LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Judging from the preseason Associated Press poll, Ohio University was the most highly regarded opponent that will visit Papa John's Cardinal Stadium this season.
No, really. The No. 9 ranked University of Louisville football team lived up to its billing, rolling to a 49-7 victory before a Papa John's Cardinal Stadium crowd of 55,332, the second-largest in stadium history.
Some quick highlights after the final horn:
TEDDY TERRIFIC GETS OFF TO A HOT START
Teddy Bridgewater completed his first nine passes and never really looked back against an Ohio secondary that never really posed much of a challenge.
Bridgewater wasn't throwing into windows so much as he was throwing into glass buildings. He played only three quarters, completing 23 of 28 passes for 355 yards and five touchdowns, with scouts from the Colts, Bills, Panthers (2), Giants, Eagles, Cardinals (2), Raiders, Falcons, Saints and 49ers in attendance.
His four first-half touchdown throws marked the first time a U of L quarterback had thrown four in a half since Dave Ragone did it in 2002.
National reaction? There was a bit. "Tank for Teddy" trended for a short time on Twitter. ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd Tweeted, "Bridgewater > Clowney if I'm an NFL GM. Not close. Said it a week ago. Gap widening." His colleague at ESPN, Jemelle Hill, said, "Covered some of Teddy Bridgewater's games last year. You won't find a more astute quarterback in college football. He is the REAL DEAL."
When asked how Bridgewater is better than Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, she Tweeted, "Better accuracy. Polished. Controls a lot of his calls. Mastered dummy signals."
COPELAND HAS CAREER DAY -- QUICKLY
Senior wideout Damian Copeland caught two touchdown passes in the game's first 12 minutes. That matched his career total. He finished the day with 6 catches for 98 yards and his two early TDs put U of L up 14-0 to open the game.
Kai De La Cruz may not be a name Cardinal fans recognize. Last season he went by Kai Dominguez. They'll remember after his 4-catch performance on Sunday. He finished with a team-high 116 yards and two touchdowns himself.
DYER STARTS IMPRESSIVELY
Transfer running back Michael Dyer carried for two yards on his first run of the game in the third quarter. Then he broke his second run 46 yards for a touchdown to open U of L's second half scoring.
Dyer ran behind fullback Griffin Uhl and offensive lineman Ryan Mack over the left side, then couldn't be touched once he got into the secondary.
He carried four times in the game for 48 yards. Charlie Strong and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson spread the ball around among its running backs. Senorise Perry started the game and his 13 carries were a team-high. He ran for 58 yards. Dominique Brown carried seven times for 40 yards.
FIRST-TEAM DEFENSE IS STINGY
In the first quarter, U of L outgained Ohio 191 yards to 11, and had 10 first downs to none for the Bobcats.
Leading the way on defense were outside linebacker James Burgess, who finished with eight tackles and middle linebacker Preston Brown, who finished with nine. Safety Hakeem Smith came up with an interception.
U of L didn't give up a point until the final play of the third quarter, after Ohio drove 58 yards in five plays against the No. 2 defense.
GARDNER SHOWS OFF HIS ARM IN RELIEF
Will Gardner, a redshirt freshman quarterback, checked into his first college game after Bridgewater left, and though most of his day was spent handing the ball off, he did get to throw a couple of times on his first series.
His first pass was right on the money to James Quick, who dropped it. He then hit De La Cruz down the field on third down for a 30-yard gain, and followed that up by rolling to his right and finding De La Cruz for a 31 yard touchdown pass.
BIG CROWD AWAITS KICKOFF
Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford asked on media day to have 50,000 people in their seats at kickoff. He might not have had that Sunday, but it wasn't far off.
Next up for the Cards, Eastern Kentucky visits Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Saturday for a noon kickoff.