LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- No. 8 Louisville, having been admonished all week by coach Charlie Strong to avoid a letdown, sputtered at times but had enough of a talent edge to dispatch Eastern Kentucky 44-7 Saturday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Taking advantage of two EKU turnovers in the second quarter, the Cardinals (2-0) led 27-0 at the half.
Eastern Kentucky (1-1), an FCS school, had just 76 yards of offense in the first half -- 52 rushing and 24 passing. The Colonels never advanced beyond Louisville's 38-yard line, and their most productive plays were 38- and 34-yard kickoff returns.
Louisville led 37-0 before EKU mounted its lone drive of the game, an 87-yarder that resulted in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Jared McClain to Devin Borders with 12:45 left in the fourth quarter. At that point, EKU had just eight first downs and 172 yards of offense.
Louisville junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, finished 23 of 32 for 397 yards with four touchdowns. His scoring passes covered eight yards to Damian Copeland, 19 and 42 yards to DeVante Parker and 11 yards to Gerald Christian.
Parker, a junior who is on the Fred Biletnikoff Award watch list, caught five passes for a team-leading 134 yards. He has 19 career TD receptions, third all-time at Louisville. His first TD came on a leaping grab in the corner of the end zone, and his second score came on a pass he caught over the middle at the 20 and ran into the end zone untouched. He also had an over-the-shoulder 54-yard grab in the third quarter that led to a field goal.
Strong couldn't have been satisfied by his running game, however. The Cards managed just 78 yards on 28 carries. Senior Senorise Perry was the team leader with 36 yards on 13 carries.
NOTES: Louisville finished with 397 offensive yards and was 7 of 13 on third-down conversions. ... Eastern Kentucky finished with 206 offensive yards and was 5 of 13 on third-down conversions. ... Louisville will play at archrival Kentucky next Saturday. ... Eastern Kentucky will return to its own division and play host to Coastal Carolina next Saturday.