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September 2, 2013

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Bridgewater takes early Heisman lead

Louisville QB throws 5 TDs in 49-7 win over Ohio

LOUISVILLE — During the summer and pre-season, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater indicated that he wasn't interested in being considered for the Heisman Trophy.

He went as far as to ask the Louisville athletic department not to campaign for him.

If Bridgewater has more games like he did on Sunday in Sunday's 49-7 thrashing of Ohio, that could be a problem.

Bridgewater completed 23 of 28 passes for 355 yards with five touchdowns and one interception before a near record crowd of 55,332 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

And, oh yeah, Bridgewater left the game after the third quarter.

“It was an outstanding win. It’s always good to get that first win behind you," Louisville coach Charlie Strong said. "When you look at improvements we can make, it’s just the penalties. We got three procedure penalties on the offense and a couple on the kicking game.

"But when you look at our offense, Teddy had five touchdowns, [junior WR Damian] Copeland had some good catches; [Senior WR Kai] De La Cruz had a good game. Our running backs ran hard. Our offensive line did a great job of blocking and protecting the quarterback and opening up holes for our running game. Then defensively, we had a shutout going there. ... It was great how we were able to maintain our gaps and go stop the run and making their offense one dimensional."

And, of course, there was Bridgewater.

“The thing Teddy does is he studies the game," Strong praised his junior signal caller. "He does a great job of taking what the defense gives him. It was just fun to watch him."

Along with the impressive numbers, Bridgewater had a lot of help from the above mentioned DeLaCruz (4 catches 116 yards, 2 TDs) and Copeland (6 catches, 98 yards, 2 TDs).

The Cardinals had 615 yards of total offense compared to just 273 for the Bobcats. Linebacker

James Burgess led the defense with five tackles and three assists.

Louisville built a 28-0 halftime lead as Bridgwater threw four touchdown passes of 34 and 19 yards to Copeland, 40 yards to DeLaCruz and a 37-yard spectacular catch by DeVante Parker.

The Cardinals third-quarter scores included a 46-yard TD run by former Auburn standout Michael Dyer and a 25-yard scoring pass from Bridgewater to Robert Clark.

Ohio finally got on the board on the final play of the third quarter as it drove 42 yards in seven plays with Ryan Boykin scoring on a 10-yard run.

But the Cardinals weren't finished as reserve quarterback Will Gardner came on to drive the Cards 49 yards in seven plays throwing a 30-yard scoring pass to DeLaCruz.

When it was all said and done, nothing had changed the modest attitude of Bridgewater.

''I'm all about this team executing,'' he said. ''At the end of the day, I play the game to build a relationship with guys in the locker room and to win games. As far as individual stats, I couldn't care less. If I go 0 for 25, I just want to win the game.''

“I believe they are a great football team. I think they were hitting on all cylinders today," Ohio coach Frank Solich said. "I believe Bridgewater was perfect on a lot of his throws. At times, we made it a little easier for them than it should’ve been. Receivers were wide open, so obviously their passing attack was very good. It’s a great passing attack. The running backs got going, and when you generally have both phases of the game going, it’s generally not a ball game. They were very efficient."

The Cardinal running attack, which totaled 199 yards, was led by Senorise Perry with 58 yards on 13 carries.

“I don’t think there is any question that they are a top-10 team," Solich said of the Cardinals. "The way they played and the way they executed, the quality of athletes, there’s no doubt about it they’re a top-10 team. I think it’s the best team we’ve played since I’ve been at Ohio and that includes Ohio State when they were ranked. So this is just an outstanding football team.”

Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton completed just 11-of-23 passes for 140 yards.

"Overall I’m very happy," Strong said. "We’ve got a short week coming up. I’m going to give them the day off [today] and then we’ll start getting ready for Eastern Kentucky.”

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