Florida International at Louisville

Bridgewater (4 TDs), No. 7 Louisville too much for FIU

CBSSports.com wire reports

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- This was one dominant performance, and Teddy Bridgewater and No. 7 Louisville think they can perform even better.

It's definitely a nice problem to have heading into conference action.

Bridgewater threw four touchdown passes and Louisville's defense allowed a school-record 30 yards during a 72-0 wipeout of Florida International on Saturday.

It was the highest-scoring game for the Cardinals (4-0) since a 73-10 victory over Murray State in 2007. They matched the school's fifth-largest margin of victory while recording their first shutout since a 26-0 win over Connecticut in 2010.

Asked afterward if the Cardinals' victory was the most complete effort he has seen, Bridgewater said: "As a team, yes. But we feel we have a little way to go and continue to get better each and every day.

"We'll take this win and build off that."

Bridgewater hit DeVante Parker for two TD passes and Gerald Christian and Eli Rogers for one apiece before Will Gardner came on and passed to Michaelee Harris for another score in the fourth quarter. Dominique Brown, Senorise Perry, Michael Dyer and Brandon Radcliff rushed for TDs.

Charles Gaines returned the second-half kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, and recovered a muffed punt to set up Bridgewater's second TD pass in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, Louisville's defense didn't allow a first down until early in the second quarter and just two overall, also a program record. FIU converted just 1 of 13 third-down chances.

Louisville coach Charlie Strong believes that kind of effort will eventually result in perfection.

"We try to reach that level and we're going to get there," Strong said. "The way you practice, you feel like that (being perfect). ... I tell players all the time just try to give your best, that's all we're looking for each and every down."

Bridgewater had 212 yards on 17-of-22 passing, part of Louisville's 464-yard effort against winless FIU (0-4). It was another efficient performance for the junior quarterback.

A week after tossing just one touchdown pass against in-state rival Kentucky, Bridgewater threw for three scores by halftime and added another in the third quarter.

That got the Cardinals rolling toward the offensive performance they wanted in their final game before traveling to Temple for their American Athletic Conference opener on Oct. 5.

"It was just a great overall performance in all three phases of the game," Bridgewater said. "We just went out today and competed and played a complete game."

It was a much different outcome than the previous two games in the series. The schools had split two prior meetings, with each earning seven-point road wins. Louisville won 28-21 in Miami last year.

The Cardinals were 42-point favorites for this one, with overwhelming advantages in every statistical category. And it went as expected.

Four of Louisville's eight first-half possessions began at midfield or in Panthers territory. The Cardinals converted three of those chances into a 17-0 lead.

Bridgewater hit Parker for a 3-yard touchdown pass that was initially ruled incomplete. The call was reversed after a video review showed the receiver got his right foot down in the end zone while making his second acrobatic TD catch in as many weeks.

John Wallace added a 26-yard field goal and Perry had a 26-yard run off left tackle to keep the roll going.

It was just more of the same as the game wore on. Brown's 77-yard run set up his 1-yard TD dive in the second quarter and Bridgewater completed four passes for 68 yards on another scoring drive, connecting with Parker for 6 yards for his third TD.

Another nightmarish game for FIU continued into the third quarter, with Gaines returned the second-half kickoff for another touchdown.

Louisville has 23 players from South Florida, including Bridgewater, so the Panthers were more than familiar with the Cardinals' personnel. But they lacked the talent to keep up with Louisville, which led 38-0 at the break.

"Nothing will surprise me with this team," first-year FIU coach Ron Turner said of Louisville. "They're a great football team all the way around. There are no weak areas. They're very well coached, they play hard and they have exceptional athletes."

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Forget offense -- the Louisville D sets a school record by allowing just 30 yards to Florida International.  (USATSI)
Forget offense -- the Louisville D sets a school record by allowing just 30 yards to Florida International. (USATSI)

Related Video

Scoring Summary
LVILLEDeVante Parker 3 yd pass from Teddy Bridgewater (John Wallace kick)
LVILLEJohn Wallace 26 yd FG
LVILLESenorise Perry 26 yd run (John Wallace kick)
LVILLEDominique Brown 1 yd run (John Wallace kick)
LVILLEGerald Christian 9 yd pass from Teddy Bridgewater (John Wallace kick)
LVILLEDeVante Parker 6 yd pass from Teddy Bridgewater (John Wallace kick)
LVILLECharles Gaines 93 yd kick return (John Wallace kick)
LVILLEEli Rogers 34 yd pass from Teddy Bridgewater (blocked XP)
LVILLEMichael Dyer 3 yd run (John Wallace kick)
LVILLEMichaelee Harris 11 yd pass from Will Gardner (Matthew Nakatani kick)
LVILLEBrandon Radcliff 9 yd run (Matthew Nakatani kick)
Team Stats
First Downs220
Third Down Efficiency1-137-10
Fourth Down Efficiency0-00-0
Plays-Net Yards43-3056-464
Passing Yds27254
Kick Return Yds4793
Punt Return Yds048
Time of Poss.32:2027:40
Individual Stats
FIU: Alfonso Randolph 8-13, Silas Spearman 14-12, Lamarq Caldwell 5-9, Shane Coleman 2-1, E.J. Hilliard 5--32
LVILLE: Dominique Brown 3-78, Senorise Perry 7-51, Brandon Radcliff 8-47, Michael Dyer 8-33, Teddy Bridgewater 3-1
FIU: E.J. Hilliard 4-9-27-0
LVILLE: Teddy Bridgewater 17-22-212-0, Will Gardner 5-5-42-0
FIU: Jonnu Smith 2-4, Ya'keem Griner 1-13, Clinton Taylor 1-10
LVILLE: DeVante Parker 6-74, Gerald Christian 3-29, Eli Rogers 2-45, Damian Copeland 2-29, Kai De La Cruz 2-27, Robert Clark 2-22, Michaelee Harris 2-12, Matt Milton 1-6, Michael Dyer 1-6, Zeke Pike 1-4
Florida International4th Conference USA East4-44-8
Louisville1st Atlantic Coast Atlantic7-19-4

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