Bridgewater tosses 5 TDs as Louisville thumps Temple
Louisville, KY – Louisville has teetered on the edge for the last month, but Teddy Bridgewater made sure there was no doubt in Saturday's outcome.
Bridgewater tossed a career-high five touchdown passes in the 12th-ranked Cardinals' 45-17 thumping of Temple.
The sensational sophomore threw for 324 yards on 19-of-28 efficiency for Louisville (9-0, 4-0 Big East), which is 9-0 for the first time in school history.
"You see the game Teddy had with five touchdowns," Louisville head coach Charlie Strong said of Bridgewater. "What's unbelievable about Teddy is how he is able to find the open receiver."
Andrell Smith hauled in a pair of touchdowns, while Ryan Hubbell, DeVante Parker and Eli Rogers each caught a score in the triumph.
The Cardinals had rallied for wins in each of their past five games and overcame a double-digit deficit against Cincinnati twice in their 34-31 overtime victory last week.
Louisville's total margin of victory over its last six games was 31 before Saturday's 28-point whitewashing. Its 9.6 point margin of victory per game heading in was the lowest among undefeated squads.
Montel Harris ran for 115 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries for the Owls (3-5, 2-3), who have lost three straight in the Big East after winning their first two.
The Owls fumbled the ball four times in the setback.
"The turnovers definitely killed us," Harris said. "They had a great offense, so we couldn't afford to make any mistakes on offense and the turnovers cost us some momentum and they were able to capitalize on the mistakes we made."
Brandon McManus' 34-yard field goal early in the second quarter tied the game at 17-17, but Louisville tallied the final 28 points of the contest.
Bridgewater hit Parker and Smith for strikes of 27 and 22 yards, respectively, before Jeremy Wright capped the 7-play, 87-yard drive with a 3-yard TD scamper.
A fumbled snap way over the head of Chris Coyer on the fifth play of Temple's ensuing possession went for an 18-yard, first-down loss and the Owls punted three snaps later.
Bridgewater rifled a 14-yard score to Smith on a long-developing crossing rout to conclude a 7-play, 90-yard march with 1:02 left in the half as the Cardinals took a 31-17 advantage into the break.
Temple's defense forced a punt on Louisville's first touch of the second half, but Coyer fumbled the ball just three plays into the Owls' next series.
The Cardinals took advantage of the miscue as Bridgewater hooked up with Parker for a 25-yard score and a 38-17 edge midway through the third.
Bridgewater flipped a 9-yard TD pass to Smith with six seconds remaining in the frame to conclude the scoring.
Earlier, Matt Brown returned the opening kickoff of the contest 93 yards for the touchdown before Bridgewater threaded a 15-yard TD pass between three Temple defenders to Rogers, which capped the 10-play, 86-yard trek.
Following a pair of punts, Harris ran the ball five times for 41 yards on Temple's 9-play, 82-yard scoring drive, which was finalized when Harris plunged in from five yards out.
Louisville had the quick counter punch as Bridgewater fired a 72-yard score to a wide-open Hubbell on just the second play of the Cardinals' ensuing possession.
Coyer fumbled on the Owls' next touch, which led to a John Wallace 36-yard field goal and a 17-14 Louisville edge.
Louisville thrashed the Owls, 62-0, the last time these two schools met six years ago in Philadelphia ... Coyer was 2-of-8 for 20 yards and added 61 yards on the ground for Temple ... The Cardinals outgained the Owls, 508-309.