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Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich stood on the sidelines at Kentucky's Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, soaking up the Cardinals' 56-28 victory over the Wildcats and singing the praises of second-year coach John L. Smith. "He's a miracle worker, there's no question," said Jurich, who hired Smith away from Utah State. "These are the same kids who went 1-10 two years ago, the same kids who started 0-2 last year. When John came here, we were in dire straits. Now look at us: We just beat an SEC team in its newly expanded stadium on the day they retired Tim Couch's number. We have a Heisman Trophy candidate and the best offense in the nation."
The Cardinals, ninth in the nation in total offense, racked up 518 yards against the Wildcats as Heisman candidate quarterback Chris Redman completed 30 of 40 passes for 324 yards and five touchdowns. Four Louisville receivers caught at least six passes, and senior tailback Frank Moreau rushed 20 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
This outburst was in stark contrast to the Cardinals' performance in last year's season opener, in which they had trouble running the complex variation on the West Coast offense that Smith favors. Louisville dropped that game, to Kentucky, and lost its next one, to Utah. But the Cardinals amassed 919 yards total offense in their next two games and won six of their last eight to finish at 7-4. Redman flourished in the pass-first attack, throwing for 4,042 yards and 29 touchdowns as Louisville led the nation in total offense with 559.6 yards per game.
"The scary thing is, we could be much better this year," Redman said on Saturday. "We really weren't comfortable with the offense until midseason last year. The first few games we were just running around, not completely sure where everyone was supposed to be. Now we feel that we can move up and down the field at will."
SMU and TCU are expected to announce soon that they are leaving the Western Athletic Conference for Conference USA. South Florida, a C-USA member in other sports, will move up to Division I-A in football and become the league's 12th member, giving the conference enough teams to have a championship game....
Kansas State tailback David Allen, who returned four punts for touchdowns last year, needs 562 yards to become the NCAA all-time leader in career punt-return yardage. Since backup tailback Frank Murphy broke his foot July 26, Wildcats coach Bill Snyder says he has had second thoughts about risking an injury to Allen on special teams and says he probably won't use him there until Murphy is available.