LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Teddy Bridgewater threw a career-high five touchdown passes and No. 12 Louisville rallied once again, beating Temple 45-17 on Saturday.
The Cardinals (9-0, 4-0 Big East) fell behind for the sixth straight game as they took time to adjust to their first noon kickoff of the season. Temple’s Matt Brown returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown.
While Louisville’s defense and special teams were slow to get going, Bridgewater and the offense clicked right away. The Cardinals scored on five of their first six possessions to take a 31-17 halftime lead.
The Cardinals, off to their best start in school history, moved into a first-place tie with Rutgers.
Temple (3-5, 2-3) lost its third straight game and has been outscored 127-44 during that stretch.
Bridgewater picked apart the Owls. He completed 19 of 28 passes for 324 yards, a week after throwing for a career-best 416 yards against Cincinnati.
The offensive outburst against Temple offset a sluggish start in other areas.
Louisville allowed Temple’s one-dimensional offense to take the lead twice in the first half and the Owls moved the ball with ease. They racked up 136 yards on the ground while completing just 3 of 6 passes for 33 yards.
A slew of missed tackles and penalties helped Temple drive 82 yards and take a 14-7 lead on Montel Harris’ 5-yard run. The Owls then drove 58 yards to set up Brandon McManus’ 34-yard field goal that tied it at 17.
The Cardinals’ special teams weren’t much better than Louisville’s defense.
Brown, a 5-foot-5 senior, had 178 yards on five returns in the first half. That gave Temple the fast start it wanted, but the Owls couldn’t stop Louisville.
The Cardinals answered Brown’s opening return with an 86-yard, 10-play drive capped by Bridgewater’s 15-yard TD pass to Eli Rogers. The sophomore quarterback was just 2 of 5 for 35 yards passing, but his fourth-down run for 6 yards to the Owls’ 20 kept the drive alive.
It took Bridgewater just 49 seconds to answer Temple’s second score. He hit a wide-open Ryan Hubbell down the middle and the tight end rambled 72 yards to tie the game at 14.
Louisville took its first lead after Hakeem Smith recovered a fumble at Temple’s 21. John Wallace kicked a 36-yard field goal early in the second quarter to make it 17-14.
The Cardinals took control of the game with 14 unanswered points to end the half.
Wright scored on a 3-yard TD run, then Bridgewater hit Andrell Smith with a 14-yard touchdown pass. Louisville outgained Temple 344-169 in the first half with Bridgewater completing 11 of 18 attempts for 228 yards.
Louisville’s defense and special teams did get going in the second half. The Cardinals shut out the Owls and now travel to Syracuse next Saturday.
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