Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Teddy Bridgewater had two touchdown passes and ran for a touchdown as No. 20 Louisville held off FIU, 28-21.
Bridgewater went 19-for-36 with 194 yards and two interceptions, Senorise Perry carried the ball 11 times for 74 yards and Jeremy Wright added 14 carries for 43 yards and a score for the Cardinals (4-0), who were playing their first road game of the season after opening 2012 with three straight wins at home.
"We just didn't play smart," Louisville coach Charlie Strong admitted. "We didn't execute at all tonight but we are happy to get out of here with a win."
Jake Medlock was 10-for-16 with 116 yards and had a rushing touchdown while E.J. Hilliard went 9-for-10 with 82 yards and a score for the Golden Panthers (1-3), who have dropped their past two after an overtime win against Akron.
"A lot of positives to be drawn from it, but never a moral victory, but certainly geared up and ready to move on and ready for conference play," FIU coach Mario Cristobal said of the setback.
Starting the second half with the game tied, Louisville went three-and-out on the first touch of the half, but Sam Miller fumbled the punt and Louisville recovered at the Florida International 46. Following runs of 24 and 16 yards be Perry, Wright took the ball six yards into the end zone for a 21-14 lead with 12 1/2 minutes left in the third.
The Golden Panthers answered with a long drive and got into Louisville territory. However, a holding call and a 3-yard loss forced them into a 3rd- and-23 at the 32-yard line. The team got 22 yards on a catch by Jacob Younger and went for it on 4th-and-1, but Jeremiah Harden was stuffed and the Cardinals got the ball back.
Louisville then held the ball for over eight minutes in a 90-yard march and the 14th play of the drive saw Bridgewater take the ball into the end zone himself on a 1-yard score for a 28-14 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter.
FIU again failed on a fourth down play, but Bridgewater was picked off by Chuck Grace and FIU got the ball back at the Louisville 32. Six plays later, Hilliard found Jacob Younger for a 4-yard score to make it a 28-21 game with just under five minutes to play.
Louisville had to punt after failing to get a first down, but a roughing the kicker call on FIU gave the team a fresh set of downs, and from there the Cardinals killed the rest of the clock to hold on for the win.
Louisville wasted no time taking the lead as the team took its first touch 70 yards and put the ball into the end zone on the 13th play as Bridgewater found Nick Heuser from three yards out for a 7-0 lead with just under eight minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Golden Panthers answered with a long march of their own to tie the game. The 13-play drive covered 76 yards and was capped on a 3-yard touchdown run by Darian Mallary with 2:14 to play in the first.
Early in the second quarter, FIU started the ball at its own 18 and used a good mix of run and pass plays to get down to the Louisville 5. After a 4-yard run by Harden to get the ball to the 1, Medlock snuck it in himself for a 14-7 lead with 7:08 left in the half.
After an exchange of punts, the Cardinals went 77 yards in 12 plays and tied the contest when Andrell Smith caught a 1-yard score from Bridgewater in the final minute of the half to send the game into the locker room tied at 14-all.
Both Medlock and Mallary left the game with injuries ... FIU plays at Louisiana next Saturday ... Louisville plays at Southern Miss next week ... Harden totaled 102 yards on 20 carries ... FIU won the only other meeting between these two schools, a 24-17 decision at Louisville last year.
09/23 01:15:40 ET