ORLANDO, Fla. — — Malik Cunningham used his arm and legs to get the Louisville season on track.
The redshirt’s senior quarterback threw 195 yards and rushed for another 121, including a score of 43 yards in the third quarter, to lead Louisville to a 20-14 win over UCF Friday night.
“(Running) just opens up another dimension to our offense,” Cunningham said. “We have great running backs and to add to that my legs and arm … it’s something we’ve been doing for the past three years.”
Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said he told Cunningham he would be leaning heavily on him against UCF.
“I had to let Malik be who he is,” Satterfield said. “We didn’t really let him go last week and that’s up to me. This week we let him play his game.”
The Cardinals (1-1) defeated the Knights 13-0 in the second half. Tiyon Evans rushed for 75 yards and a touchdown and Tyler Hudson had three catches for 67 yards.
“To win like we did was great,” Satterfield said. “It was tough, there was a lot of fighting and our defense played well. Central Florida is a great program and they have won a lot of games here.”
UCF (1-1) scored touchdowns on two of the first three possession, but struggled to get much going the rest of the way. The Knights had their best chance of scoring with 2:52 to go into the fourth quarter, but quarterback John Rhys Plumlee was intercepted in the end zone by Jarvis Brownlee for a fourth goal out of 5.
“It’s not the end of the world for our season,” said Knights coach Gus Malzahn. “But it feels like a mess now.”
Plumlee went 16-for-34 and passed 131 yards and rushed for 83 yards, but he was fired four times. Isaiah Bowser ran for 51 yards and two touchdowns.
UCF was penalized 11 times for 111 yards.
“It’s me,” Malzahn said. “We are an undisciplined football team.”
PICK UP EACH OTHER
Louisville defensive lineman Jermayne Lole missed Friday’s game with an injury and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Cardinals defense coordinator Bryan Brown said the rest of the defense wanted to honor him with a strong performance. “They saw one of their brothers crash and that inspired them,” Brown said. “This is a close group and they play for each other.”
THE BIG CHOICE
Brownlee, a Florida state transfer, got inside position on Knights wide receiver Jaylon Griffin and fought him for football while staying inbound. “We knew they were going to come up with something tricky,” said Safety Cardinals Kenderick Duncan. “We just executed. Jarvis knew where to be and did his job.”
Cunningham has made 37 consecutive starts, a school record for quarterbacks…UCF lost for the third time at home in the last 34 games…Louisville scored in 267 consecutive games.
THE TAKE OUT
Louisville: The Cardinals recovered from a poor effort last week in a 31-7 loss to Syracuse. Cunningham wasn’t perfect, but showed a lot of toughness and leadership in guiding the charge to 421 yards. Wanting to be a threat in the ACC, Louisville now has some momentum in next week’s home opener against the state of Florida.
UCF: The Knights need to address their inconsistencies in attack and that starts with Plumlee. Ole Miss’s transfer is a threat to his legs, but once Louisville’s defense adapted and forced him to throw out of the bag, he couldn’t live up to it. It’s a disappointing result for a team hoping to run the table.
Louisville: The Cardinals receive the state of Florida next Friday.
UCF: The Knights are in Florida Atlantic this Saturday
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