By PAT EATON-ROBB
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut broadcast its basketball team’s season opener on the video board at Rentschler Field on Friday night, giving the Huskies fans something to cheer about before the football team took the field.
There wasn’t much applause after that.
UConn had only 237 yards in offense in a 31-10 loss to No. 20 Louisville.
UConn (0-8, 0-4 American Athletic Conference) has lost nine straight since upsetting the Cardinals in three overtimes last November in Kentucky.
“We had hoped that the way we practiced, our outcome would have been different,”’ said UConn quarterback Tim Boyle, who threw for 113 yards and had three interceptions. “We aren’t going to get down about it, because we took strides. But whenever we lose, it’s tough.”
The Huskies were unable to get much pressure on Louisville’s Heisman hopeful, Teddy Bridgewater. The junior completed 21 of 37 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown. He has thrown 24 touchdown passes this season and has at least one scoring pass in 21 straight games.
The win kept the Cardinals (8-1, 4-1) a game out of first place in the AAC, behind the winner of the game Saturday night between Houston and Central Florida.
Bridgewater threw just his third interception of the season in the third quarter when UConn’s Andrew Adams stepped in front of a pass.
But cornerback Terell Floyd got that back on the next play, intercepting Boyle’s pass and taking the ball back 17 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown. It was the first of two picks for Floyd.
Cardinals cornerback Charles Gaines, who had an interception for a touchdown against South Florida, also got on the board. He blocked a punt after a muffed snap, scooped it up and ran 7 yards to open the scoring. The Cardinals have outscored opponents 75-6 in the opening 15 minutes of games this season. Gaines added a second-quarter interception.
UConn’s Boyle has eight interceptions and no touchdowns in his four games since taking over from junior Chandler Whitmer.
“Yes, as a young player, he makes some decisions that, yes, he’s learning from,” UConn interim coach T.J. Weist said. “The problem is some of those decisions he makes, leading this offense, in terms of turnovers obviously cost us.”
The Huskies lone TD came on a 14-yard pass from backup Casey Cochran to Kamal Abrams with 35 seconds left in the game, in front of a mostly empty stadium.
Bridgewater led two second-quarter scoring drives. The first went 64 yards, with the junior hitting all four of his passes, including a 28-yard score to DeVante Parker, who found himself wide open over the middle after cornerback Byron Jones fell down in coverage.
The second, a 56-yarder, took just six plays. It opened with a 35-yard pass to tight end Gerald Christian, and ended with Senorise Perry’s 5-yard sweep around the right side. That gave the Cardinals a 21-3 lead, and sent many of Connecticut’s fans to the exits at halftime.
“We put so much pressure on him,” Louisville coach Charlie Strong said. “And everyone expects so much out of him. When he plays, he plays well.”
UConn took the game’s opening drive inside the Louisville 10 before tailback Martin Hyppolite fumbled. The Huskies also had a 14-play first-half drive, which ended in a 35-yard field goal with 14:54 left in the first half.
“The only chance we have is not to beat ourselves,” Weist said. “We turned the ball over, gave them early points on the punt, and gave them momentum on offense and defense. We didn’t have a chance.”
The Cardinals, who racked up 369 yards in offense, held the Huskies to 58 yards rushing.
UConn’s basketball team, meanwhile, was able to hold on and win their season opener against Maryland, 78-77, which means they now have one more win than the football team.
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