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Malik Cunningham rallies Louisville to victory over UCF

The Cardinals outscore the Knights 13-0 in the second half.
Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham (3) runs for a 43-yard touchdown past the UCF defense, including defensive end K.D. McDaniel (47), during the second half Friday night.
Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham (3) runs for a 43-yard touchdown past the UCF defense, including defensive end K.D. McDaniel (47), during the second half Friday night. [ JOHN RAOUX | AP ]
Published Sep. 10|Updated Sep. 10

ORLANDO — Malik Cunningham used his arm and his legs to get Louisville’s season on track.

The redshirt senior quarterback threw for 195 yards and rushed for 121 more, including a 43-yard scoring run in the third quarter, to lead Louisville to a 20-14 victory over UCF.

The Cardinals (1-1) outscored the Knights 13-0 in the second half. Tiyon Evans rushed for 75 yards and a touchdown and Tyler Hudson had three catches for 67 yards.

UCF (1-1) scored touchdowns on two of its first three possessions, but struggled to get much going the rest of the way. The Knights had their best scoring chance with 2:52 remaining in the fourth quarter but quarterback John Rhys Plumlee was intercepted in the end zone by Jarvis Brownlee.

Plumlee was 16 for 34 passing for 131 yards and rushed for 83 yards, but he was sacked four times. Isaiah Bowser rushed for 51 yards and two touchdowns.

The takeaway

Louisville: The Cardinals recovered from a poor effort in a 31-7 loss to Syracuse last week. Cunningham wasn’t perfect, but showed a lot of toughness and leadership in guiding the offense to 421 yards. Louisville wants to be a threat in the ACC and now has some momentum going into next week’s home opener against Florida State.

UCF: The Knights need to address their inconsistencies on offense and that starts with Plumlee. The Ole Miss transfer is a threat with his legs, but once Louisville’s defense adjusted and forced him to throw from the pocket he could not deliver. It’s a disappointing result for a team that was hoping to run the table.

Up next

Louisville: The Cardinals will host Florida State next Friday.

UCF: The Knights are at Florida Atlantic next Saturday

By COREY LONG, Associated Press

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