Found September 03, 2012 on
Fox Sports Ohio:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Not known for lavishing praise, Louisville coach Charlie Strong found himself acting out of character.
He was happy to do it after his No. 25 Cardinals thoroughly beat in-state rival Kentucky 32-14 in their opener. Offense sparked much of his elation, as the Cardinals outgained the Wildcats 466-373 and scored on five of their first seven possessions.
Strong needed to see that from his offense after the unit struggled at times last season. What he got was complete domination.
"It was just amazing to see how we just clicked on offense," Strong said of a team that scored touchdowns on its first three drives. "(Quarterback Teddy) Bridgewater had an unbelievable day. We also had two running backs to rush for over 100 yards. I told our team I have to give credit to our offensive line because they did a great job of blocking up front. They don't get enough credit."
Juniors Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry rushed for 105 and 108 yards respectively, which might be why Strong waited until just before kickoff to pick Wright as the starter in a three-way battle including Dominique Brown. Wright was the workhorse, rushing 22 times and scoring three touchdowns.
Bridgewater enhanced his promising resume, completing 10 of his first 11 passes and 19 of 21 overall, setting a school percentage record while throwing for 232 yards. What surprised Strong most was scoring on drives of 99, 85 and 93 yards without blinking.
"I do not know if I expected the offense to perform as well as they did," Strong said. "A lot of the time you just don't know how well guys will play together and get in sync. They were able to get in sync, stay in sync and move the ball up and down the field."
Bridgewater's boost wasn't surprising, considering the sophomore was last year's Big East Rookie of the Year. What was startling was that he did it with little room for error.
A third-down completion to Damian Copeland took Louisville 23 yards to its 25, and Andrell Smith followed with a 17-yarder. Just like that, the Cardinals and their ground game had breathing room.
"That's what we pride ourselves on, that's why we work hard," Bridgewater said. "We practice game-like situations, so (Sunday) was just like practice."
Do the Cardinals practice 99-yard drives?
No matter who was running, they each ended up outgaining Kentucky (93 rushing yards) all by themselves.
"It was a team effort and everybody pushed each other in practice," Wright said, "and we got it done because of execution."
Louisville's reward for this domination was the Governor's Cup for the second year in a row. The Cardinals also ended a three-game home losing streak to Kentucky.
As for those bragging rights, Strong suggested that they go beyond two schools just 70 miles apart.
"Anytime you play a rival game, you want to go win the football game and that is what our focus was," Strong said. "Not only that game, but we want to win them all if we possibly can...
"I will say this: We still have a lot to learn and to improve upon. But, just seeing a Big East team beat an SEC team speaks volumes."
The Wildcats' biggest problem was not matching the Cardinals' intensity when they had an early opportunity and then having to play from behind even when they seemed to be gaining some footing.
But other than a 75-yard scoring drive that briefly brought Kentucky within 8-7 in the first quarter, the Wildcats' offense found little room against a defense that had sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith contained in many facets.
Smith completed 35 of 50 passes for 280 yards but was sacked twice. The Wildcats also committed two turnovers.
"I thought I played pretty well, a lot of improvements I need to make little small things I need to adjust on," said Smith, whose three starts late last season led to him earning the job outright this year.
After Bridgewater and Wright rallied the Cardinals from that initial setback, they made it 15-7 on Perry's run and 22-7 on Wright's 14-yarder. Freshman John Wallace added a 22-yard field goal and Wright capped it with another 1-yard run. La'Rod King caught a 5-yard TD pass from Smith in the third quarter to cut the lead, but the tone had been set and the Wildcats just tried to stay within sight of a Louisville team intent on distancing itself.
"We beat ourselves," King said. "We are much better than this. Saying this is the first game is a bunch of bull in my opinion. We prepared way too hard and way better than we showed out here today."
BEST OF MAXIM
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Louisville's defense got the job done and the No. 25 Cardinals won their season opener.
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Head coach Charlie Strong and the rest of the Louisville program are off to a roaring start to the college football season. Louisville in front of numerous high school football prospects dominates in state arch rival Kentucky Sunday afternoon.
Head coach Charlie Strong and the rest of the Louisville program are off to a fast start with a big win vs. Kentucky. Numerous 2013 and 2014 prospects were in attendance as the Cards had little problem with the Wildcats.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- For No. 25 Louisville, playing a game it could boast about was just as important as bragging rights against in-state rival Kentucky.
The Cardinals succeeded on both counts Sunday.
Jeremy Wright ran for 105 yards and three touchdowns and Louisville opened the game with three long scoring drives en route to a 32-14 victory against the Wildcats. That claimed...
I’m sure Louisville fans expected big performances from guys like Teddy Bridgewater, Hakeem Smith, DeVante Parker and Preston Brown in the Cards season opener against Kentucky. However, there were a few guys who somewhat unexpectedly played huge for the Cards on Sunday. Here are my two surprise performers from the season opener.
Offense – Damian Copeland:
Copeland played well...
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Teddy Bridgewater completed 19 of 21 passes for 232 yards and Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright both ran for over 100 yards as Louisville decked Kentucky 32-14 before a record crowd at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Jeremy Wright celebrates after scoring the University of Louisville’s first touchdown of the 2012 football season with 3:28 remaining in the first quarter against Kentucky. Wright would score two more touchdowns while rushing for 105 yards in UofL’s 32-14 victory.
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Heady stuff Sunday for the University of Louisville football team.A record crowd, a highly efficient offense, an impressive win over arch rival Kentucky, and Charlie Strong singing the team’s praises.But as Assistant Coaches Vance Bedford and Clint Hurtt will again remind their charges again this year, “It was only Kentucky.”As defensive line coach, Hurtt has to have real concern...
Charlie Strong and the Louisville Cardinals took the field in front of more than 55,000 fans yesterday afternoon and cruised to an easy 32-14 victory over their in-state rival, the Kentucky Wildcats. Louisville put together impressive drives of 99, 85, and 93 yards in the first half and never looked back.
Here are some games notes for both Louisville and Kentucky. Courtesy of UofLSports.com and UKAthletics.com
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