After feeling like they let one get away that they should have last Friday against Florida State, Louisville made “finish” the theme of its fourth week of the season. As it turns out, “finishing” is much easier when you’re carrying a four touchdown lead into the second half.
The Cardinals found this out firsthand on their way to a 41-3 drubbing of ex-conference mate South Florida Saturday afternoon at Cardinal Stadium.
The scoring got started on Louisville’s second drive of the game when Malik Cunningham rumbled 40 yards for the first of his three rushing touchdowns. Minutes later, Cunningham beat the Bulls with his arm, finding former walk-on and Manual High School product Jaelin Carter for a very memorable first reception as a Cardinal.
So cool to see Jaelin Carter get his moment pic.twitter.com/5bQ6JEtunQ— Mike Rutherford (@CardChronicle) September 24, 2022
Cunningham finished the afternoon with 299 yards of total offense (113 on the ground and 186 through the air) and four total touchdowns. On his third touchdown run of the game, Cunningham became just the eighth player in NCAA history to tally at least 8,000 passing yards and at least 3,000 rushing yards in a career.
As a team, Louisville rushed for 283 yards, a number which far surpassed USF’s total offense for the game. The Bulls rushed 35 times for 48 yards, good for an average of 1.4 yards per carry. The Cardinal defensive front also terrorized South Florida quarterbacks Gerry Bohannon and Katravis Marsh all game long. The duo combined to complete 13 of 28 passes for a paltry 110 yards.
The U of L defense turned South Florida over three times — one fumble, two interceptions — and finished the afternoon with three sacks. Regardless of the strength of the opponent, it felt like the most complete defensive performance of the four-year Bryan Brown era.
The Cardinals are now 15-2 under Scott Satterfield when winning the turnover battle, and just 2-17 when losing it.
Louisville needed this, but like we talked about on this week’s podcast, no one in the fan base was going to be be throwing a ticker tape parade for even an 80-point blowout. This was a very nice step forward in the effort to save the season and, potentially, the Satterfield era, but it won’t mean anything if the team is coming back from Chestnut Hill with a loss a week from now.
For now, though, we celebrate ... and enjoy this video a thousand more times.