|Louisville coach Charlie Strong led his team to an easy 32-14 win over rival Kentucky Sunday. (AP Images)|
Big East Coach of the Week: Charlie Strong, Louisville
In Louisville's opener against arch-rival Kentucky Sunday, the Cardinals forced a punt in their first defensive possession. After recovering the botched return on their own half-yard line, sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and his young offense faced a third-and-long from their own end zone. Bridgewater subsequently threw a strike to wide receiver Damian Copeland, and the Cardinals never looked back, winning easily.
The Louisville offense was a model of efficiency Sunday, something rarely seen in an opener -- much less a rivalry game. Of course Kentucky's defense can't be described as necessarily good -- at all -- but there is still something to be said for an offensive unit that scores on its first three possessions of the season, going 99 yards, 85 yards and 93 yards. It doesn't matter who the opponent is, that's an offense that was well prepared.
"We were able to take the ball in the first four possessions and score three touchdowns," Strong said Sunday. "It was just amazing to see how we just clicked on offense."
Bridgewater certainly helped, going 19 of 21 for 232 yards in just over 2 1/2 quarters. Strong replaced Bridgewater with senior Will Stein late in the third quarter, a decision he explained after the game.
“A year ago at this time Stein was the starter and Stein deserves to play," Strong said. "We got ahead there (32-7) and I said I wanted Stein to go out there and direct the offense. Teddy was not injured, I just wanted Stein to play.”
So after leading a super-efficient offense and opportunistic defense to a win in the opener, Strong has the Cardinals looking to reach the potential many had predicted. It's BCS or bust for Louisville in 2012, and the Cardinals looked the part in Week 1.
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