Teddy Bridgewater threw five touchdown passes and Michael Dyer had a 46-yard touchdown run to spark No. 9 Louisville to a 49-7 victory over visiting Ohio on Sunday.
Before a sellout crowd of 55,332, Bridgewater kicked off his Heisman Trophy campaign by going 23 for 28 for 355 yards. Damian Copeland and Kai De La Cruz each caught two touchdown passes, and DeVante Parker and Robert Clark had one apiece.
Dyer, the former Auburn star, debuted for the Cardinals, who outgained the Bobcats by a 615-273 margin.
It was an impressive showing for Louisville, which began with its highest preseason ranking in school history and is favored to win the new American Athletic Conference and earn another BCS bowl bid.
Bridgewater has drawn even more attention following a breakout sophomore season with 3,718 yards passing and 27 touchdowns. He completed his first nine passes for 121 yards before Copeland dropped a catchable ball down the middle.
By then Louisville was up 14-0 after Bridgewater hit Copeland for touchdowns of 34 and 19 yards.
Like last season, Bridgewater involved many targets in the offense and found them wide open much of the day. Parker was at least 10 yards past a defender when he caught a 27-yard pass for the Cardinals’ third touchdown in the second quarter. De La Cruz had 20 clear yards in front of him after catching a Bridgewater pass for a 40-yard touchdown.
Backup Will Gardner followed Bridgewater in the fourth but didn’t miss a beat, hitting De La Cruz for 30-yard touchdown for a 49-7 lead.
Senior Beau Blankenship, a 1,600-yard rusher last season for Ohio, had just 22 yards on 12 carries.
●CLEMSON 38, GEORGIA 35: Tajh Boyd threw for three touchdowns and rushed for two others, and the No. 8 Tigers sacked Aaron Murray four times to beat the visiting No. 5 Bulldogs.
Boyd had scoring passes of 77 yards to Sammy Watkins, 24 yards to Zac Brooks and nine yards to Stanton Seckinger. Boyd also added scoring runs of four and two yards to win the lone matchup of top 10 teams in college football’s opening weekend.
The Tigers took the lead for good, 31-28, on Chandler Catanzaro’s 24-yard field goal in the third quarter. Georgia had a chip-shot try for a tying kick on its next possession but couldn’t get if off after Nathan Theus’s bad snap.
Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when celebrating with a teammate following Todd Gurley’s 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
●LSU 37, TCU 27: Terrence Magee ran for two touchdowns in the second half, Zach Mettenberger threw for 251 yards with a key late score and the No. 12 Tigers beat the 20th-ranked Horned Frogs in Arlington, Tex.
Odell Beckham’s 75-yard kickoff return set up a 20-yard scoring pass from Mettenberger to Jarvis Landry with 6 minutes 9 seconds to play.
B.J. Catalon returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and scored on a 26-yard run for TCU.
●WASHINGTON 38, BOISE ST. 6: In Seattle, Keith Price threw a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes to become the school’s all-time leader, and the Huskies posted a lopsided upset of the No. 6 Broncos in Seattle.
It was the worst loss in Chris Petersen’s eight years as coach at Boise State.
Price was intercepted on his first pass but was nearly perfect from there, finishing 23 for 31 for 324 yards. Price’s 18-yard strike to Josh Perkins late in the third quarter was his 56th career touchdown pass, breaking Cody Pickett’s school record set in 2003.
●UCLA 58, NEVADA 20: Brett Hundley passed for 274 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for two more scores, leading a second-half surge for the No. 21 Bruins in Pasadena, Calif.
Jordon James rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown, and Phillip Ruhl returned a blocked punt for a short touchdown as UCLA amassed 41 points in the second half.
Shaq Evans had six receptions for 81 yards and a score for the Bruins, who piled up 647 total yards.
●NORTHWESTERN 44, CALIFORNIA 30: Collin Ellis returned two interceptions after deflected passes for touchdowns to help the No. 22 Wildcats spoil Sonny Dykes’s debut as coach of the Bears in Berkeley, Calif.
Ellis had a 56-yard return in the third quarter and took another one back 40 yards midway through the fourth to open a 10-point lead. Those were rare blemishes on an otherwise strong debut by Jared Goff, who became the first true freshman to start the season opener for the Golden Bears. He went 38 for 63 for 445 yards and two touchdowns.