LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jawhar Jordan and Jamari Thrash each scored two touchdowns, and Louisville used a slew of explosive plays to dominate Murray State 56-0 on Thursday night for its first shutout in nearly three years.
Six days after rallying past Georgia Tech 39-34 in Jeff Brohm’s coaching debut, the Cardinals (2-0) were never challenged by the FCS-level Racers (1-1) in their home opener.
Louisville led 28-0 at halftime, with Jack Plummer threading a crossing pass to Thrash for a 73-yard scoring play and Jordan shaking a defender near the left sideline in a 72-yard TD run.
“I know our linemen are going to make those big holes happen, so I expect it right away," said Jordan, who finished with 178 all-purpose yards. "Once I saw it, I just did what I do and broke free.”
Louisville set the tone with chunk plays on its first possession as Kevin Coleman made an incredible one-handed catch for 30 yards on third and 11. Plummer later hit a wide-open Jordan for 32 yards to the 12, and Thrash took a pitch on the next snap and dashed untouched for the TD to cap a six-play, 76-yard drive.
Jordan, Louisville’s top rusher last season with 815 yards, carried seven times for 135 yards, including a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter. His 74-yard TD run against Georgia Tech provided a cushion after Louisville recovered a fumble with a one-point lead.
Thrash caught three passes for 82 yards. Plummer completed 16 of 22 passes for 247 yards with two interceptions on deep passes before giving way to four other QBs including Brock Domann and Harrison Bailey, who threw a 34-yard TD pass to Joey Gatewood.
“They've really been playmakers for us,” Brohm said about Thrash and Jordan. "We have other playmakers also, but those two have definitely stood out. We've got to continue to make sure they get touches as well as the others and continue to improve the whole receiver room, which I think we will.”
Isaac Guerendo, Amari Huggins-Bruce and Keyjuan Brown added short TD runs as Louisville outgained Murray State 690-166 and posted its first shutout since beating Syracuse 30-0 in November 2020.
Murray State's DJ Williams completed 7 of 16 passes for 68 yards. The loss comes just over a year after a 63-10 rout at Texas Tech.
“It seemed like we competed for more balls with the exception of the one long run, but we got some long runs down," Murray State coach Dean Hood said. "It felt like we were able to run the ball a little at times. But it’s hard to find positives out of a 56-to-nothing (loss).”
The Cardinals rushed for 344 yards and averaged 7.8 per carry. Guerendo, a sixth-year Wisconsin transfer, and freshman Brown each had 11 carries for 63 and 65 yards respectively along with their first touchdowns at Louisville.
Murray State: The Racers had few highlights as they never got past the Louisville 41 and turned it over on three consecutive possessions. Zayteak McGhee provided one moment by jumping to intercept Plummer's deep sideline pass, but the defense struggled against the bigger, faster Cardinals.
Louisville: The Cardinals had 11 rushing plays of at least 10 yards and eight passing plays of at least 15. That dominance allowed them to use a lot of their roster, which produced a lot of big moments, yardage and points. Louisville used nine QBs overall with five completing at least one pass as Louisville tallied 346 yards. Twelve players had at least one reception.
Murray State: At former Ohio Valley Conference foe Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Sept. 16.
Louisville: Faces Indiana in Indianapolis on Saturday, Sept. 16.