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FIU loses 72-0 at No. 7 Louisville
By: Staff  Writer - AP
Published: 9/21/2013  at  5:40:27 PM
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Florida International returned to the scene of its biggest win and was handed a reminder of how far the program has fallen in two years.

The winless Panthers were held to a school-record two first downs and 30 yards in a 72-0 loss at No. 7 Louisville on Saturday.

``We didn't give our defense a chance at all,'' first-year FIU coach Ron Turner said. ``Offensively, that was the worst performance I've ever been associated with and it started right at the beginning.''

FIU (0-4) also had a record-low 43 offensive plays. The previous yardage low was 65 against Western Kentucky in 2002, and the two first downs were four fewer than the Panthers gained at Alabama in 2006.

FIU didn't record a first down until its fifth possession. When Louisville (4-0) punted for the second time with less than six minutes remaining in the second quarter, De'Andre Jasper dropped the fair catch and the Cardinals turned it into another touchdown for a 31-0 lead.

Louisville led 38-0 at the break, and Charles Gaines returned the second-half kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. Randy Harvey's block on John Wallace's extra-point attempt in the third quarter was as close as FIU would come to stopping the Cardinals.

FIU finished with minus-3 yards of offense in the second half and just 3 yards rushing in the game.

It was a much different outcome than FIU's previous visit to Louisville on Sept. 9, 2011, when the Panthers beat the Cardinals 24-17. Touchdowns of 74 and 83 yards by T.Y. Hilton on his first two catches put him on a path toward the NFL and propelled the Panthers to the school's only victory over a Bowl Championship Series conference opponent.

FIU finished 8-5 that year, which including its second straight bowl appearance, but it went 3-9 last season and remains winless under Turner, including a 34-13 loss to FCS opponent Bethune-Cookman last week. Louisville escaped with a 28-21 win in Miami last year.

Saturday's game got so out of hand that it looked as if the clock kept running following first downs and out-of-bounds plays in the fourth quarter, but Turner said he did not request a running clock.

``I just thought they were setting it (the ball) quick,'' Turner said. ``I did notice it was going quicker. First of all, I don't have the authority to request it. I wish I had the authority. I'm not saying I wouldn't have, you know, but I did not request it.''

Louisville coach Charlie Strong said both staffs agreed to play at a faster pace but said the game did not conclude with a running clock.

FIU junior safety Justin Halley said he felt the team kept fighting in the second half despite the deficit and the Panthers' focus would shift to improving before their Conference USA opener at Southern Miss on Oct. 5.

``I feel like we care; that's not the issue,'' Halley said. ``I guess it's a few other things.''

Teddy Bridgewater threw four touchdown passes in Louisville's highest scoring game since a 73-10 victory over Murray State in 2007. It also matched the school's fifth-largest margin of victory.

Bridgewater hit DeVante Parker for two TD passes and Gerald Christian and Eli Rogers for one apiece before Will Gardner came on and passed to Michaelee Harris for another score in the fourth quarter. Dominique Brown, Senorise Perry, Michael Dyer and Brandon Radcliff rushed for TDs.

Bridgewater had 212 yards on 17-of-22 passing, part of Louisville's 464-yard effort against FIU. It was another efficient performance for the junior quarterback.

Louisville has 23 players from South Florida, including Bridgewater, so the Panthers were more than familiar with the Cardinals' personnel. But they lacked the talent to keep up with Louisville.

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