LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- After Memphis rallied from a 24-3 deficit to get with a touchdown, the Tigers forced a Louisville punt from near midfield with three minutes to go.
However, the Tigers were called for roughing the kicker, and No. 21 Louisville survived for a 24-17 victory Saturday in frigid Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Louisville, which won its fourth straight game, improved to 10-1 overall, 6-1 in the American Athletic Conference. Memphis, which had a two-game winning streak snapped, fell to 3-7, 1-5.
Louisville led, 24-3, after scoring a touchdown on the opening possession of the second half. But the Cardinals stalled thereafter, and Memphis scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make it interesting.
Before that fourth quarter, the story was the Louisville defense, which limited Memphis to 167 yards with four sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown.
Then Memphis rallied, getting a four-yard touchdown run by quarterback Paxton Lynch and a six-yard scoring pass from Lynch to Jesse Milleson.
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 26-of-36 passes for 220 yards, getting most of that in the second and third quarters. He had only 21 yards passing in the first quarter and 41 in the fourth quarter.
The interception and 36-yard return by Charles Gaines in the first quarter went for naught when Bridgewater was sacked for a 10-yard loss on fourth-and-one from the Memphis 16.
The fumble by Lynch was returned 48 yards for a touchdown by middle linebacker Preston Brown in the first quarter.
The Cardinals' defense continued to shine in the second quarter, and Bridgewater got going.
Louisville held Memphis to a field goal after the Tigers gained a first-and-goal from the one-yard line midway through the quarter, and Bridgewater threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker on Louisville's ensuing possession. It was Parker's ninth touchdown catch this season.
After Louisville forced a three-and-out and a punt on Memphis' ensuing possession, Bridgewater drove the Cardinals 37 yards to John Wallace's 37-yard field goal to make it 17-3 at the half.
Louisville drove 75 yards with the second-half kickoff to a four-yard touchdown run by Dominique Brown to make it 24-3, but the Cardinals were lethargic from there and Memphis rallied.
Lynch completed 11-of-23 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown, with an interception.
The Tigers ran for 135 yards after getting just 48 in the first half. Brandon Hayes rushed for 86 yards on 22 carries.
Louisville ran for 122 yards, led by Brown with 54 on 17 carries.
NOTES: Louisville junior safety Calvin Pryor, who ranks second on the team with 57 tackles and is being mentioned for All-American notice, did not play because of "a violation of a team rule," coach Charlie Strong said after the game. Sophomore Gerod Holliman started in Pryor's place. ... It was Senior Day for Louisville. Twenty seniors were recognized. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a junior who is widely regarded as a top-five NFL draft pick and who is expected to leave for the NFL after this season, was not recognized. He has not announced a decision on whether he will leave. ... Louisville had lost the previous four Senior Day games. ... Louisville is off next week and will play at Cincinnati on Dec. 5 to end the regular season. Memphis will play host to Temple next Saturday. ... Louisville and Memphis, who were former rivals in the Missouri Valley Conference, Metro Conference and Conference USA, have met 43 times, with the Cardinals holding a 24-19 advantage. ... Louisville wide receiver Eli Rogers had to sit out the first half after incurring a targeting penalty against Houston last Saturday. Rogers, a junior who was a high school teammate of Bridgewater's, was tied for second on the team with 36 receptions and four touchdown catches. He had one catch for six yards in the second half.