No. 12 Louisville set to host reeling Temple
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville completely dominated Temple the last time the teams met six years ago in Philadelphia — thrashing the Owls 62-0.
The No. 12 Cardinals (8-0, 3-0 Big East Conference) wouldn't mind history repeating itself on Saturday against visiting Temple (3-4, 2-2).
The Cardinals have shown their resilience by rallying to win the past five games but still seek that wire-to-wire performance that they haven't had. Louisville came close in a 35-7 rout of Missouri State seven games ago but that lopsided outcome masked uneven play that continues to be an issue.
The Cardinals would like nothing more than to put together a consistent effort against the Owls and pull even with first-place Rutgers in the Big East standings.
"What's really great is just sitting there undefeated and knowing that you can still really improve," Louisville coach Charlie Strong said. "That's the message to our football team each and every day."
Louisville players found another more pertinent message in Rutgers' non-conference loss to Kent State: Don't take any opponent lightly. That could especially apply to an Owls team hungry to win after losing their last two contests to Rutgers and Pittsburgh by a combined margin of 82-27.
"Anybody can get beat on any day," senior offensive tackle Alex Kupper said. "It's definitely a reminder — anybody can come in here and beat us or we can go anywhere and beat anybody."
The Cardinals beat Cincinnati 34-31 last week in overtime. The win kept alive Louisville's title hopes and provided the Cardinals an emotional boost.
Louisville twice rallied from 10-point deficits against the Bearcats, almost overshadowing their season-best 524 yards of offense. Most of that came in the second half as quarterback Teddy Bridgewater passed for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and a career-high 416 yards, earning Big East offensive player of the week honors.
Bridgewater said the most rewarding aspect of his performance was finishing better than he started, especially in what was the Cardinals' most important game to date. They had lost four in a row to their conference rivals and wanted to remain in control of their own destiny.