Louisville drubs WKU behind Cunningham’s 4 TDs
Micale Cunningham passed for 343 yards with three touchdowns to lead Louisville to a 35-21 season-opening win over Western Kentucky at Cardinal Stadium.
An announced crowd of 11,179 attended the game, with Louisville limiting the crowd size because of COVID-19 precautions.
Louisville is 22-12 with a 12-game winning streak since 1975 against Western Kentucky.
Cunningham, a fourth-year junior, completed 19 of 34 pass attempts, primarily throwing to Tutu Atwell (seven receptions for 78 yards) and Dez Fitzpatrick and Braden Smith, both of whom had four catches for 110 yards.
Western Kentucky was held to 248 yards in total offense with Maryland graduate transfer quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome accounting for most of the Hilltoppers’ offense. He completed 10 of 23 passes for 129 yards with a touchdown, and he had a team-leading 68 yards rushing on 17 carries.
Louisville took a 28-7 lead into halftime after amassing 337 total yards of offense, including 229 passing by Cunningham.
In the first half, Cunningham completed 62 percent of his passes, two of them touchdowns, and he also ran for a score.
His 12 career rushing touchdowns moves him ahead of Benny Russell for second most rushing touchdowns by a Louisville quarterback. Lamar Jackson leads with 50.
Cunningham engineered scoring drives of 92, 93, 65 and 87 yards in the first half. He connected on a 28-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ean Pfeifer and rushed for a 14-yard touchdown to open the scoring for the Cardinals.
Western Kentucky scored its first two touchdowns behind its special teams against Louisville’s punting game.
Cardinals punter Logan Lupo lost the handle on the snap following their first possession of the game and Western Kentucky recovered inside the 1. Gaej Walker scored on the next play and the Hilltoppers led 7-0 with 12:53 left.
Omari Alexander blocked Lupo’s punt with 11:02 left in the third quarter. Two plays later, Malik Staples ran for a 1-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 28-14 with 10:23 left in the quarter.
Louisville and Cunningham promptly answered on the next possession with the quarterback completing a 70-yard touchdown pass to Fitzpatrick with 8:58 left in the third quarter.
Pigrome’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell Tinsley with 5:40 left in the fourth quarter cut the lead to 35-21.
–Field Level Media