MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- Byron Leftwich threw four touchdown passes in his final game to lead Marshall to a 38-15 victory over Louisville in the GMAC Bowl on Wednesday night. Marshall (11-2) won a bowl game for the fifth consecutive year, the longest such streak in the nation. Top-ranked Miami has won four straight.
Leftwich became the first player in Division I-A history to throw four TD passes in two bowl games.
In last year's GMAC Bowl, the Thundering Herd came from 30 points down to beat East Carolina 64-61 in double-overtime behind Leftwich's 576 yards passing in the highest-scoring bowl game ever.
No such comebacks were needed this time for the Mid-American Conference champions as they took a 17-0 lead. Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich held a rare halftime news conference to announce he had given Michigan State permission to talk to coach John L. Smith about the Spartans' vacancy.
The Cardinals (7-6) finished with their worst record in Smith's five years. They were 11-2 last year.
Louisville got inside the Marshall 30 just twice and went 0-for-13 on third downs. The Cardinals gained just 88 yards in the first half
The game was billed as a matchup of two of the nation's top quarterbacks.
Leftwich, picked as the game's Most Valuable Player, did his part despite being slowed by a sore shin injured in early November. He went 22-of-44 for 249 yards.
Leftwich threw TD passes of 8 and 13 yards to backup receiver Demetrius Doss -- who had one scoring catch all season -- and 9 and 26 yards to Denero Marriott. Marriott had 10 catches for 137 yards.
Louisville's Dave Ragone went 20-of-45 for 193 yards. He'll get another chance when he returns to Mobile on Jan. 18 for the Senior Bowl.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Jamus Martin stripped Ragone and Jonathan Goddard recovered the fumble. A personal foul penalty gave Marshall the ball at the Louisville 16, and Butchie Wallace scored on first down for a 38-7 lead.
It was a disappointing finish to an up-and-down season for Louisville.
The Cardinals started ranked 17th but lost the opener at home to Kentucky. There also was a win over then-No. 4 Florida State and a loss at 4-7 Houston to finish the regular season.
Peninsula Clarion ©2015. All Rights Reserved.