Louisville escapes Southern Miss

Well, that was a mess.

But Louisville — and the Big East — will surely take it. The Cardinals escaped a soaking Hattiesburg with a 21-17 win over Southern Miss to finish their nonconference slate 5-0. Senorise Perry's 14-yard touchdown rush with less than six minutes remaining was the deciding score for the Cardinals, who trailed by as many as 11 and had not led since the game's first six minutes.

The conditions were certainly less than ideal, with enough leftover water on the field to fill a gridiron with kiddie pools. The rain hardly let up all night, but the performances were actually not too sloppy, with just three total turnovers despite the opportunities for plenty more.

The teams managed to combine for 522 total yards. Teddy Bridgewater threw the ball just 13 times, completing nine passes for 88 yards with a touchdown and a pick-six in the first quarter.

Perry led the way for Louisville, rushing for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

Make no mistake: This would have been a horrible loss for Louisville and for the Big East, despite the unforgiving conditions. Southern Miss completed just two passes on the night and had a chance to win at the end. But as they say, a win is a win, and that's all a young team needs to remember as it moves forward into its conference slate.

The Cardinals entered 2012 as the Big East's top team. Despite several unnerving performances through five weeks, they have escaped unscathed and still have every reason to think they can contend for the conference crown.