Two FIU special teams errors lift Cards

MIAMI – Several plays keyed the University of Louisville to a fourth straight victory to begin the season on Saturday night against Florida International. But Cardinal Authority is calling two special teams errors by FIU as the biggest in the Cardinals' 28-21 victory over the Panthers.

The University of Louisville had two major breaks fall in its favor in the special teams play during Saturday's 28-21 victory over Florida International.

A muffed punt return by Florida International and a roughing the punter by the Panthers proved to be the biggest plays of the game for the Cardinals.

The fumble got things going for U of L in the second half.

The Cardinals came out and it looked like they were going three-and-out when Ryan Johnson's punt was fielded by Sam Miller with 13:52 left in the quarter.

Miller was hit by two U of L players and the ball bounded into the air and into the hands of U of L fullback Jarel McGriff-Culver at the FIU 46.

Three plays later, Jeremy Wright scored on a 6-yard run to give the Cardinals the lead for good at 21-14.

"That was really big for us," U of L head coach Charlie Strong said of the muffed punt. "They stopped us on downs and we punted, but they fumbled it away and we were able to recover it. It was big."

Johnson was also involved in the other big play.

Florida International had cut the lead to 28-21 with just under five minutes left in the game. The Panthers kicked off and held the Cardinals to one yard on three plays, forcing Johnson to punt with just over four minutes left.

The walk-on from DeSales High School got off a good punt and then was knocked to the ground by FIU's T.J. Lowder. The play resulted in a 15-yard personal foul penalty and a first down.

U of L picked up two more first downs and ran out the clock.

"The guy came free," Strong said of the punt. "But he just missed the ball. Johnson stood in there and took the hit and that was big for us."

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