Powered by an efficient offense and fill-in quarterback Malik Cunningham, Louisville defeated Western Kentucky 38-21 on Saturday in Nashville.
It was announced hours before kickoff that Louisville starting quarterback Jawon Pass would not play due to a lower-body injury. Cunningham stepped in and guided the Cardinals to a 31-7 halftime lead and he finished 8-of-13 passing for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
Cunningham, a sophomore, hit 7 of 10 passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Receiver Tutu Atwell had two of his three touchdown receptions in the first stanza and finished with four catches for 141 yards for Louisville (2-1).
Steven Duncan completed 25 of 47 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns for the Hilltoppers (1-2).
The Cardinals held a 415-288 edge in total yards. Javian Hawkins rushed for 93 yards on 19 carries.
Louisville controlled the ball for over 19 minutes in the first half. The Cardinals made very few missteps under first-year head coach Scott Satterfield.
Louisville ran for 138 yards in the first half while allowing only six to the Hilltoppers. Louisville generated 16 first downs before halftime, compared to only three for Western Kentucky. The Cardinals finished with a 21-14 edge in first downs.
Duncan threw a 77-yard scoring pass to Joshua Simon with 11:12 left in the first half to bring Western Kentucky within 14-7.
Hawkins answered three-plus minutes later with a 20-yard scoring run as Louisville scored the final 17 points of the half.
The Cardinals later held a 38-14 lead after Atwell caught a 62-yard scoring pass from Evan Conley.
Duncan's third TD pass, a 3-yarder to Kyle Fourtenbary, completed the scoring with 12:50 remaining.
Louisville's win meant that Satterfield won a battle of first-year coaches against Western Kentucky's Tyson Helton. Satterfield and Helton are both trying to restore their programs after recent downturns.
--Field Level Media