Louisville 49, Ohio 7: Cards cruise in opener

Bridgewater throws 5 TD passes in season-opening rout

mmaloney@herald-leader.comSeptember 2, 2013 

Ohio Louisville Football

Louisville running back Michael Dyer (26) broke free from Ohio defender Xavier Hughes and ran 46 yards for a touchdown that gave the Cardinals a 35-0 lead in the third quarter.


LOUISVILLE — Louisville was all about execution Sunday.

The No. 9 ranked Cardinals rolled 49-7 over the executed, Ohio University.

Heisman Trophy candidate Teddy Bridgewater threw for 355 yards and five touchdowns, making it look oh-so-easy to a Papa John's Cardinal Stadium crowd of 55,332.

Not that he would taunt an overmatched foe.

"When you respect the game, you have to respect the opponent, and Ohio did a great job of coming out and showing different looks," said Bridgewater, who completed 23 of 28 passes and had one interception. "But we put together a great game plan and just executed the plan."Bridgewater, who likely will be playing on Sundays more regularly in the future, directed an offense that gained 615 yards and converted 13 of 16 third downs. About the only thing U of L didn't do right was avoid penalties — called 11 times for 90 yards.

"It's always great to get that first win behind you," Cardinals Coach Charlie Strong said.

"One game into it, you still have a lot of questions. You look at the opponent, and you felt like if we played well we could go dominate that opponent. But we still have a ways to go. We can improve just penalty-wise. We can improve on defense. ... We still have a ways to go."

Bridgewater threw four first-half touchdowns — 34 and 19 yards to Damian Copeland, 27 yards to DeVante Parker and 40 yards to Kai De La Cruz.

The Cards added third-quarter scores on Michael Dyer's 46-yard run and a 25-yard pass from Bridgewater to Robert Clark. De La Cruz also caught a fourth-quarter strike of 30 yards from Bridgewater's backup, Will Gardner.

Bridgewater completed his first nine passes of the game before Copeland dropped a ball.

"I was at a high level," Bridgewater said. "But also, it was the offensive line and the wide receivers. The offensive line did a great job, giving me three-to-four seconds to throw the ball and, some plays, even five-to-six.

"The wide receivers did a great job playing in detail. ... We always talk about making the routes look like the drawings in the playbook, and today those guys did exactly that."

Copeland, who caught two touchdowns last season, grabbed two in the first quarter.

"We started off great, and that is what we said going into the game," Copeland said. "We needed to get off to a fast start."His 34-yard catch capped the game-opening drive, with Bridgewater going 6-for-6. The Cards ran a play action to the right, only to have Bridgewater roll left to find Copeland wide open.

And the rout was on.

"It's not necessarily a statement (game), but we just did what we had to do," De La Cruz said. "It felt like practice. It felt like what we were doing all week throughout camp. It just felt very easy."

"It did feel like practice, I can't lie to you," agreed Senorise Perry, who led U of L rushers with 58 yards on 13 carries. "It just felt so easy to go out there. ... It was a great team, but we just came out and executed, and we clicked in all phases."

Ohio averted a shutout when Ryan Boykin ran in from 10 yards out as time expired in the third quarter.

"The key was just to play hard, to play physical, staying in our gaps," said linebacker Preston Brown, who had a solo tackle and eight assists. "And we maintained that really well throughout the whole game."

Ohio was limited to 273 yards of offense.

"I give a lot of credit to Louisville because they have a great defense, and we just weren't clicking today," Bobcats quarterback Tyler Tettleton said. "They did everything that we were expecting. We just didn't execute today."


Lorenzo Mauldin, who was injured Tuesday when the moped he was riding was struck, started at defensive end and assisted on one tackle.

■ James Burgesss led Louisville tacklers with five solos and three assists.

■ Bridgewater tied Chris Redman's record, set in 1999 against Kentucky, for most TD passes in a U of L season opener. Bridgewater also passed Jay Gruden for fourth all-time on U of L's career TD total, now at 44. He has thrown TD passes in 13 consecutive games. Sunday marked his second career five-TD game, the first coming against Temple last Nov. 3.

■ Ohio cornerback Travis Carrie, when asked if Bridgewater is the best quarterback out there: "From what I've seen, I really couldn't judge that. I think you would have to scout him through the year to really tell how good he is. You would have to have statistics to do that, and I don't have that. I would say he is on the same level as Manziel."

■ Copeland finished with a game-high six catches for 98 yards. De La Cruz caught four for a game-high 116 yards.

■ The last time U of L topped 600 yards came in 2007, when it gained 628 against Syracuse.


Eastern Ky. at Louisville

When: Noon


Ohio 0 0 7 0 — 7

Louisville 14 14 14 7 — 49

First quarter: Lou—Copeland 34 pass from Bridgewater (Wallace kick), 11:13. Lou—Copeland 19 pass from Bridgewater (Wallace kick), 6:55. Second quarter: Lou—Parker 27 pass from Bridgewater (Wallace kick), 13:32. Lou—De La Cruz 40 pass from Bridgewater (Wallace kick), 3:44. Third quarter: Lou—Dyer 46 run (Wallace kick), 10:25. Lou—R.Clark 25 pass from Bridgewater (Wallace kick), 6:28. Ohio—Boykin 10 run (Green kick), :00. Fourth quarter: Lou—De La Cruz 30 pass from Gardner (Nakatani kick), 12:11.


Ohio Lou

First downs 13 25

Rushes-yards 28-81 40-199

Passing 192 416

Comp-att-int 15-31-1 25-31-1

Return yards 10 31

Punts-avg. 6-34.2 2-47.5

Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-0

Penalties-yards 2-10 11-90

Time of possession 22:44 37:16


RUSHING—Ohio, Boykin 7-39, Blankenship 12-22, Edmond 3-20, Patterson 4-2, Vick 2-(minus 2). Louisville, Perry 13-58, Dyer 4-48, Do.Brown 7-40, Radcliff 6-34, Lamb 4-13, R.Clark 1-5, Butler 1-3, Bridgewater 2-1, Gardner 1-(minus 1), Harris 1-(minus 2).

PASSING—Ohio, Tettleton 11-23-0-140, Vick 4-8-1-52. Louisville, Bridgewater 23-28-1-355, Gardner 2-3-0-61.

RECEIVING—Ohio, Cochran 3-48, Waters 3-20, Foster 2-56, Patterson 2-22, Blankenship 2-7, Talbert 1-36, Reid 1-5, S.Smith 1-(minus 2). Louisville, Copeland 6-98, De La Cruz 4-116, Parker 4-73, R.Clark 4-43, E.Rogers 3-64, Christian 2-11, Perry 1-9, Dyer 1-2.

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.

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