LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Eric Shelton transferred to Louisville from Florida State just so he could have games like this.
The junior ran for 129 yards and tied a Louisville record with
five touchdowns on the ground Saturday to lead the No. 22 Cardinals
to a 59-7 win over East Carolina.
"I haven't done that in a long time," said Shelton. "I was
not expecting it, but five touchdowns are great."
Shelton was a highly touted prep prospect out of Bryan Station
High School in Lexington. He chose the Seminoles, but quickly
soured with his limited role and looked for a place where he could
be the star runner. He chose Louisville, one of the schools that
had recruited him.
"When I came here three years ago, my goal was to give them a
running game," Shelton said.
Shelton now has 18 touchdowns on the ground as a Cardinal,
already ninth on the school list. He had three touchdowns in a 34-0
win over North Carolina last week and on Saturday he topped 100
yards for the fifth time in 14 games with Louisville.
"Eric is running the ball really well right now," said
Louisville coach Bobby Petrino. "He's gotten a lot of touches in
the last two games and he's made the most of it."
Louisville (4-0, 2-0 Conference USA) piled up 549 yards overall
on the nation's second-worst defense and reached 40 points for the
seventh time in 17 games under Petrino, who's in his second season.
The Cardinals, third in the nation in scoring defense, forced
five turnovers and converted three into touchdowns in their last
tuneup before an Oct. 14 date with fourth-ranked Miami.
Petrino was already thinking about the Hurricanes after
Saturday's victory, asking reporters if they knew the outcome of
Miami's game with Georgia Tech.
"We're excited about playing them," Petrino said. "I came
here to coach in games like this and our players came here to play
in games like this."
James Pinkney went 13-of-23 for 126 yards with two interceptions
for the Pirates (0-4, 0-1), who have lost nine straight games and
17 of their last 18.
"As long as you keep trying, you're not a failure. That's the
only thing you can say," said second-year East Carolina coach John
Thompson. "You can put numbers and records on it, but that doesn't
talk about your soul or what kind of a man you are."
Shelton asserted himself against the country's most porous
rushing defense midway through the first quarter. On the second
play of Louisville's second possession, Shelton found a hole up the
middle and outran East Carolina's secondary for a 67-yard
"It was a simple zone play," Shelton said. "I broke one or
two tackles and then I just took off."
The Cardinals were on the move again early in the second
quarter, but Michael Bush fumbled at the Pirates' 38. Three minutes
later, Pinkney threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Sean
Other than Shelton's long run, the Cardinals' offense sputtered
"I don't think we were sluggish. They just kind of slowed us
down," said Bush. "We just had to get our bearings."
Petrino replaced senior quarterback Stefan LeFors with freshman
Brian Brohm, a move he's made in the first half of every game this
season. This time, Brohm was a catalyst. He went 3-for-3 on a
nine-play scoring drive, which Shelton finished with a 1-yard TD
Montrell Jones returned an East Carolina punt 54 yards to set up
Shelton's third TD run, a 3-yarder, midway through the second
Pinkney fumbled on the second play of the second half, and
Shelton ended a three-play Louisville drive with another 1-yard
touchdown run. Shelton tied the single-game school record for
rushing touchdowns on a 39-yard sweep midway through the third
The Cardinals have outscored opponents 70-7 in the third quarter