LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Coming off a heartbreaking loss to one south Florida school, No. 18 Louisville made sure it did not suffer another.
The Cardinals jumped out to an early 14-0 lead and never looked back in a 41-9 victory over Conference USA rival South Florida.
Louisville (5-1, 3-0) came into the game off a 41-38 loss to No. 3 Miami on October 14. The Cardinals squandered a 24-7 lead at the half against the Hurricanes, who are one of the nation's top teams.
In this one, Louisville jumped on South Florida (2-4, 1-3) with a pair of first-quarter touchdowns and opened a 27-3 lead at the half.
"I was happy with the way our defense came back and showed a lot of pride," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. "After that second half in the Miami game, they got back to being real aggressive, stopping the run, forcing turnovers and giving the offense good field position."
Stefan Lefors nearly was perfect in the first half, completing 14-of-17 passes, including his first 13, for 147 yards and a TD. He hit Adam McCauley with a six-yard TD pass to open the scoring and Michael Bush added a nine-yard TD run to give Louisville a 14-0 lead.
"It's a big game with a national audience and it's my senior year and I wanted to make the most of it," Lefors said. "I'm out there playing and having fun and getting into a rhythm early."
Lefors finished 21-for-26 for 242 yards and one touchdown. He added 39 yards rushing and a TD. Bush carried nine times for 64 yards and two TDs.
"I thought our execution was good on offense. Stefan did an exceptional job," Petrino said. "We had a lot of catches to different people, all three running backs got a lot of work and it was a real fun game for us."
Louisville held a lopsided 517-203 advantage in total yards.
Lefors scored on a 13-yard run just under five minutes into the third quarter and Bush's second scoring run of the game, a 19-yarder, extended the lead to 41-3 after three quarters.
"I'll take these receivers over anybody," Lefors said. "The line gives me protection and our backs run really hard. We just attack, move forward and have fun."
South Florida's Pat Julmiste completed just 3-of-20 passes for 67 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Julmiste racked up 50 of his passing yards on a fourth-quarter TD pass to Johnny Peyton.