Cards bounce back big, roll over South Florida 34-3
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- If there were lingering effects from last week's loss to Central Florida, the University of Louisville didn't show them in a 34-3 rout of South Florida on Saturday afternoon.
The Cardinals drove 90 yards on nine plays in their first possession of the game, and never trailed against a South Florida team that now has gone 12 quarters without scoring an offensive touchdown.
U of L continued to punch in red-zone chances, settling for a pair of field goals after driving 70 yards or more, but Teddy Bridgewater was sharp and Dominique Brown ran for 125 yards while the defense held USF to just 135 total yards.
"You have to be pleased with the way we responded (to the Central Florida loss)," U of L coach Charlie Strong said. "It was good to see Dominique run the ball so well and go over 100 yards and the defense to play so well."
Bridgewater hit 11 different receivers, completing 25 of 29 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. He led scoring drives of 90, 73, 80, 82 and 81 yards. The Cardinals dominated time of possession 41:43 to 17:47 and had no turnovers.
Brown not only averaged 6.9 yards per carry but also led the Cards with six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown.
"He's running hard and he's got big hands, so you trust him running, throwing and in the protection schemes," Strong said of Brown during his Nelligan Sports post-game coaches' show. "We're always going to ride the guy who's got the hot hand, and he made some really key runs."
Defensively, the Cards got a score late on a 70-yard interception return by Charles Gaines.
USF's sputtering offense was outgained 240 yards to 25 in the first half. Without two 15-yard penalties on Louisville for not allowing enough room to field a punt and roughing the passer, the Bulls wouldn't have come close to scoring up to that point. The offense accounted for minus 2 yards on the 13-yard drive that positioned Marvin Kloss for a 50-yard field goal.
The Bulls don't have an offensive touchdown since the closing seconds of a lopsided loss to Miami on Sept. 28. Nevertheless, they won their first two conference games, scoring on fumble and blocked field goal returns to beat Cincinnati and running back another fumble for TD in a three-point win over Connecticut.
In all, it was a successful return from an unexpected loss that knocked U of L from the ranks of the unbeaten last week.
"You have to bounce back, you can't let one loss beat you twice," Strong said. "This is a veteran team now. We learned that lesson."
Copyright 2013 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.