With the scoreboard reading just 7-7 early in the second, the Louisville offense and defense took over and dominated the Saturday afternoon game against East Carolina to win easily 59-7.
Eric Shelton rushed for 129 yard and 5 touchdowns, while quarterbacks Stefan LeFors and Brian Brohm completed 24 of 30 pass attempts for 334 yards as the Louisville offense racked up 549 total yards to fuel the explosive Cardinal offense.
"Eric [Shelton] is running the ball really well right now," said U of L head coach Bobby Petrino following the game. "He's gotten a lot of the touches in the last two games and he's made the most of it. He had two really nice long runs today and he did a great job on the goal line as well. Breaking the big play is something we've been talking about a lot offensively and fortunately we were able to do that today."
The defense, which has already recorded two shutouts this season, one again kept the opposing offense in check as East Carolina only managed 235 yards on the afternoon.
"Each week, it looks the game is getting slower and slower, and today the game felt like it was in slow motion," said linebacker Brandon Johnson. "We made a lot of plays today."
Shelton put the Cardinals on the board first midway through the first quarter when he took the second play from scrimmage 67-yards for his first score of the day.
"I've really been looking forward to a nice long run for a touchdown," Shelton explained. "That came last week against UNC and then it turned around and happened twice this week. Sticking to the game plan, running hard and getting behind the passes is the key, and you never know when you're going to come up out of one."
East Carolina responded by driving 62 yards on 8 plays to tie the score on a 20 yard pass to tight end Sean Harmon early in the second period.
Shelton rushed for two more touchdowns in the second quarter, with the second following a 54 yard punt by junior Montrell Jones.
The Cardinals then found paydirt four times in the third quarter to build their lead to 49-7.
Senior defensive end Marcus Jones sacked ECU quarterback James Pickney, forcing a fumble, which was recovered by Bobby Leffew to set up the Cardinals first score in the second half.
An interception by linebacker Brandon Johnson, which he returned 47 yards to the Pirates 17 yard line set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Michael Bush with 5:10 remaining in the third frame.
Defensive tackle Montavious Stanley forced a fumble during the next East Carolina possession giving the U of L offense the ball back on the ECU 29 yard line. Three plays later Stefan LeFors connected with J.R. Russell for a 15-yard touchdown pass to close the third quarter.
The Cardinals scored again on the first possession of the fourth quarter when freshman quarterback Brian Brohm found Lionel Gates for a 6-yard touchdown pass.
Art Carmody finished the scoring when he connected on a 42-yard field goal with 1:47 remaining in the game.
The 22nd-ranked Cardinals will next face 4th-ranked Miami on Thursday, October 14th in the Orange Bowl.
"I'm already thinking about Miami," said Petrino. "We're excited about playing them. I came here to coach in games like this and our players came here to play in games like this. We'll be focused and intense, and we'll get on the plane, fly down there and tee it off."
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
----------------- -- -- -- -- -----
ECU................. 0 7 0 0 - 7 Record: (0-4,0-2)
Louisville Cardinals 7 14 28 10 - 59 Record: (4-0,2-0)
FIRST DOWNS................... 17 26
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 38-53 38-215
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 182 334
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 36-21-3 31-24-0
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 74-235 69-549
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 3-26 5-65
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 7-132 1-30
Interception Returns-Yards.... 0-0 3-47
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 9-35.8 3-37.7
Fumbles-Lost.................. 3-2 2-1
Penalties-Yards............... 7-44 6-59
Possession Time............... 33:51 26:09
Third-Down Conversions........ 7 of 17 4 of 9
Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 0 1 of 2
Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 1-1 6-7
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 2-7 4-37
RUSHING: ECU-JOHNSON, Chris 20-65; TOWNES, Marvin 7-21; TEAM 1-minus 2; ROBINSON, Des 3-minus
3; PINKNEY, James 7-minus 28.
Louisville Cardinals-SHELTON, Eric 12-129; Bush, Michael 9-37; LeFORS,
Stefan 6-30; Smith, Kolby 3-15; Gates, Lionel 2-11; BRADSHAW, R. 2-5; TEAM 1-minus 1; HASKINS,
Robert 1-minus 4; Brohm, Brian 2-minus 7.
PASSING: ECU-PINKNEY, James 13-23-2-126; ROBINSON, Des 7-12-1-56; Johnson, Chris 1-1-0-0.
Louisville Cardinals-BROHM, Brian 12-16-0-186; LeFors, Stefan 12-14-0-148; TEAM 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: ECU-FOX, Damarcus 6-68; GOOD, Bobby 6-63; HARMON, Sean 4-39; Johnson, Chris 2-6;
VEAL, Jermarcus 1-5; BROWN, Art 1-1; TOWNES, Marvin 1-0.
Louisville Cardinals-RUSSELL, J.R. 7-101;
Jones, Montrell 4-49; Smith, Kolby 2-57; Bush, Michael 2-34; CLARK, B. 2-23; Gates, Lionel 2-12;
McCauley, Adam 1-18; Jones, Tiger 1-12; Douglas, Harry 1-11; Barnidge, Gary 1-10; Tinch, Joshua 1-7.
INTERCEPTIONS: ECU-None. Louisville Cardinals-SHARP, Antoine 1-0; Sharp, Brandon 1-0;
JOHNSON, Bra. 1-47.
FUMBLES: ECU-PINKNEY, James 2-2; ROBINSON, Des 1-0.
Louisville Cardinals-LeFORS, Stefan 1-0;
Bush, Michael 1-1.
Stadium: Papa John's Cardinal Attendance: 40220
Kickoff time: 3:06pm End of Game: 6:14pm Total elapsed time: 3:08
Officials: Referee: D. Blum; Umpire: R. Fowler; Linesman: K. McGrath;
Line judge: K. Antee; Back judge: J. Quirk; Field judge: T. Hutson;
Side judge: A. Delvento;
Temperature: 64 Wind: NW-12 Weather: Cloudy