Rutgers vs. Louisville final score: Cardinals earn share of Big East Conference title with 20-17 victory

Rich Schultz

Rutgers' shot of earning a full share of the Big East Conference championship and a BCS bowl berth ended Thursday with a 20-17 loss to visiting Louisville.

A 29-yard field goal by kicker John Wallace with 1:41 to go in the game helped the Louisville Cardinals earn a 20-17 victory the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who had their BCS bowl hopes end.

The loss forces Rutgers (9-3, 5-2 Big East) to earn just a share of the Big East Conference championship, which will now be shared with Louisville (10-2, 5-2), Syracuse Orange (9-3, 5-2) and possibly the Cincinnati Bearcats (8-3, 4-2), who play the South Florida Bulls on Saturday.

A win would have cemented the program's first outright Big East championship and the league's automatic BCS bowl berth, which now is likely to go to Louisville. The Cardinals are predicted to be ranked higher in next week's BCS standings, which is the tiebreaker in a three- or four-way tie a top the league standings.

Wallace's kick capped a small five-play, 35-yard drive that was setup by an interception by freshman linebacker James Burgess of Rutgers sophomore quarterback Gary Nova. Burgess caught a perfectly thrown ball, which went in and out of the hands of Scarlet Knights senior Tim Wright, and returned it to the Rutgers 27-yard line.

After a 15-yard personal foul forced Louisville to start at the Rutgers' 47-yard line, the Cardinals (9-3, 5-2) used a 30-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to senior wide receiver Andrell Smith to help set up Wallace's game-winning kick.

Rutgers had a chance to win or at least tie the game, but Nova threw an interception on the fourth play of the Scarlet Knights' final drive to end any chances of a comeback. The sophomore signal caller and a wide receiver had some miscommunication, which led to a Louisville defensive back easily picking off Nova with just over a minute to play.

Louisville kneeled twice to end the contest and collect the program's third Big East crown in seven seasons. Rutgers collected its first-ever share of the league title.

-- For more on this game, check back SB Nation New York.

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