MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Surprise, surprise, Boise State and Louisville combined to give the scoreboard a workout in the highest-scoring Liberty Bowl ever.
Stefan LeFors accounted for three touchdowns and the No. 8 Cardinals overcame four turnovers and a game Boise State squad for a 44-40 victory.
The previous record for scoring in the Liberty Bowl came in 1969 when Colorado beat Alabama, 47-33.
The loss snaps Boise State's 22 game-win streak, which had been the longest in the nation. The Broncos' last defeat came on September 20, 2003 at Oregon State.
"They laid it on the line today and it was a great game. We just came up a few points short," Boise State coach Dan Hawkins said. "I think today you saw what makes college football great."
Louisville and Boise State entered the game as the nation's top two offenses and more than showed why. The Cardinals led the nation in scoring (49.8) and total offense (538.2), while the Broncos ranked second in both categories, averaging 49.7 points and 511.6 yards.
In this one, the Cardinals (11-1) led by as many as 11 in the first half but trailed 34-21 with just over nine minutes to go in the third quarter.
"It was a great football game. I thought our team showed a tremendous amount of character," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. "To be down at halftime like we were, our players hung in there and we responded well."
That's when LeFors and the Louisville offense got going. LeFors hit J.R. Russell with a 14-yard touchdown pass to pull the Cardinals within 34-28, then gave Louisville the lead with just over two minutes left in the third with a one-yard TD run.
LeFors finished 18-for-26 for 194 yards and two TDs. He was intercepted once and rushed for 75 yards rushing and a TD on 12 carries.
Boise State (11-1) battled back to take a 40-35 lead early in the fourth on a two-yard TD run by Jon Helmandollar. The Broncos' two-point conversion pass came up short.
Eric Shelton gave Louisville the lead for good, plowing in from one-yard out with 6:51 to play. The Cardinals also went for two and came up empty, making the score 41-40.
Arthur Carmody kicked a 19-yard field goal with 1:10 remaining to cap the scoring.
Boise State drove into Louisville territory in the final seconds but Jared Zabransky threw an interception in the end zone as time expired.
"We never had a feeling that we were going to lose the game," Zabransky said. "If there's time on the clock, you should never count us out. That's how I felt and how all those guys in the locker room feel."
Louisville trailed Boise State at the half, 31-21, after committing three turnovers that led directly to 14 Boise State points.
"We started turning the ball over and when you do that against a good team it is difficult to beat them," Petrino said. "Offensively we were moving the ball but we gave Boise State too many opportunities."
Boise State outscored Louisville 21-7 in the second quarter to build a 10-point cushion at the half. and Zabransky threw a TD pass and ran for another score.
Tyler Jones also kicked a 48-yard field goal in the first half for the Broncos, setting a new Liberty Bowl record and Andy Avalos intercepted a pass by LeFors and raced a Liberty Bowl record 92 yards for a TD.
"Two great teams were playing together and it came down to the last play of the game," Petrino said. "The intensity and focus on the sideline was something special. Every time we come to Memphis it takes a full day's work to win a game and that is how you want it to be."