Teams aren’t supposed to look that good in the opening game.
But it was a dominating performance by the University of Louisville football team, the Cardinals appearing to be in mid-season form in a 49-7 dismantling of Ohio University. A few quick starts for penalties among the few minor blemishes in an otherwise near perfect performance.
The crowd of 55,332 was equally impressive, the second largest in UofL history, behind last season’s opening crowd of 55,386 against Kentucky. They don’t keep records of this but an overwhelming majority of the fans were in their seats for the opening kickoff, wanting to be in Charlie Strong’s good graces.
The crowd arrived early, much earlier than usual, packing the Green Lot by 12:30 , transforming the black and white blacktop into a sea of multi-colored canopies that stretched from the stadium to far distances of Lot C. They were hungry and thirsty, wanting to get off to a good start, wanting to celebrate the end of summer, the beginning of a new football season.
But this was not the typical get-excited-about-the-first-football-game phenomenon, they were there to see Teddy Bridgewater get his football team get off to a great start and they wouldn’t be disappointed.
Bridgewater would complete 23 of 28 passes for 355 yards and five touchdowns, picking the Ohio defense apart with ease with a national ESPN television audience watching his every move. His favorite target continues to be Damian Copeland with six receptions, 98 yards and two touchdowns.
He would connect with Kai Del La Cruz, DaVante Parker and Robert Clark on three other touchdown passes. With his team ahead 42-7, Bridgewater would head for the bench at the beginning of the fourth quarter, providing backup quarterback Will Gardner a chance to show what he would do. Gardner would connect on the two of three pass including a 30-yard scoring hookup with Cruz.
There was that handoff to Michael Dyer, providing a breathtaking preview of things to come from the Auburn transfer, rushing 46 yards for a touchdown on his second carry in a UofL uniform. Charlie Strong not wanting to rush things but Dyer is obviously going to be a huge part of the future.
The UofL defense totally demoralized Ohio on the other side of the ball, holding a good offense to only 81 yards on the ground and 192 through the air. Vaunted running back, Beau Blankenship, would be allowed only 23 yards for the game. Quarterback Tyler Tettleton was good for only 11 of 23 attempts for 140 yards.
Charlie Strong had his team and the fans totally focused on getting off what could be one of the most memorable seasons in UofL
history. He got his wish on both counts.
Teddy Bridgewater video, thanks to Cardinal Authority on YouTube: