Scores

Final

Kentucky 27

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Louisville 2

(0-1, 0-1 home)

Coverage: ESPN

3:30 PM ET, August 31, 2008

Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY

1 2 3 4 T
UK 0 10 0 1727
LOU 0 0 0 22

Top Performers

Passing: M. Hartline (UK) - 147 YDS

Rushing: T. Dixon (UK) - 12 CAR, 27 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: D. Beaumont (LOU) - 9 REC, 77 YDS

Kentucky dumps archrival as defense denies Louisville trip to end zone

Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Rich Brooks knows Kentucky's young and inexperienced offense isn't going to scare anybody.

The way the Wildcats' defense played against Louisville, it might not have to.

Kentucky returned two Louisville fumbles for touchdowns and set up another score with an interception in the Wildcats' 27-2 victory Sunday in the Governor's Cup.

Fast Facts

• Louisville's two points was its fewest since being shut out by Florida State in 2000 and fewest against Kentucky since being shut out in 1924.

• All three Kentucky touchdowns were scored off of turnovers.

•  Kentucky won in Louisville for the first time since 2002 and improved to 12-9 all-time against the Cardinals.

-- ESPN Research

"We thought we had a good defense and we do," Brooks said. "Our defense took it upon themselves to score points. Our defense kept making play after play after play."

Kentucky forced five turnovers and stuffed Louisville's retooled offense, playing with the kind of tenacity Brooks said the Wildcats would need early in the season while the offense found its footing.

Kentucky held Louisville, which averaged 416.5 yards per game a year ago, to just 205 yards and the Cardinals failed to score a touchdown for the first time since a shutout loss to Florida State in 2000.

"We were able to come out and execute everything we wanted to," Kentucky linebacker Micah Johnson said. "I was expecting us to have a great performance and we did. I just wasn't expecting all of those turnovers."

Neither were the Cardinals.

Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe was hoping for a fresh start after a disappointing debut last season. Instead, the Cardinals appear to have plenty of work ahead if they want to climb back toward the top of the Big East.

Sunday, the Wildcats emphatically proved the Cardinals weren't even the best team in the state.

"You've got to take good care of the football," Kragthorpe said. "We just didn't do a good enough job on offense. Our defense gave us opportunities but we didn't take advantage."

While Louisville's defense showed significant improvement under new coordinator Ron English -- holding the Wildcats to 210 yards -- the offense looked overwhelmed at times.

Hunter Cantwell, who spent the last three seasons as an understudy to former Louisville star Brian Brohm, turned it over four times in the fourth quarter as the Cardinals tried to rally. His first interception led to Tony Dixon's 7-yard touchdown run that put the Wildcats up 20-2, and Kentucky's Myron Pryor later pounced on Cantwell's fumble and rumbled 72 yards for a score to send the third-largest crowd in Cardinal Stadium history streaking to the exit.

Cantwell finished 20-of-43 for 152 yards and three interceptions and hardly looked like the polished passer that filled in so capably for Brohm during Louisville's breakout season in 2006. He hurried passes and forced others, perhaps trying too hard to fill in the gaps for a unit that has new starters at every skill position.

Bennett: Louisville's Ugly Loss

The high-scoring Louisville offense struggled mightily against Kentucky, but that wasn't all that went wrong, writes Brian Bennett. Blog

"It seemed like anything that could go wrong did go wrong," Cantwell said. "We had stops or stupid mistakes, penalties. I was very disappointed in myself and the way the offense moved the ball."

Louisville's offensive output was its lowest since it gained just 176 yards in a loss to Cincinnati in 2002 and the Cardinals took just one snap inside the Kentucky 20.

The Wildcats were hardly any better on offense, but they didn't need to be.

Hartline, who won the starting quarterback job almost by default after Curtis Pulley was dismissed on Aug. 5 for a violation of team rules, played efficiently if not spectacularly, completing 16 of 31 passes and 147 yards. While he didn't throw for a touchdown, he avoided mistakes. Rather than force the issue, he mostly settled for underneath passes and smartly threw the ball away when nothing developed.

"I was really relieved to win and get this one out of the way," Hartline said. "I didn't try to put too much pressure on myself. I just wanted to manage the game."

Hartline's only major mistake came early in the fourth quarter when he was called for intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety.

The Wildcats forced a punt on the ensuing possession, but Louisville appeared to get a break when the punt glanced off Kentucky's Dicky Lyons and the Cardinals recovered. Officials, however ruled Louisville's Bilal Powell interfered with Lyons even though replays showed Powell backing away from Lyons when the ball landed.

Kragthorpe argued vehemently, but was told by officials that the play was unreviewable.

Kentucky turned the reprieve into Lones Seiber's field goal, and the Cardinals continued a self-destruction that began in the first half when they had a 38-yard field goal blocked. They later gift-wrapped a Kentucky touchdown when Powell fumbled while trying to switch hands as he was tackled. The ball bounced right into the arms of Kentucky's Ashton Cobb, who ran in 28 yards for a score to give the Wildcats a 10-0 lead they never came close to squandering.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
UK
LOU
1st Downs1316
Total Yards210205
Passing147152
Rushing6353
Penalties9-676-61
3rd Down Conversions4-165-16
4th Down Conversions0-00-1
Turnovers15
Possession32:4027:20

Passing Leaders

KentuckyC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Hartline16/311474.700
LouisvilleC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Cantwell20/431523.503

Rushing Leaders

KentuckyCARYDSAVGTDLG
Dixon12272.317
Locke10252.5013
LouisvilleCARYDSAVGTDLG
Anderson12312.607
Powell6162.7012

Receiving Leaders

KentuckyRECYDSAVGTDLG
Cobb33110.3011
Lyons Jr.22512.5019
LouisvilleRECYDSAVGTDLG
Beaumont9778.6027
Chichester34515.0024

Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERUKLOU
FG09:53Lones Seiber 21 Yd
Drive: 8 plays, 27 yds, 2:45
30
TD05:58Ashton Cobb 28 Yd Fumble Return (Lones Seiber Kick) 100
FOURTH QUARTERUKLOU
SF14:17Penalty On Mike Hartline In End Zone 102
FG06:37Lones Seiber 25 Yd
Drive: 11 plays, 56 yds, 5:26
132
TD06:21Tony Dixon 7 Yd Run (Lones Seiber Kick)
Drive: 1 plays, 7 yds, :05
202
TD02:46Myron Pryor 72 Yd Fumble Return (Lones Seiber Kick) 272