports

Cards in 'five-game championship run'

LOUISVILLE — One day.

That's all the time Louisville Coach Steve Kragthorpe gives his team to lament a loss or bask in the wake of a win.

So even though the Cardinals are coming off an upset of then-No. 14 South Florida — their biggest victory against a ranked opponent under Kragthorpe — the edict was still the same.

"I'm really pleased and happy for our team, just like I said after the game, but that one's over now," Kragthorpe said Monday. "The 24-hour rule is now invoked, and we move forward."

And now it's back to Big East business for the Cardinals (5-2, 1-1), who play at Syracuse (1-6, 0-3) on Saturday.

"We're in a five-game championship run now, every week is a championship game, and that's the way it gets in this level of football," Kragthorpe said.

West Virginia (5-2, 2-0) leads the Big East, while Connecticut (6-2, 2-1) and Pittsburgh (5-2, 2-1) are just behind.

The Cards host the Mountaineers on Nov. 22 and play at Pittsburgh on Nov. 8 but already have lost to the Huskies 26-21 on Sept. 26 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

"With the fact that UConn won this last week (and) with the fact that West Virginia is still undefeated, and we're sitting with one loss, we can't afford to lose another game," Kragthorpe said. "So we know going to Syracuse isn't an easy game for us, and if we want to be the Big East champion, we have to beat Syracuse at Syracuse."

The Orange shocked the Cardinals 38-35 last year despite entering the game a 36½ -point underdog.

True freshman linebacker Dexter Heyman was a high school senior watching that game as older brother Earl, a defensive end, and the rest of the defense struggled against the normally hapless Orange.

"Absolutely I wanted to put some pads on, but I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do at the point and time," Heyman said.

Last year's loss to Syracuse began the program's slide to the middle of the Big East pack.

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