Defense Dominates; Cards beat K-State

The University of Louisville improved to 4-0 on the season with a 24-6 win over previously undefeated Kansas State. The Cardinal defense limited the host Wildcats to just 248 yards of total offense in the win.

Following the University of Louisville's 31-7 over Miami last weekend there was plenty of concern for a possible let-down when the 8th-ranked Cardinals visited Manhattan, Kansas to face the undefeated K-State Wildcats. Concerns of a possible hiccup appeared to be squashed on the Cardinals first possession of the game, when sophomore quarterback Hunter Cantwell directed a 97-yard touchdown drive to grab an early 7-0 lead.

Capping the opening drive of the game, Cantwell, who completed 18 of 27 pass attempts for 188 yards, connected with Harry Douglas on a 19-yard to strike for his only touchdown throw of the afternoon. However, as promising as the opening drive appeared, the Louisville offense struggled to find the end zone against the nation's 14-ranked defense.

Following a three and out by Kansas State, the Cardinals top-ranked offense had difficulty moving the ball on it's next three possessions and could only muster a field goal after Jon Russell returned an interception 53-yards to Wildcats 15-yard line. A 25-yard field goal by Art Carmody gave the visiting Cardinals a 10-0 advantage with 4:09 remaining in the first half of play.

As Bobby Petrino's offense struggled to finds it's rhythm, his defense was once again proving to be one of the top squads in the country. After forcing three consecutive punts to start the game, the Red Swarm defense ended K-State's last two offensive drives in the first half with interceptions. With time winding down in the second quarter, the Wildcats mounted their first offensive drive of the day when they marched from inside their own 20 to the Cardinal 14-yard line. Facing a third and nine situation, K-State quarterback received heavy pressure from the U of L defensive front and threw an errant pass that was intercepted by senior cornerback William Gay.

The strong defensive effort continued into the second half and limited Kansas State's offense to 248 total yards of offense and despite three second half turnovers, the Cardinal offense still had enough fire power to gain 399 total yards, including 231 on the ground.

Louisville opened the second half just as did the first and marched 72 yards for a touchdown. With the offense in a 3rd and 2 situation, sophomore fullback Brock Bolen exploded up the sideline on a 26-yard run. Kolby Smith took a Cantwell pass 19 yards on the next play, which led to a 2-yard touchdown run by George Stripling.

Following an interception by Marcus Watts and a return to the U of L 19 yard line, the Cardinal defense stiffened once again, forcing K-State into a 40-yard field goal attempt. With a possible shut out on the line, junior Malik Jackson broke through the line and blocked the kick attempt.

Petrino's offense capitalized on the play and marched 54-yards in less than a minute to add it's third touchdown of the afternoon. Cantwell connected with Douglas for 22 yards to open the drive, with Smith running 15 yards on the next play to set up Bolen's 17-yard scoring run.

Kansas State's lone score came on a 69 yard run by Thomas Clayton with 13:22 left to play.

"I thought our defense played well," U of L head coach Bobby Petrino told Fox Sports Net following the 24-6 win. "Offensively, I wasn't happy with how we played. We can't have turnovers like we did in the second half. We have a lot of things to fix on offense."

Louisville is off next weekend and will travel to Nashville to face Middle Tennessee State on Friday, October 6 at The Coliseum.

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