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Louisville routs winless UConn

The SportsXchange

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. -- The final statistics might not have been up to Louisville standards and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater didn't take full advantage of the national stage he had Friday night to improve his Heisman chances.

But the 20th-ranked Cardinals certainly weren't apologizing as they headed home with a 31-10 victory over Connecticut.

"It wasn't very clean but we came away with a win though," Louisville coach Charlie Strong said. "There were just too many penalties, we didn't play smart and dropped too many balls offensively. ... We just have to play better, we have to play smart and we have to play disciplined. When we do that, we will be able to put a complete game together, which we didn't do today."

The Cardinals (8-1, 4-1 American Athletic Conference) blocked a punt for a first-quarter touchdown and scored the only points of the third quarter when cornerback Terell Floyd intercepted UConn's Tim Boyle and sprinted 17 yards into the end zone.

Louisville, averaging more than 39 points a game, scored only two offensive touchdowns. But the victory over UConn (0-8, 0-4) allowed the Cardinals to avenge a costly 23-20 triple-overtime loss to the Huskies last season in Louisville.

"We had almost 400 yards total offense (369) and some teams dream about having 400 yards," said Bridgewater, who completed 21 of 37 passes and had one interception. "We know we can get better. We left a couple plays and yards out there, but that's something that can be fixed and we will fix it."

Bridgewater didn't get much help from a receiving corps that dropped numerous passes on a cold and windy night. After completing two of his first five attempts, the junior from Miami, Fla., connected on nine of his next 13 and passed for 157 yards in the first half.

"We had drops but that's a part of the game," Bridgewater said. "You've just got to flush it and not let it carry on to the next play.

"(Helping my Heisman chances) wasn't my intention at all. The primary goal is to get a W. We're just happy to get the job done tonight."

Louisville entered the game ranked second in the nation in rushing defense, yielding just 80.5 yards per game. UConn rushed for 74 yards in the first half but managed just a field goal and trailed 21-3 at halftime. The Huskies lost four yards rushing in the second and third quarters, managed just 29 yards offense in those two quarters, and had only two first downs after picking up eight in the first quarter.

Boyle completed 14 of 29 passes for 113 yards and one interception. Reserve quarterback Casey Cochran threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Kamal Abrams with 35 seconds left in the game.

"It's frustrating," said UConn receiver Geremy Davis, who caught six passes for 76 yards. "We work so hard. To come out and lose, that's not the plan. It's just something we've got to overcome. They are good but we had things we messed up on."

UConn had a season-high five turnovers.

"The only chance we have is to not beat ourselves," UConn interim head coach T.J. Weist said. "We turned the ball over, gave them early points on the punt and gave them momentum on offense and defense. We didn't have a chance. It's as simple as that."

The Cardinals opened the scoring with a special-teams touchdown. Punting on fourth-and-4, UConn got a low snap from Adam Mueller and Louisville running back Brandon Radcliff blocked the punt attempt by punter Cole Wagner. Cornerback Charles Gaines scooped up the ball and ran it into the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown return with 6:23 left in the first quarter.

The Huskies responded with a 14-play, 57-yard drive that ended on a 35-yard field goal by kicker Chad Christen six seconds into the second quarter. But a 28-yard touchdown pass from Bridgewater to wide-open receiver DeVante Parker with 10:12 left before halftime extended the lead to 14-3. Bridgewater was 4-for-4 passing on the seven-play, 64-yard TD drive that took 4:42 off the clock.

Halfback Senorise Perry added a 5-yard touchdown run with 2:18 left in the second quarter to give Louisville a 21-3 lead.

NOTES: Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 21. And after the 28-yard TD pass to DeVante Parker in the second quarter, Bridgewater needs just seven more touchdown passes to break the school record of 30 in one season set by Brian Brohm in 2007. ... Louisville last lost on the road on Nov. 10, 2012, a 45-26 setback at Syracuse. ... The game was played before 27,104, the smallest attendance in the 10-year history of Rentschler Field.
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