September 13, 2020

Louisville’s Cardinals hold off WKU in season opener

Sep 12, 2020; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Micale Cunningham (3) throws from the pocket at Cardinal Stadium. Jamie Rhodes-ACC Pool

By John McCarthy–

The University of Louisville Cardinals football team defeated the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers 35-21 at Cardinal Stadium in the first game of the season.

WKU put points on the board first with a rushing touchdown at the Cardinals’ goal line to go up 7-0. U of L struck right back with a pass from junior Micale Cunningham to Ean Pfeifer for a 28-yard touch pass to put the score at 7-7. At the end of the first quarter, Cunningham had completed 6 of his 11 passes and threw for 181 yards. Sophomore wide receiver Braden Smith had two receptions for 111 yards.

The Cardinals picked up where they left off in the second quarter. Cunningham rushed in for a 14-yard touchdown only six seconds into the second quarter to put the score at 14-7. Five minutes later, sophomore running back Javian Hawkins rushed in for a 19-yard touchdown to put U of L up 21-7 over the Hilltoppers.

Near the end of the second quarter, Cunningham completed a pass to sophomore Marshon Ford for the touchdown with only 42 seconds left in the half. Louisville was in the driver seat going into half time with a score of 28-7. WKU was scoreless in the second quarter.

Western Kentucky bounced back in the third quarter after a one-yard rushing touchdown to cut the deficit to 14 points. The Cardinals fired back with a 70-yard completion from Cunningham to senior wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick for a touchdown. Louisville led Western Kentucky 35-14 going into the final quarter of play.

Louisville’s defense held up in the fourth quarter only allowing a 12-yard touchdown pass for the Hilltoppers. U of L ended up coming away with a two-touchdown lead to secure the victory 35-21.

Cunningham threw for 343 yards and gathered three touchdowns. Junior running back Hassan Hall ran for 66 yards on six carries. Fitzpatrick and Smith both grabbed four catches for 110 yards apiece. Junior wide receiver Tutu Atwell totaled 78 yards on seven catches.

The Cardinals will begin ACC conference play next week when they take on the University of Miami Hurricanes Sept.19. The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Cardinal Stadium. Louisville will look to avenge their loss from last season when they visited the Hurricanes in Coral Gables, Fla.

Photo Courtesy of ACC Media 

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