LOUISVILLE -- Finally, Louisville got to enjoy a blowout.
Sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw a career-high five touchdown passes on Saturday as the 10th-ranked Cardinals went to 9-0 for the first time in school history with a 45-17 Big East Conference rout of Temple.
Bridgewater completed 19-of-28 passes for 324 yards, hitting Andrell Smith on scoring strikes of 14 and nine yards. He also connected with Eli Rogers from 15 yards, found tight end Ryan Hubbell on a 72-yard catch-and-run touchdown, and threw a 25-yard dart over the middle to DeVante Parker.
It was only the second double-digit victory for Louisville since a 35-7 decision over FCS opponent Missouri State on Sept. 8.
Many have questioned the Cardinals for needing to go down to the wire to secure victories against opponents such as winless Southern Miss (0-8), Florida International (1-8) and South Florida (2-6).
That wasn't necessary this time, even though Louisville trailed after the game's first play when Matt Brown returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, eliciting a round of booing from the crowd of 44,609 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
The Owls (3-5, 2-3) gave the Cards trouble for nearly a half with their spread-option ground attack, getting 115 yards and a touchdown in 15 rushes from Boston College transfer Montel Harris.
But turnover-prone quarterback Chris Coyer lost three fumbles and Louisville cashed them in for 17 points.
Jeremy Wright's three-yard scoring run with 8:15 left in the first half gave the Cardinals the lead for good, 24-17.
Bridgewater then led a 90-yard touchdown drive, one of five scoring marches of 68 yards or longer, that culminated in his 14-yard pass to Smith which made it 31-17 at halftime.
Wright added 100 yards on 10 rushes for Louisville, which tied Rutgers for first place in the Big East at 4-0. The teams are scheduled to meet in the regular season finale Nov. 29 in New Jersey, likely with a Bowl Championship Series berth at stake.
NOTES: Although the teams haven't met since 2006, both coaches were familiar with each other. Temple's Steve Addazio and Louisville's Charlie Strong were part of two national champions as Florida assistants from 2005-09. ... Teddy Bridgewater is the first Louisville quarterback to throw for five touchdowns passes in a game since Brian Brohm did it in 2007 against Middle Tennessee State. ... Temple, which moved from the Mid-American Conference to the Big East before this season, must win three of its last four games to become bowl-eligible. It reached an agreement in principle on Friday to play a Dec. 7 game at Hawaii, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.