By Michelle Lewis
The Cardinals had one of their most dominating performances to date during a 72-0 win over Florida
International on Sept. 21. It really wasn’t as close as it looked. Had they wanted to, the Cards could have
easily put up 100 points on the Panthers. It was Louisville’s most complete game to date.
“It was a great team win today and you look at it as we were just clearly a better football team than FIU,” Coach
Charlie Strong said in his post game press conference. “You think about how far our program has come in just two
years. Two years ago they came in here and beat us and then last year it was a seven point win.”
A sore spot for the Cards over the last few seasons has been special teams. The coaches as well as the fans had
expressed frustration in the kickoff and punt coverage as well as the kick returns. Against FIU however, Louisville
not only improved on coverage holding the Panthers to a total of 19 return yards but also on kick returns. The
Card’s had a total of 141 yards on returns including a 93 yard kickoff return by corner back Charles Gaines. Going
into the game The Cards were ranked 39th nationally for punt returns and 113th for kickoff returns.
On offense, Teddy Bridgewater, once again carved up the opponents’s defense. He threw for 254 yards and
four touchdowns with no interceptions including a 40 yard pass to wide receiver Devante Parker setting up a
touchdown pass to Parker seconds later. That sent the teams to the locker room with the Cards up 31-0 at half
The second half started off with Gaines returning the kickoff for a touchdown and from there the train just kept
During the second half fans saw more of the same dominance as the first half and when the backups took over
late in the third quarter the domination continued. Back up quarter back Will Gardner threw passes to four
different receivers including a touchdown pass to wide out Michaelee Harris. This was Harris’s first touchdown
after sitting out the 2012 season due to injury.
The tone for the game was set by the defense who had “challenged ourselves to get a shutout” according to
defensive end Marcus Smith. They not only got the shutout, they did so in what may be the single most dominating
performance in Louisville football to date. The defense held the Panthers to 30 yards of total offense for the game.
Leading the Cardinal defense was defensive tackle, Roy Philon, who had five tackles including three tackles for
loss and defensive end Marcus Smith who had three tackles including two sacks, which sent FIU backwards 25
Defensive end, Lorenzo Mauldin, and defensive tackles, Sheldon Rankins, each had a sack and were flying all over
the field imposing their will on FIU’s offense.
After a shaky start to their Fri. walk through Strong had challenged the team to play to their potential.
“That’s not the expectations around here anymore. We have raised the bar,” Strong said. They responded quite
well turning in one of their most complete games in Strong’s tenure.
The Cards have their bye week next and get a chance to rest their legs and indulge a bit.
“I’m going to get a lot of treatment, rest, and maybe eat a fast food cheeseburger,” senior defensive tackle
Brandon Dunn. When asked where he’d be getting the burger Dunn laughed and said, “I don’t know. Probably
Rally’s. Got to support Coach Strong you know.”
The Cards will return to action Oct. 5 when they open American Athletic Conference play with a road
game at Temple. They’ll return home to face Rutgers on Oct. 10 in a nationally televised Thurs. night
Photo Courtesy of Jessica Knebel