U of L running game a strong suit

The running game was a bright spot for the University of Louisville last weekend in the opener against Kentucky. Can the Cardinals continue to thrive in the running game throughout this season?

The biggest question heading into the season-opener against Kentucky for the University of Louisville football team was about who would start at running back.

The battle for playing time in the backfield was a hot topic.

U of L head coach Charlie Strong said he wanted a featured back to emerge but quietly as camp progressed the staff knew they had more than one back who was going to help the team out this season.

And on Sunday that showed.

With Dominique Brown hampered by a knee injury and Corvin Lamb out with a wrist injury, Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright carried the load. Both had over 100 yards rushing and led the Cardinals to a 32-14 win over Kentucky.

"We pushed each other and the line was great," Wright said. "It feels great to start like that because it really gives us something to look forward too."

Added Perry: "I think we were anxious for this first game because we were all tired of hitting each other. It was a big game for us."

The Cardinals finished with 219 net yards of rushing, averaged 4.8 yards a carry, had four rushing touchdowns and didn't have one fumble.

"We executed each play – whatever play we had called, we executed to the best of our ability," Wright said. "We pushed each other, and at the same time just competed off what defense gave us and executed the game plan."

Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said he was comfortable calling the number of whatever back was in the game and that his confidence grew as the game went on.

"Both of those guys have developed into the type of runners in our zone scheme that you like to see on film – one-cut football guys," Watson said. "They're pressing the line and taking the single cut. Both of them ran physical."

Wright scored three of the TDs on the ground and finished the game with 22 carries for 105 yards. His longest run was a 20-yard gain on The Opening drive.

Perry had the eye-catching 47-yard TD run where he bounced off the pile of defenders and darted around the right side using his speed. He finished the game with 16 carries for 108 total yards.

"Senorise, he's the fastest kid on our football team," Watson said. "He can take the ball anytime he touches it the distance. Once he's gained confidence in the inside game and how to read it and how to be effective in it, he's really become a real force. What you saw Sunday are just glimpses of what he's done in (practice)."

Perry and Wright both gave credit to the line, which has five guys back who started games last season, and the other two backs in the competition. Brown is still hampered by his knee, while Lamb is back and expected to play this weekend when the Cardinals face Missouri State on Saturday.

"We all comfortable in each other," Perry said. "That's the best thing is that whoever goes out there and handles their business, that's what we get. In practice, we feed off each other – everybody wants a long run. Nobody wants a short run."

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