LOUISVILLE — Oh, yeah.
Louisville appears to be for real.
The 25th-ranked Cardinals hit on all cylinders Saturday, scoring on nine consecutive possessions en route to a 66-21 victory over Murray State.
Bobby Petrino, in his second go-round as the U of L coach, is now 24-1 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in his five seasons here. Saturday marked the 17th time his Cards have put up 40 or more points in a game.
Saturday's gaudy numbers included 603 yards of offense to Murray's 292, and a 325-41 difference in rush yards. The Cardinals ran 88 plays and picked up 31 first downs.
Starting quarterback Will Gardner completed 13 of 22 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Backup Reggie Bonnafon hit on eight of 11 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, and also accounted for two of U of L's six rushing touchdowns.
L.J. Scott led the U of L ground game with 126 yards on 11 first-half carries, with one touchdown. Brandon Radcliff added 97 yards and two TDs on 15 carries.
Dominique Brown practically had a night off, toting the ball five times for 40 yards and a score.
The win came on a quick turnaround, as U of L opened its season Monday with a 31-13 victory over Miami (Fla.).
"These games are sometimes hard to play, especially coming off a game like Miami where we had so much time to prepare and it was so intense," Petrino said. "But we showed maturity and did a nice job of preparing for it, and they came out and executed well."
The Cards didn't need much time to get in gear.
After a three-and-out opening possession, U of L scored on its next seven chances to blow out to a 45-7 halftime lead.
"He really understood what we were asking him to do," Petrino said of Gardner.
Bonnafon, a freshman, went 3-for-4 for 53 yards and a score in the half, and also ran in for another touchdown.
"It was good to get him in," Petrino said, adding he opted earlier in the week not to redshirt Bonnafon. "We made the decision that we're going to need him. It's a long season."
Scott and Brown also ran for first-half TDs.
A blocked punt set up the Cards' first touchdown, which came on a 12-yard pass from Gardner to Kai De La Cruz.
Charles Gaines' sixth career interception set up a second quick score, a 2-yard run by Brown.
Murray (1-1) showed a glimmer of hope when C.J. Bennett found Janawski Davis for a 57-yard catch-and-run touchdown, but it was all Cards from there.
Scott's 1-yard touchdown made it 21-7 for Louisville through one quarter.
Two plays into the second quarter, Gardner flipped a 1-yard touchdown pass to Gerald Christian.
Bonnafon came on to score on an 8-yard run, then threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Michalee Harris on a third-and-15 play.
Louisville's final points of the half came on John Wallace's 45-yard field goal.
Lorenzo Mauldin, Terell Floyd and James Burgess led the Cards' hard-hitting defense with four first-half tackles each.
"They played really well," Petrino said of his defenders. "They play extremely fast. They understood what the game plan was."
Second half, U of L picked up where it left off.
Bonnafon drove the Cardinals 89 yards in 10 plays, capping things with a 16-yard TD scamper that made it 52-7.
Radcliff's 7-yard touchdown run made it nine consecutive possessions with a score and gave Louisville a 59-7 lead with 3:59 left in the third quarter. That put the U of L offensive totals at 245 yards rushing, 245 passing.
Murray got some consolation on a 9-yard scoring pass from K.D. Humphries to Davis with 2:13 left in the third, and a 16-yarder from Humphries to Jeremy Harness with 13:23 left in the game.
Radcliff scored his second and Louisville's sixth rushing TD of the game on a 5-yard scamper with 7:23 left to make it 66-21.