LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Among a handful of potential bad scenarios a team can face to open the season, Louisville was handed the ultimate challenge Sunday against Kentucky when the Cardinals were pinned back on their own 1-yard line for their first possession of 2012.
Fifteen plays, 99 yards and a ruthlessly-efficient eight minutes and 21 seconds later, Louisville had an 8-0 lead over its in-state rival and was off and running toward a decisive 32-14 victory at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium that helped it retain the Governor's Cup.
"We were able to take the ball in the first four possessions and score three touchdowns," Louisville coach Charlie Strong said. "It was just amazing to see how we clicked on offense today... I told our team that I have to give credit to our offensive line because they did a great job of blocking up front. They don't get enough credit."
The No. 25 Cardinals (1-0) scored on drives of 99, 85 and 93 yards on their first three possessions to take a commanding 22-7 lead over Kentucky going into the half. The Wildcats (0-1) had a few opportunities to slice into the deficit in the second half, but were plagued by a missed field goal and two fumbles inside Louisville territory.
Louisville amassed 466 yards of total offense, a number that could have been even larger had starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (19 of 21, 232 yards) not departed the game midway through the third quarter in favor of some snaps for backup Will Stein.
The Cards also had 219 net rushing yards, led by 108 for Senorise Perry and 105 for Jeremy Wright, the latter who scored on runs of 1, 14 and 1 yards.
"We talked about how the team that's ran the ball is usually the team that comes out of this thing with the victory, and (Louisville) had 46 rushes for over 200 yards. We had 19 rushes for under a hundred yards," UK head coach Joker Phillips said. "... We felt like we had to win up front. We did not win up front."
Sophomore quarterback Max Smith was 35 of 50 for a career-high 280 yards and two touchdowns without an interception for a much-improved Kentucky offense, but the Wildcats struggled to complete drives.
"Missed opportunities... You can't be 2-for-6 in the red zone," Phillips said. "We're better than that."
La'Rod King caught eight passes for 77 yards and a score for the Cats. Tight end Tyler Robinson also had a 1-yard scoring pass from Smith.
• Smith completed passes to 11 different receivers. His 35 completions were one shy of Tim Couch's 36 in the 1997 Governor's Cup game.
• King moved into 15th place on UK's career receiving yards list with 1,295. He also tied Steve Johnson for seventh on the UK career touchdown receptions list with 14.
• Linebacker Avery Williamson recorded a career-high 12 tackles and forced a fumble.
• Aaron Boyd matched his career-high with three receptions and had a career-high 36 receiving yards.
• Daryl Collins made his first career reception on The Opening drive of the game and finished with seven catches for 64 yards.
Cards roll over Cats
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