(Photo courtesy of ACC)
Louisville football took down in-state rival Western Kentucky in the season opener, 35-21.
Micale Cunningham powered the way with four total touchdowns while passing for 343 yards. His passing touchdowns came from 28 yards, 2 yards, and 70 yards while also scrambling 14 yards for a score.
The Cards were backed into the shadow of their own goalpost on the opening drive. The punt was mishandled and Western Kentucky recovered the ball on the goal line. They were quick to score and take the early lead.
Louisville bounced back less than two minutes later following a couple passes by Cunningham that ended with a 28-yard pass to tight end Evan Pfeifer.
The first play of the second quarter was a 14 yard run by the junior quarterback to give Louisville a lead it would not surrender.
Javian Hawkins would get his first score of the season on the next possession. After a seven play drive, the sophomore running back would race past defenders 19 yards to the end zone.
Less than a minute before halftime, the Cards were on the board again to blow the game open. Cunningham found tight end Marshon Ford for a 2-yard pass to go into halftime with a 28-7 lead.
WKU would cut into the lead on a 1-yard run in the middle of the second quarter. It was a two-play, four-yard drive that lasted half a minute.
Dez Fitzpatrick would sandwich himself between a pair of defenders to haul in a pass from Cunningham before outracing the field for a 70-yard score.
With 5:40 remaining in the game, the Hilltoppers would dig into the lead on a 12-yard pass.
Controversy ensued when an onside kick was touched prematurely by the WKU kickoff team. Louisville would obtain possession and not surrender the ball the remainder of the game.
Louisville had a rather quiet night on the ground and struggled to get going with the rushing game until the second quarter. They would finish with 144 yards on the ground, beating out Western Kentucky's 119 rushing yards.
The Louisville defense shut down Western Kentucky's passing game, a big part of why WKU never managed a rally, and limited them to 129 passing yards. The Cards finished with 343 passing yards on 19-34 passing.
Louisville's biggest challenge was adjusting to new faces on special teams. The Cards fumbled a punt and had a punt blocked, both that lead to Western Kentucky scores.
Miami will come to town next weekend on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. The match-up between the Cards and Hurricanes will be the featured game on College GamdeDay.