Posted September 22, 2013 on
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Louisville's nonconference schedule ended with the complete game that coach Charlie Strong had been seeking. His challenge now to players is carrying that effort and focus into league play.
The Cardinals get a week off to get ready.
Seventh-ranked Louisville (4-0) enters a bye week fresh off of Saturday's 72-0 thrashing of Florida International that showed how powerful they can be when locked in mentally and physically. The effort resulted in two dominating halves, several defensive milestones and Louisville's most lopsided win in six years that matched the program's fifth-largest victory margin.
Louisville expects stiffer challenges from American Athletic Conference opponents when league play begins Oct. 5 at Temple. Still, the Cardinals are the favorites to win the ACC in their lone season in the conference.
''The first segment is done, then we get to step into our conference and every game counts,'' Strong said. ''We are going to have to do better and we are going to have to improve the running game on offense.
''Defensively, we can't allow a team to run the ball on us wherever we go. And in special teams, we have to do a better job in the cover game and then we need to get the ball returned into positive yards.''
Saturday's win provided an impressive template for the Cardinals.
Louisville's defense spent the day mostly knocking and a young and banged FIU squad (0-4) backward. The Cardinals forced 11 punts and allowed just one third down record lows of 30 yards and two first downs to the Panthers, whose longest drive was 21 yards.
The performance gave Louisville's high-powered offense field position and opportunities that junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater quickly maximized. He threw for four touchdowns and 212 yards in three quarters of play before backup Will Gardner came in to complete all five of his passes and toss another TD.
Four Cardinals running backs ran for TDs and receiver-turned-cornerback Charles Gaines returned the second half opening kickoff 93 yards for another score after setting up one of Bridgewater's TDs with a fumble recovery.
''We have to give Teddy good looks,'' Gaines said.
That philosophy definitely carried Louisville to easy wins over Ohio, Eastern Kentucky and FIU along with a hard-earned triumph over in-state rival Kentucky. The Cardinals' mission now is keeping the momentum going in the league formerly known as the Big East, featuring new members such as Central Florida, Houston and Memphis along with such familiar foes as Rutgers and Connecticut.
Louisville will travel to Temple seeking its fourth straight win over the Owls before consecutive prime-time meetings against Rutgers and UCF, both of which have received poll votes following impressive wins in recent weeks against Arkansas and Penn State respectively.
The Scarlet Knights (3-1) rallied from a 17-point second half deficit to beat Arkansas 28-24 on Saturday. Last week, UCF went into Happy Valley and upset the Nittany Lions 34-31 that gave the new league some credibility.
UConn, which beat Louisville last season and hosts the Cardinals on Nov. 8, pushed Michigan to the limit before losing 24-21 on Saturday night. Those outcomes give the already motivated Cardinals an idea about what's ahead in conference play.
Not that the Cardinals needed reminding of why they need to stay focused.
As Bridgewater said, ''we're trying to do something special here.''
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AROUND THE WEB
With no opponent on the schedule this weekend, Charlie Strong says his team will get back to the basics. Fortunately, Strong says the bye week came at a perfect time.
“We’re getting ready to step into the conference and I think just that since we’ve had a long fall camp and now this is the first time they really get a rest, it came at the right time,” Strong said during Monday...
The quote of the day, and perhaps the nearest explanation anybody can come up with for what happened Saturday between Louisville and Florida International comes from Louisville coach Charlie Strong.
#UofL coach Charlie Strong: "I don't think so much it was a running clock. We just said, 'Keep the clock running.'"
-- Jonathan Lintner (@JonathanLintner) September...
Charlie Strong and the Louisville football program landed their first commitment from the 2015 class on Sunday evening.
Ross Trail, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound, quarterback from Olive Branch, MS., gave Louisville a verbal pledge over the weekend. Ross was on campus for Louisville’s season opener against Ohio on Sept. 1. Apparently he liked what he saw.
This is the third straight year...
Johnny Manziel (QB-Texas A&M) - Coming off back-to-back games with over 400 yards passing, Manziel ran his way back to the front of the list of Heisman Hopefuls by racking up 102 rushing yards and a couple of scores versus SMU. The Aggies, behind their sophomore quarterback who
This was one dominant performance, and Teddy Bridgewater and No. 7 Louisville think they can perform even better.
It's definitely a nice problem to have heading into conference action.
Bridgewater threw four touchdown passes and Louisville's defense allowed a school-record 30 yards during a 72-0 wipeout of Florida International on Saturday.
It was the highest scoring game...
Shannon Cogan of Wave 3 news recently caught up with Charlie Strong and his wife Vicki as they opened up about their family life in Louisville. This is an awesome story. Click here to view the video on your mobile device.
wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather
University of Louisville football coach Charlie Strong has his first commitment in the Class of 2015. The Cardinals landed a Sunday night commitment from a quarterback out of Olive Branch, Miss. Cardinal Authority has the latest.
WDRB 41 Louisville News
The Louisville Cardinals smashed Florida International, 72-0, at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium on Saturday, but that was only a small part of the best day in the lives of fans Vonnie Evans and Jeff Miller.
This is because the couple broke tradition and decided to tie the knot in the stadium parking lot before the game during a tailgate party. Yes, this really...
The world of Charlie and Vicky Strong. Great job by Shannon Cogan of WAVE-TV news:
wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather
At a time where Louisville wide receiver Michaelee Harris should be playing in his final season with the Cardinal program, unfortunately the Miami native just completed only the 17th game of his career where he was healthy.
The Miami native was one of the feature players in Charlie Strong’s first recruiting class at Louisville. Harris was a four star prospect coming out of high...
Once a Cardinal Bird, always a Cardinal Bird, as Jon Cecil, from Murray who once was the Cardinal Mascot, demonstrates after UofL’s one-sided win over Florida.
The 72-0 rout of Florida International was much too easy but we may have learned a few things about the University of Louisville football team Saturday, including:
Charles Gaines needs to be in on all kickoffs, offensively...
University of Louisville football coach Charlie Strong didn’t have his weekly news conference with the local media because of the open week but he did speak on the American Athletic Conference teleconference. Here’s an update:
Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America
The Louisville Cardinals (3-0) will host the Florida International Golden Panthers (0-3) on Saturday.
Heisman hopeful Teddy Bridgewater has torched opponents for 1002 yards and 10 touchdowns though three games but Louisville is hoping to see more positive signs from their running game in this one.
GamePlan/ESPN 3 will carry coverage of this game...
In a 72-0 blowout of Florida International on Saturday, junior Dominique Brown has the biggest run for the Cardinals. He had a 77-yard run and then picked up the 1-yard TD run for Louisville.
On Sunday evening, five star forward Trey Lyles said that he would be making some sort of an announcement on Monday. Many speculated that the Indianapolis native would announce his college decision; however his father quickly let everyone know that his son wouldn’t be announcing his decision.
Lyles had been down to just four schools, Louisville, Kentucky, Butler and Indiana for...