The ninth-ranked University of Louisville opened their game against the visiting Ohio Bobcats on Sunday as a 21 point favorite. Behind the direction of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and a determined defense, the Cardinals were quick to remove any doubt that they were the much superior team.
Louisville racked up 615 yards on offense and limited Ohio to 273 yards. The Cardinals had 416 through the air and ran for 199 in their dominating 49-7 victory.
The Cardinals were flawless on their first three possessions. Bridgewater completed 12 of 13 pass attempts for 181 yards and three touchdowns to give Louisville 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Heisman Trophy candidate connected found Damian Copeland on a 34-yard score on the first possession and connected with him again for a 19-yard touchdown to end their second drive. DeVante Parker pulled in a 27-yard touchdown pass for the third consecutive score.
Following an interception by safety Hakeem Smith at midfield, Bridgewater missed the presence of Ohio's Josh Kristoff and was picked off for one of the few times in his career.
The Bobcats used the turnover as a momentum builder, driving the ball to the Cardinals 15-yard line, but Ohio kicker Matt Green's 32-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.
Louisville added another touchdown in the second quarter on an 8 play, 80-yard drive that was capped off by a 40-yard catch and run by receiver Kai De La Cruz.
Defensively, the Cardinals held Ohio in check throughout the first half, limiting the Bobcats to just 88 yards of total offense. Beau Blankenship, who set a new Ohio record last season rushing for over 1,600 yards, struggled to 15 yards on 10 carries during the first frame.
The second half was more of the same, as the Cardinals outscored the Bobcats 21-7 during the games final 30 minutes of play.
Running back Michael Dyer, who joined the program only days before the start of fall camp, broke free for a 46-yard touchdown run on Louisville's first second half possession. Bridgewater connected with Robert Clark for a 25-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter.
Bridgewater finished with 23 of 28 for 355 yards and 5 touchdowns.
With the Cardinals leading 42-0 to start the fourth quarter, reserve quarterback Will Gardner saw his first action of his Cardinal career and displayed why he quickly secured the number two spot during spring ball. On his first drive, he found De La Cruz for a 30 touchdown.
Kai De La Cruz led all receivers with 116 yards on 4 catches and 2 touchdowns. Damian Copeland's 6 receptions led the team. Senorise Perry rushed for a game high 58 yards, while Dyer added 48 yards, Dominique Brown had 40 and Corvin Lamb gained 34.
Linebacker James Burgess had an outstanding game, leading the Cardinals with 6.5 tackles, including 1.5 for a loss and a forced fumble.
Louisville will next face in-state FCS opponent Eastern Kentucky on Saturday.
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