WEST POINT, New York (Ticker) -- Louisville got an outstanding performance from its special teams. In five days, it will need a special performance from quarterback Dave Ragone.
Damien Dorsey and Joshua Tinch had special teams touchdowns 90 seconds apart in the second quarter as Louisville overcame a ho-hum showing by Ragone in a 45-14 Conference USA victory over Army.
Considered a dark horse for the Heisman Trophy at the start of the season, Ragone has struggled a bit behind an inexperienced offensive line. In this one, he completed just 15-of-29 passes for 240 yards and one touchdown before taking a seat in the second half.
In a nationally televised game Thursday night, the Cardinals (2-2, 1-0 C-USA) will be underdogs as they host unbeaten No. 5 Florida State, a matchup that will pit Ragone against Chris Rix.
At least Louisville could not be accused of looking ahead. It held Army (0-3, 0-1) without an offensive touchdown until less than three minutes remained and allowed just 140 total yards.
The Cardinals already held a 10-0 lead when Dorsey returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown two minutes into the second quarter. On the next possession, they forced a punt and blocked it, with Tinch falling on it in the end zone for a 24-0 lead.
Ragone threw an eight-yard TD pass to Donta Spillman with 4:33 left in the first half, boosting the advantage to 31-0.
The only score of the third quarter was an 88-yard fumble return by Army's Ryan Kent. Louisville responded in the final period with Henry Miller's second one-yard TD run and a five-yard scoring jaunt by T.J. Patterson.
Spillman caught seven passes for 128 yards and Dorsey added five for 79 for the Cards, who totaled 446 yards and easily overcame 17 penalties. Ragone had 62 yards on eight carries and Miller added 56 on 20.
Matt Silva was 8-of-16 for 91 yards and a TD for the Black Knights, who managed just 26 rushing yards. Silva came on for Zac Dahman, who started for the injured Reggie Nevels and was just 3-of-12 for 23 yards.
Louisville improved to 4-3 in the all-time series with its first win at West Point.