(AP) No. 7 Louisville topples Kentucky 27-13
By GARY B. GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
A touchdown pass helped Teddy Bridgewater overcome one of his slowest starts in recent memory.
Everything else soon fell into place for No. 7 Louisville, with a big boost from running back Senorise Perry.
Perry ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns and Bridgewater overcame a shaky start to pass for 250 yards and the Cardinals scored on four consecutive drives to pull away from rival Kentucky for a 27-13 victory on Saturday.
Louisville’s rebound followed a halftime tongue-lashing by coach Charlie Strong, who was upset with his offense.
They responded with 339 second-half yards en route to outgaining Kentucky 492-376.
Fortunately for the Cardinals, Louisville’s best player had already started making adjustments.
Bridgewater connected with DeVante Parker for a 13-yard touchdown just before halftime that opened things up for Louisville (3-0). The quarterback said he didn’t feel like his timing was off, but conceded that he wasn’t as accurate as he could have been.
The point was to keep pushing.
Perry followed with second-half TD runs of 1 and 36 yards sandwiched around John Wallace’s 21-yard field goal that provided a cushion. He finished with 100 yards on 11 carries to help the Cardinals earn their third straight Governor’s Cup.
The Cardinals’ defense held Kentucky to 0 for 13 on third downs and forced three turnovers, including two in their territory on consecutive possessions to preserve a win that required more work after easy wins over Ohio and Eastern Kentucky.
Alex Montgomery caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Whitlow in the fourth quarter and Joe Mansour kicked two field goals for Kentucky (1-2). Whitlow and starting quarterback Maxwell Smith combined to complete just 17 of 37 passes for 214 yards for the Wildcats.
Smith left in the third quarter after injuring his shoulder, and Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said he was unsure of his status. The Wildcats have a bye week before facing No. 18 Florida on Sept. 28.
Bridgewater returned to Commonwealth Stadium for the first time since directing a 24-17 victory in 2011 that helped launch a career that includes Heisman hopes this season.
He got off to a slow start as Kentucky’s defense kept him and his receivers in check for much of the first half.
He had just 58 yards through one quarter and looked especially out of sync in throwing behind Robert Clark after the Cardinals recovered a Whitlow fumble at the Wildcats 27. Wallace salvaged the drive with a 36-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
But Kentucky’s offense couldn’t take advantage as receivers dropped passes from Smith _ who took all but two snaps in the first half _ while Raymond Sanders fumbled a handoff at the Louisville 13 late in the second quarter.
The turnover ended a chance for the Wildcats to tie the game after Bridgewater finally got untracked to hit a leaping Parker over two defenders in the left corner with 2:36 left in the half.
Dominique Brown helped set up Louisville’s first score with five straight carries for 27 yards to the Kentucky 15.
The Cardinals’ momentum continued into the second half as Perry sandwiched his TD runs around Wallace’s 21-yard field goal for a 27-3 lead that ensured they’d be carrying the Governor’s Cup again.