It wasn't perfect, but the Cardinals (3-1) play was greatly improved in their homecoming win over visiting Florida Atlantic on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the slow start, which saw the Owls grab an early 3-0 lead and then again pull within 13-10 with 6:22 remaining in the second quarter, Bobby Petrino's Cardinals returned to form following the halftime break to claim a 61-10 win over the former head coach Howard Schnellenberger's FAU team.
"Coach Petrino just came in and told us that we were playing a little tight," said junior running back Michael Bush of the halftime adjustment. "He told us to loosen up and play our game. In the second half we did that."
Bush, who recorded over 100-yards on the ground by halftime, continued to run strong in the second frame, finishing the game with a career-high 208 yards.
His 73-yard touchdown run during the first minute of the third quarter ignited the Cardinal offense, which would record 41 second half points.
"That was huge for us to make a play like that," said Petrino. "Michael had a good first half with over 100 yards and that's something I always look at. That was a tremendous run and not just for Michael, but for the receivers who did a nice job down field with the blocking. Montrell Jones and Mario Urrutia were hustling for blocks and that was a great run for our offense."
"I saw a big hole and once I got past the linebackers, all I saw was two safeties," Bush explained of the run. "I just cut back and after that I could see the fans and I knew I had to get to the end zone for them."
The Cardinal defense, which surrendered 45 points a week ago against South Florida, held the Owls scoreless in the second half. Led by defensive end's Elvis Dumervil and Zach Anderson, both of whom recorded 2 sacks, U of L ended the game with nine sacks and limited the opposing offense to just 15 yards of rushing offense.
"Last week was tough," said Dumervil. "Whenever you lose, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Our coaches kept our heads up and we responded today. That was a tough loss for us last week and we knew we needed to redeem ourselves."
Louisville emassed 608 yards of total offense, with sophomore quarterback Brian Brohm throwing for 282 yards, including a 76 touchdown pass to Mario Urrutia.
Lousiville will next face North Carolina on October 8 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
NOTES:Former Cardinal All-American Ray Buchanan attended the game and watched most of the action from the U of L sideline.
A number of high school prospects, mostly from in-state, including Central's Corey Peters, made unofficial visits on Saturday.