Louisville off to fast start against Western Kentucky

Official attendance was 22,665 for the Louisville-Western Kentucky game in Nashville (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

So much for a neutral site location for the resumption of the University of Louisville-Western Kentucky football series. Not the best atmosphere for a game with 22,665 fans rattling around in Nissan Stadium. Suspense over early with UofL taking a commanding lead in the first half, then sleepwalking in the second half to a 38-21 conclusion.

One suspects the series– with UofL hosting the game next season, and WKU the following year — was a result of Louisville hiring Bobby Petrino away from the Bowling Green school a few years ago. The question is who was really doing who a favor. Neither fan base apparently that interested in going to Nashville.

Tutu Atwell scoring the first of his three touchdowns, including distances of 9, 46 and 62 yards (Cindy Rice Shelton photos).

Louisville getting off to an impressive start, with quarterback Malik Cunningham connecting with Tutu Atwell on nine and 46 yards for the first two touchdowns. Followed by a 20-yard touchdown by Javian Hawkins and a 30-yard sprint by Rodjay Burns after a fumble recovery. Up 31-7 at the half.

Lamar Jackson jerseys are a popular choice among Louisville fans (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Maybe taking WKU for granted as third quarter begins, giving the Hilltoppers false hopes, letting them hang around.  Not respecting the opponent, blowing a chance to get better, which was needed with the first ACC game a week away.

There was, however, one play that buoyed the outlook for UofL football down the road. That being, of course, that 62-yard pass play from freshman Evan Conley to Atwell, his first pass ever as a Louisville quarterback. Such a beautiful spiral, the likes of which UofL has not seen for a few years.

Malik Cunningham winning his first game as a starting quarterback at UofL (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

A surprise appearance by Conley following an injury to Malik Cunningham in the third quarter. The freshman showing exceptional confidence and accuracy, completing two of three attempts for 86 yards. Cunningham, meanwhile, good for eight of 13 for 119 yards.

Three games in, Louisville football looking much improved over last season. The ultimate testing begins next week with opening of conference play against Florida State. No danger of UofL players not respecting the Seminoles. Ever.

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.