Fans of the University of Louisville football Cardinals still wait for their team to play a complete game, but Saturday's victory at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field might have been as close as they've come all season. The final score was a convincing 45-35.
Louisville came into the game being reminded that they've only won one conference opening game in their Big East history. And then there was the losing streak to the Panthers that stuck with them, too. Pitt had dispatched the Cards each of the last four games they played.
The number 16 Cardinals fell behind early when Pittsburgh quarterback Tino Sunseri hit Cameron Saddler in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. The first half also included a blocked punt by Panther Todd Thomas that he recovered in the end zone for a TD. Before the end of the half, though, Louisville converted a 4th and 8 play that set up a field goal to close the gap to 21-17 at the half.
Charlie Strong made adjustments in the locker room very loudly based on the way the Cards played in the first two quarters. When play resumed the team started to click. Teddy Bridgewater opened the second half with a 75 yard touchdown pass to DeVante Parker to take the lead for good. Parker finished the day with 4 receptions for 153 yards.
On defense, the Cards started holding Pitt to 3 and outs which allowed the offense back on the field. And Senorise Perry flat out ran loose. He ran for 101 yards and scored 4 touchdowns. The last time a Card scored that man touchdowns in a game was 2005 when Michael Bush did it. Perry's backfield partner Jeremy Wright finished with 61 yards and a touchdown. This despite the fact that the Panthers seemed geared to stop the run.
Pittsburgh stayed in it thanks to Sunseri's two TD passes and freshman running back Rushel Shell's 96 yards and a touchdown. This will be the last time the teams play as conference rivals because Pitt jumps to the ACC after this season.
Now, after a month on the road, the Cards return to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Saturday, October 20th for a homecoming showdown against South Florida.
Photo: Louisville.com/Tim Girton