Running backs are producing for the Cards

The big debate in the preseason for the University of Louisville football team was about which player was going to be the starting running back. After six games, the Cardinals have a two-headed monster starring in the backfield.

When asked about the running back position during the University of Louisville's football media day, junior Senorise Perry said all four backs competing for the job "had a chance to do some good things."

Perry was pretty close to being right on the mark.

Dominique Brown has not played in a game yet this season because of a knee injury and Corvin Lamb has only carried two times this season.

But Perry and Wright have become one of the most formidable backfield tandem in the Big East Conference, helping the Cardinals to a 6-0 record and 167 yards on the ground a game so far this season.

"The run game is so critical to our offense," U of L head coach Charlie Strong said. "Those guys are running hard and doing a good job for us and you have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line."

Perry, a former defensive back and special teams star, is seeing more than spot action for the first time this season. He has 559 yards and nine touchdowns on 5.8 yards a carry for the Cardinals.

Strong called it "great coaching," laughing at having Perry on defense. He became the first U of L player since Michael Bush in 2005 to rush for four TDs in one game last weekend at Pittsburgh.

"Two years ago, we put Senorise in at defensive back after Johnny Patrick went down against Cincinnati and we could not get him to get up on the wide receiver," Strong said. "When he came off the field, he said, ‘Coach I would like to go play running back.' So, we decided to give him a shot there because we were looking for help at running back after Bilal (Powell) left.

"Jeremy Wright had gotten an injury in the spring, so we decided to put Senorise back there and he ran the ball very well against our defense. To see him go there with a four-touchdown performance and break off that 59-yard run was great. He is so fast that, if he gets a step on someone, he can out run them, plus he runs behind his pads and runs through defenders."

While Perry is the Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Week, Wright has also been solid for the Cardinals.

Wright has rushed three more times than Perry – 99 – and has 450 yards and six TDs. He's averaging 4.7 yards a carry.

The Cardinals had 156 yards rushing, including 101 by Perry and 61 by Wright in last week's 45-35 win over Pittsburgh.

"Perry and Wright did a great job of running behind their pads," U of L quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said. "The offensive line did a great job of opening holes for them and we relied on them to milk the clock toward the end of the game until Senorise hit a big run."

U of L ranks No. 60 nationally in rushing yards a game, is No. 20 in rushing touchdowns and Perry (No. 43) and Wright (No. 69) both rank among the top 5 running backs nationally.

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