LOUISVILLE — New season.
New coach (sort of).
Same old success for the University of Louisville.
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The Cardinals pulled away to a 31-13 victory over Miami on Monday night, in front of a Papa John's Cardinal Stadium record crowd of 55,428.
The game marked the debut Louisville in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as well as Bobby Petrino in his second stint as head coach of the Cardinals. Petrino also led U of L from 2003-06, going 41-9.
Miami and Louisville also met to close last season, the Cardinals taking a 36-9 victory in the Russell Athletic Bowl. That polished off a 12-1 season for U of L.
This game was designated a "black out" as U of L fans donned black and the Cards played in black helmets and uniforms.
Will Gardner completed 20 of 28 passes for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Dominique Brown rushed 33 times for 143 yards and a score.
Louisville led 14-10 at halftime.
The Cards' first possession of the third quarter lasted only one unsuccessful play.
Quarterback Gardner was stripped by Thurston Armbrister, and Raphael Kirby recovered for the Canes on the U of L 8-yard line.
That led to a 24-yard field goal by Matt Goudis, making it a 14-13 game.
After an exchange of punts, Louisville pushed its cushion to 21-13.
Brown got the touchdown on a 15-yard waltz off left tackle, capping a six-play drive of 51 yards.
Gardner went 3-for-3 on the drive, good for 32 yards. Brown, who racked up his third career 100-yard rushing effort, carried three times for 19 yards.
A James Sample interception at midfield led to a U of L field goal of 28 yards by John Wallace, upping the lead to 24-13 with 13:11 left.
Miami's last gasp to make it a game to the wire ended when the Canes turned the ball over on downs at the U of L 33 with 9:30 left.
The Cards, in turn, stuffed the ball down Miami's throat to ice the contest.
Using all but the last 1:43, U of L drove 67 yards in 14 plays to a clinching score.
The TD, on third-and-two, came on a 10-yard pass from Gardner to Gerald Christian.
The Cardinals opened the scoring with 6:39 left in the first quarter. A 2-yard touchdown toss from Gardner to freshman Charles Standberry, plus the PAT, made it 7-0 and capped a 12-play, 93-yard drive.
Gardner, a redshirt sophomore making his first start, went 5-for-5, good for 50 yards, on the drive. Brown carried seven times for 43 yards.
Miami tied the score on the second play of the second quarter, a 2-yard touchdown pass from true freshman Brad Kaaya to Clive Walford. The Hurricanes covered 38 yards in six plays, including a fourth-down conversion.
On the ensuing kickoff, an illegal block in the back moved U of L to its 10-yard line.
Next play, Gardner fumbled the ball away to Armbrister.
On Miami's next play, though, an incomplete backwards pass was nabbed by U of L's Keith Kelsey, who returned the ball 87 yards to the opposite end zone. However, officials ruled the play dead, calling it an incomplete pass.
Upon review, Louisville got the ball, but not the touchdown. Replays also appeared to show that U of L may have had too many players on the field.
Louisville's next drive didn't net any points, but Petrino came up successful on a gutsy fourth-and-inches call from his own 22-yard line. Brown carried for 6 yards and a first down.
Miami went ahead 10-7 on a Goudis field goal of 24 yards with 4:51 left in the half. The Canes' drive covered nine plays and 88 yards.
The lead didn't last long.
Louisville's Corvin Lamb fielded the kickoff and burst up the middle for a 97-yard touchdown, helping the Cards to their 14-10 halftime lead.
■ Petrino improved to 10-0 in season openers as a head coach. ... Louisville running back Michael Dyer (quadriceps contusion) did not suit up for the game. ... The Cards were missing another key offensive weapon in wide receiver DeVante Parker. He's expected to miss six-to-eight weeks due to a broken toe.