Updated at: 09/21/2013 2:06 PM
By GARY B. GRAVES
(AP) LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Teddy Bridgewater threw four touchdown passes and Louisville’s defense allowed a school-record 30 yards, helping the seventh-ranked Cardinals blow out Florida International 72-0 on Saturday.
It was the highest scoring game for the Cardinals (4-0) since a 73-10 victory over Murray State in 2007. It also matched the school’s fifth-largest margin of victory.
Bridgewater hit DeVante Parker for two TD passes and Gerald Christian and Eli Rogers for one apiece before Will Gardner came on and passed to Michaelee Harris for another score in the fourth quarter. Dominique Brown, Senorise Perry, Michael Dyer and Brandon Radcliff rushed for TDs.
Charles Gaines returned the second-half kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, and recovered a muffed punt to set up Bridgewater’s second TD pass in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, Louisville’s defense didn’t allow a first down until early in the second quarter and just two overall.
Bridgewater had 212 yards on 17-of-22 passing, part of Louisville’s 464-yard effort against winless FIU (0-4). It was another efficient performance for the junior quarterback.
A week after tossing just one touchdown pass against in-state rival Kentucky, Bridgewater threw for three scores by halftime and added another in the third quarter.
That got the Cardinals rolling toward the offensive performance they wanted in their final game before traveling to Temple for their American Athletic Conference opener on Oct. 5.
It was a much different outcome than the previous two games in the series. The schools had split two prior meetings, with each earning seven-point road wins. Louisville won 28-21 in Miami last year.
The Cardinals were 42-point favorites for this one, with overwhelming advantages in every statistical category. And it went as expected.
Four of Louisville’s eight first-half possessions began at midfield or in Panthers territory. The Cardinals converted three of those chances into a 17-0 lead.
Bridgewater hit Parker for a 3-yard touchdown pass that was initially ruled incomplete. The call was reversed after a video review showed the receiver got his right foot down in the end zone while making his second acrobatic TD catch in as many weeks.
John Wallace added a 26-yard field goal and Perry had a 26-yard run off left tackle to keep the roll going.
It was just more of the same as the game wore on. Brown’s 77-yard run set up his 1-yard TD dive in the second quarter and Bridgewater completed four passes for 68 yards on another scoring drive, connecting with Parker for 6 yards for his third TD.
Another nightmarish game for FIU continued into the third quarter, with Gaines returned the second-half kickoff for another touchdown.
Louisville has 23 players from South Florida, including Bridgewater, so the Panthers were more than familiar with the Cardinals’ personnel. But they lacked the talent to keep up with Louisville, which led 38-0 at the break.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)