Cunningham’s 3TDs send Louisville to win over E. Kentucky

Sep 11, 2021, 9:05 AM | Updated: 9:51 pm

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Malik Cunningham ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to lead Louisville, which cruised to a 30-3 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Saturday night.

In guiding the Cardinals (1-1) to their first victory of the season, the redshirt junior quarterback completed 15-of-23 passes for 277 yards. He got some early help from special teams. Marvin Dallas recovered a muffed punt return at the Colonels 25, leading to Cunningham’s first score, a 5-yard touchdown run with 4:27 left in the first quarter.

Braden Smith made it 13-0 with a 49-yard punt return for a score with 10:15 left in the first half.

Cunningham would have had another touchdown, but freshman Ahmari Huggins-Bruce dropped the ball on the EKU 1 on what would have been a 95-yard touchdown pass with 10:16 left in the fourth quarter. The ball rolled into the endzone, and the Colonels recovered for a touchback.

“It’s unfortunate,” Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said of Huggins-Bruce, who finished with a Louisville true freshman record 150 receiving yards on four catches. “He did the hard part. The heavy lifting was outrunning the whole defense. Then the easy part, anybody in this room could just carry the ball across the line, but… he still had a great night.”

Cunningham was replaced by Evan Conley on the next series as the Cardinals were well in command by that point.

The Colonels (1-1) mustered just 233 yards of offense and turned it over three times, with Louisville cornerback Kei’Trel Clark picking off two passes.

EKU coach Walt Wells said he told his team before the game they had a chance to compete, but they had to avoid mistakes.

“You can’t turn the ball over, can’t have negative plays,” he said. “These games, you have to get to the fourth quarter to have a chance, then the pressure goes to them. We never got it to the fourth quarter.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels held Louisville’s offense to just 173 yards in the first half and stayed in the game until Louisville’s final first half drive, which ended with a Cunningham 3-yard touchdown run with 47 seconds left. Turnovers doomed any chance they had to hang in with their Power 5 hosts.

Louisville: The Cardinals defense played much better than it did in Monday’s loss to Ole Miss, albeit against a much weaker foe. While Cunningham got better as the game progressed, some early struggles against an FCS squad will not generate much confidence in the Louisville offense as the schedule gets tougher.

Even Cunningham agreed with that assessment, calling it an “ugly win” for the team.

“It’s a good win, but we’re not proud about that win,” he said.

UP NEXT

Eastern Kentucky holds its home opener next Saturday night against Indiana State.

Louisville hosts Central Florida in a nationally televised game Friday night.

__

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, drives to the basket on Atlanta Hawks center Cli...
Associated Press

Lillard scores 42 as Trail Blazers hold off Hawks 129-125

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 42 points, Anfernee Simons hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 34 seconds left and the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Atlanta Hawks 129-125 on Monday night. Dejounte Murray had 40 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Hawks, who played without star point guard Trae Young (ankle). […]
23 hours ago
Baylor guard Keyonte George (1) looks for the basket past Texas guard Arterio Morris (2) during the...
Associated Press

Rice, Allen lead No. 10 Texas over No. 11 Baylor 76-71

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Sir’Jabari Rice scored 21 points and Timmy Allen added 18 to send No. 10 Texas to a 76-71 win over No. 11 Baylor on Monday night, ending the Bears’ six-game win streak and keeping the Longhorns in a share of first place in the Big 12. Rice made four 3-pointers in […]
23 hours ago
Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson, right, drives against Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, le...
Associated Press

Bridges scores 29, Suns pull away late, beat Raptors 114-106

PHOENIX (AP) — Deandre Ayton had to do a double-take in the final minutes as his Phoenix Suns pulled away for another win. His eyes weren’t playing tricks. That was Mikal Bridges getting big mid-range buckets during crucial possessions in the fourth quarter, not injured All-Star guard Devin Booker. Bridges had one of his best […]
23 hours ago
Winnipeg Jets' Josh Morrissey (44) celebrates after his goal against the St. Louis Blues with Saku ...
Associated Press

Morrissey, Scheifele lead Jets’ rally in 4-2 win over Blues

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Josh Morrissey and Mark Scheifele each scored twice in the third period as the Winnipeg Jets rallied for a 4-2 win against the St. Louis Blues on Monday night. Saku Maenalanen and Kyle Connor each had two assists for the Jets, who snapped a three-game skid. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 24 shots. […]
23 hours ago
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, is fouled by Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart, right...
Associated Press

Doncic scores 53 in return, Mavericks beat Pistons 111-105

DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic had 53 points in his return to the lineup and Spencer Dinwiddie scored 10 of his 12 in the fourth quarter as the Dallas Mavericks rallied to beat the Detroit Pistons 111-105 on Monday night. Four of Doncic’s five career 50-point games have come this season. He scored a career-best […]
23 hours ago
Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell (0) reacts to a foul call during the second half of a...
Associated Press

Fox, Lyles help Kings outlast Timberwolves 118-111 in OT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — De’Aaron Fox scored 32 points and Trey Lyles had eight of his 11 points in overtime for the Sacramento Kings, who outlasted the Minnesota Timberwolves 118-111 on Monday night. Malik Monk scored 19 points, Domantas Sabonis had 17 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out and Keegan Murray added 13 points and […]
23 hours ago
Cunningham’s 3TDs send Louisville to win over E. Kentucky