LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Will Stein threw for two touchdowns and 226 yards as Louisville beat Murray State 21-9 in the season opener for both teams on Thursday night.
Stein was on the run when he hit DeVante Parker in coverage on a 39-yard pass in the corner of the end zone for the freshman's first catch that gave Louisville a three-touchdown lead with 13:20 in the third quarter. Stein set up the score with a 37-yard heave to Michaelee Harris across the middle of the field on second-and-12.
Stein, who was 17-of-32, also completed six passes on a 13-play drive that culminated with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Scott Radcliff with 5:10 left in the first quarter. A botched punt by Murray State put the Cardinals right back in the red zone, and Vic Anderson ran 2 yards for a touchdown with 3:12 in the first.
Anderson finished with 65 yards on nine carries.
Murray State has been expecting big things from its fast-paced spread offense this season after ranking seventh in the Football Championship Subdivision with 313.5 yards passing per game last season. But the so-called "Hatch Attack" failed to find much rhythm on the field.
The Racers had averaged 549.7 yards of offense and 44 points per game in Casey Brockman's previous six starts, but the Ohio Valley Conference preseason player of the year finished 17-of-34 for 148 yards, three interceptions and no touchdowns.
Mike Harris did what he could to keep Murray State in the game, rushing for 116 yards, including a 22-yard dash into open space with 14:12 left in the game. Kienan Cullen, who earlier had let the snap on a punt attempt go over his head for a loss of 21 yards, missed the extra point, and the Racers didn't cross midfield again.
Louisville also managed to show its youth and inexperience with 18 players playing in their first collegiate game and six making their first start. The Cardinals fumbled the ball away to Murray State three times, with the final one leading to Harris' score.
True freshman Teddy Bridgewater's one drive behind center was marred by two false start penalties, a delay of game penalty and an interception.
The Cardinals also struggled against the Racers' hurry-up offense late in the first half. Brockman completed passes of 29 yards and 20 yards to Arthur Brackett that led to a 30-yard field goal by Cullen with 3 seconds before halftime.
Louisville also tried a few tricks with Chris Philpott attempting two faked punts. The first resulted in a 40-yard run by Philpott and a first down at the Murray State 15 but was negated by a Jeremy Wright fumble two plays later. His second fake, an 8-yard run, failed to pick up a first down.
adidas Men's Louisville Cardinals Sideline Coaches Black PoloPrice: $38.93 Shop
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher hopes quarterback Sean Maguire is ready to go full speed by the middle of June.
Graduate transfer quarterback Davis Webb has officially joined California, giving the Golden Bears an experienced option to replace No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jared Goff.
First-year football coach Dino Babers, hired by former Syracuse AD Mark Coyle, is on the committee that will search for Coyle's replacement.
Hugh Freeze has some major holes to fill on offense with the departures of Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell, but there is Chady Kelly and good depth.
After transferring in from Montana State, Dakota Prukop has a checklist he's working from as he prepares to compete for the Oregon job.
The destination for Week 6 of the Big 12 Ultimate Road Trip is unanimous, as all three conference reporters would head to the Red River Rivalry.
|Southeast Missouri State||3-4||4-7|