|Louisville's defense forced three straight stops as the Cardinals pulled away in the third quarter. (US Presswire)|
LOUISVILLE WON. The Cardinals scored three straight touchdowns to open the second half, and pulled away late thanks to 101 yards rushing and four touchdowns from Senorise Perry.
Pittsburgh and Louisville both were efficient offensively, and neither team turned the ball over. But the game was not particularly memorable for the defensive performances either, with the exception of a couple big stops for Louisville in the third quarter.
Those three scoring drives were sandwiched around two straight three-and-outs and a turnover on downs for Pittsburgh, arguably its worst offensive stretch of the game. But the ill-timed struggles -- or well-timed push from Louisville's defense, depending on your point of view -- gave Louisville the space it needed to control the pace of the game in the fourth quarter.
HOW LOUISVILLE WON: Most Big East conference games do not feature 80 points and 840 yards of combined offense, but the Cardinals have an advantage in a shootout thanks to Teddy Bridgewater. Beyond the 304 yards passing, which included a 75-yard touchdown pass to open the third quarter, Bridgewater looked comfortable again as the director of the Cardinals' offense. The sophomore quarterback once again spread the ball around, with nine different receivers for his 17 completions. Shawn Watson's multiple-look attack keeps defenses off-balance, and Bridgewater was spot-on with most of his reads and decisions.
WHEN LOUISVILLE WON: A 12-play drive that ate up 4:31 of fourth quarter time resulted in zero points, when Paul Chryst elected to go for on fourth down at the Louisville 22-yard line. The Panthers had reversed some of the momentum from that explosive third quarter by opening the fourth with a touchdown. Sunseri's pass to Cam Saddler fell incomplete, and the Cardinals took over with the opportunity to burn clock. What actually happened was Perry's fourth touchdown of the day, really putting the game away.
WHAT LOUISVILLE WON: The Cardinals are 6-0, bowl eligible for the third straight year under Charlie Strong, and off to their best start in six years. The wins have not always been pretty, but Louisville keeps winning. And there looks to be little room for error in the Big East title hunt.
WHAT PITTSBURGH LOST: Even though this was definitely an improved effort from the Panthers, it still resulted in their third Big East loss. The 2-4 record with Notre Dame and Rutgers left on the schedule is making the possibilities of a postseason less likely, but Pitt is not out of it yet. It will have a chance to get a much-needed win next week at Buffalo.
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