DeVante Parker catches a touchdown pass.
Sept. 1, 2011
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Will Stein threw for two touchdowns and 226 yards as Louisville beat Murray State 21-9 in the season opener for both teams on Thursday night.
Stein was on the run when he hit DeVante Parker in coverage on a 39-yard pass in the corner of the end zone for the freshman's first catch that gave Louisville a three-touchdown lead with 13:20 in the third quarter. Stein set up the score with a 37-yard heave to Michaelee Harris across the middle of the field on second-and-12.
Stein, who was 17-of-32, also completed six passes on a 13-play drive that culminated with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Scott Radcliff with 5:10 left in the first quarter. A botched punt by Murray State put the Cardinals right back in the red zone, and Vic Anderson ran 2 yards for a touchdown with 3:12 remaining in the first.
Anderson finished with 61 yards on nine carries.
Murray State has been expecting big things from its fast-paced spread offense this season after ranking seventh in the Football Championship Subdivision with 313.5 yards passing per game last season.
The Racers had averaged 549.7 yards of offense and 44 points per game in Casey Brockman's previous six starts, but the Ohio Valley Conference preseason player of the year finished 17-of-34 for 148 yards, three interceptions and no touchdowns.
Mike Harris did what he could to keep Murray State in the game, rushing for 116 yards, including a 22-yard dash into open space with 14:12 left in the game. Kienan Cullen, who earlier had let the snap on a punt attempt go over his head for a loss of 21 yards, missed the extra point, and the Racers didn't cross midfield again.
Louisville also managed to show its youth with 17 players playing in their first collegiate game and seven making their first start. The Cardinals fumbled the ball away to Murray State three times, with the final one leading to Harris' score.
The Cardinals also struggled against the Racers' hurry-up offense late in the first half. Brockman completed passes of 29 yards and 20 yards to Arthur Brackett that led to a 30-yard field goal by Cullen 3 seconds before halftime.
Louisville also tried a few tricks with Chris Philpott attempting two fake punts. The first resulted in a 40-yard run by Philpott and a first down at the Murray State 15 but was negated by a Jeremy Wright fumble two plays later. His second fake, an 8-yard run, failed to pick up a first down.