LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Senorise Perry ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns and Teddy Bridgewater overcame a shaky start to pass for 250 yards and No. 7 Louisville scored on four consecutive drives to pull away from rival Kentucky for a 27-13 victory on Saturday.
The Cardinals’ defense forced three turnovers, including two in their territory to preserve a win that required more work after easy wins over Ohio and Eastern Kentucky.
Bridgewater connected with DeVante Parker for a 13-yard touchdown just before halftime that opened things up for Louisville (3-0).
Perry followed with second-half TD runs of 1 and 36 yards sandwiched around John Wallace’s 21-yard field goal that provided a cushion.
Perry finished with 100 yards on 11 carries while Bridgewater completed 16 of 28 attempts to help the Cardinals earn their third straight Governor’s Cup.
Though Louisville was less dominant against Kentucky than its past two games, the Cardinals were effective when necessary and still outgained the Wildcats 492-376.
Alex Montgomery caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Whitlow and Joe Mansour kicked two field goals for Kentucky (1-2).
For Bridgewater, Commonwealth Stadium held special significance because it was where his career took off two years ago.
In that previous visit, he relieved an injured Will Stein and directed a 24-17 victory that helped get the Cardinals started toward consecutive Big East titles, including last season’s stunning Sugar Bowl upset of Florida.
The junior returned with Heisman hopes this season.
Bridgewater got off to a slow start as Kentucky’s defense kept him and his receivers in check for much of the first half.
He began 1 of 4 for 10 yards and had just 58 yards through one quarter, looking especially out of sync in throwing behind Robert Clark after the Cardinals recovered a Whitlow fumble at the Wildcats 27.
Wallace salvaged the drive with a 36-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Even when Bridgewater seemed to get going in hitting Parker for 10 yards, the receiver fumbled and Kentucky’s Ashley Lowery recovered, setting up Mansour’s 37-yard field to tie the game.
The Wildcats’ defense closed running lanes for Michael Dyer and other Cardinals backs and even sacking Bridgewater for just the second time this season.
But Kentucky’s offense couldn’t take advantage as receivers dropped passes from Maxwell Smith — who took all but two snaps in the first half — while Raymond Sanders fumbled a handoff at the Louisville 13 late in the second quarter.
The turnover ended a chance for the Wildcats to tie the game after Bridgewater finally got untracked to hit a leaping Parker over two defenders in the left corner with 2:36 left in the half.
Dominique Brown helped set up Louisville’s first score with five straight carries for 27 yards to the Kentucky 15.
The Cardinals’ momentum continued into the second half with three more scoring drives for a 27-3 lead.
On the first, Bridgewater hit four passes for 49 yards and Perry ran three times for 29 yards, including a 1-yard score before Wallace’s second field goal from 21 yards.
Perry’s 36-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter helped put the game away for Louisville.
Smith and Whitlow combined to complete just 17 of 37 passes for 214 yards for the Wildcats.
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