Louisville 72, Florida International 0

Rick Cushing, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Teddy Bridgewater threw four touchdown passes and Louisville's defense was stifling as the seventh-ranked Cardinals routed Florida International, 72-0, on Saturday in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
Bridgewater completed 17-of-22 passes for 212 yards, with touchdown passes of three and six yards to wide receiver DeVante Parker, nine yards to tight end Gerald Christian and 34 yards to wide receiver Eli Rogers.
Bridgewater played only three quarters as the Cardinals, who were favored by 42 points, improved to 4-0.
Just as much of a story was the defense, which held Florida International (0-4) to 30 yards total offense and only two first downs, one in each half.
The Panthers had seven possessions in the first half, with six of them going three and out. They punted on fourth and 11 twice, fourth and 14, fourth and 16, fourth and 10, fourth and 5 and fourth and 2.
Punter Chris Ayers was busy, with seven punts in the first half and in 11 all.
It was 38-0 at halftime, and the second half was played with a running clock at the request of Florida International coach Ron Turner.
That made the game shorter but didn't do much to hold the score down.
Louisville's Charles Gaines returned the second-half kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, going up the left sideline untouched.
The score was 58-0 after three quarters, and an 11-yard touchdown pass from Will Gardner to Michaelee Harris midway through the fourth quarter made it 65-0.
On the Cardinals' final possession, they ran the ball on every play and still moved 45 yards to a touchdown on a nine-yard run by freshman Brandon Radcliff with 2:49 remaining.
The Cardinals rushed for 210 yards and passed for 254. They didn't roll up a huge amount of total yards because many of their drives were short ones as a result of their defense keeping Florida International bottled up, followed by a short punt.
Ayers averaged 32.3 yards on his 11 punts.
In between Bridgewater's touchdown passes, Louisville's three-headed monster at running back each scored a rushing touchdown.
Senorise Perry ran 26 yards, Dominique Brown one yard and Michael Dyer three yards for scores.
Brown's touchdown came one play after he galloped 77 yards down to the one, and he was Louisville's leading rusher with 78 yards on only three carries.
Perry rushed seven times for 51 yards, Radcliff eight times for 47 and Dyer eight times for 33.
Parker, who has caught at least one touchdown pass in 10 consecutive games, had six receptions for 74 yards.
Quarterback E. J. Hilliard of Florida International, who was Bridgewater's backup at Miami Northwestern High School, was 4-of-9 for 27 yards.
Hilliard was sacked four times for minus-33 yards.
Florida International's leading rusher was freshman Alfonso Randolph, with 13 yards on eight carries. Ya'Kee Griner had one catch for 13 yards.
John Wallace added a 26-yard field goal for the Cardinals.
NOTES: Louisville had a 20-year reunion of its 1993 Liberty Bowl champion team. The Cards were 9-3 that season, including victories over Texas, Pitt, Arizona State and Michigan State, 18-7, in the Liberty Bowl. The Howard Schnellenberger-coached team included longtime NFL players Roman Oden, Sam Madison and Joe Johnson. ... Louisville and Florida International have byes next week, with the Cardinals returning Oct. 5 to play at Temple in their AAC opener, and the Panthers returning Oct. 5 to open C-USA play at Southern Mississippi.