MIAMI (AP) — For Louisville, all the big plays seemed to come in one big wave. And it was more than enough for the Cardinals to put Florida International away on Saturday night.
James Quick caught two long touchdown passes from Will Gardner in a span of 45 seconds, Gerod Holliman had interceptions on consecutive plays and ran one of them back for a score, and the Cardinals had little trouble on the way to a 34-3 win over FIU on Saturday night.
Holliman's interceptions and the two Gardner-to-Quick connections came in a span of just over 4 minutes, as Louisville turned a 7-0 lead into a 28-0 margin.
"That's something we were looking for, try to get some big plays and get the ball down the field a little bit," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. "So we were able to get that done. That's a positive."
Quick finished with 174 yards — 111 of them on the TD grabs — on seven catches for the Cardinals (3-1), who got a touchdown run from L.J. Scott.
Gardner threw for 295 yards, but he and Scott both left the game with injuries. Scott had X-rays on an injured right ankle that were negative, but he left with the aid of crutches and a walking boot nonetheless. Gardner tweaked a knee and was ruled out for the night, but Petrino did not indicate that the injury was serious.
FIU also lost its starting quarterback, when Alex McGough was replaced in the third quarter after his third turnover of the night. McGough had a bruised knee but could have returned, FIU coach Ron Turner said.
Louisville's 28-0 lead gave the Cardinals what was 100 unanswered points in the series after topping FIU 72-0 last season. Austin Taylor kicked a 28-yard field goal on the final play of the first half for FIU (1-3).
Kickoff was delayed 1 hour, 5 minutes because of severe weather in the area. The Cardinals munched on peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches in their locker room while waiting to get on the field, and clearly weren't lacking for energy when the game started — taking the kick and, aided by a fourth-down conversion, going 58 yards on 10 plays.
Scott capped that drive with a 1-yard TD run, and the Cardinals were on their way.
Holliman jumped a short route to intercept a pass from McGough and went 32 yards unbothered for a touchdown, the first time FIU's true freshman quarterback was picked off this season.
For good measure, Holliman — one of several players from the Miami area on the Louisville roster — got McGough again on his very next throw as well.
"I'm just out there having fun," Holliman said.
Petrino said Holliman's instincts were on full display.
"He did a great job there," Petrino said. "They ran that play earlier and got a completion on it, so his recognition of the formation and the play ... it's great to see him have the success."
Quick caught a 74-yard pass from Gardner late in the half to blow things open, and after a three-and-out where Louisville burned time-outs to keep the FIU possession to a mere 29 seconds, Quick and Gardner connected again — this time from 37 yards, pushing the Cardinals' lead to 28-0.
E.J. Hilliard replaced McGough and completed 8 of 12 passes for 70 yards for FIU, while McGough was 5-for-13 for 47 yards.
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