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Cantwell leads Louisville past Middle Tennessee

Oct 7, 2006 - 4:01 AM NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Hunter Cantwell did a nice impersonation of Louisville star quarterback Brian Brohm.

Cantwell passed for three touchdowns as the No. 8 Cardinals overcame an early deficit to post a 44-17 victory over Middle Tennessee.

Cantwell completed 17-of-32 passes for 340 yards and one interception as the Cardinals improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1993. The 6-5, 230 pound sophomore replaced Brohm at quarterback after the All-American candidate tore ligaments in his right thumb in a 31-7 win vs. then-No. 15 Miami on September 16.

"Hunter got better in the game," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. "I think that's one thing that will really help us down the road. He started throwing the ball well."

After the Blue Raiders took a 10-3 lead on a 23-yard field goal by Colby Smith, Cantwell threw a 68-yard TD to Mario Urrutia with six seconds left in the first quarter.

Urrutia caught four passes for 134 yards, and his 25-yard touchdown reception with eight seconds remaining in the half gave the Cardinals a 23-10 halftime lead. The 6-6, 220 pound receiver has four touchdowns this season, three coming from over 50 yards.

"You can get away with things that you normally can't with other receivers because of Mario's height, his speed and the stride that he has," Cantwell said. "He just brings that all to the table."

"I definitely think people underestimate my speed," Urrutia said. Once they get on the field, they find out."

Louisville placekicker Art Carmody kicked three field goals, and his 31-yard boot four minutes into the game gave the Cardinals an early 3-0 lead.

Clint Marks was 17-for-33 for 167 yards and a touchdown for Middle Tennessee (3-3), which has never beaten a ranked team since joining Division I-A in 1999.

"What are we, the 100th team in the country and they're the No. 8 team in the country?" Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill said. "I'm disappointed, but I thought our guys fought their tails off."

Damon Nickson gave the Blue Raiders a 7-3 lead when he returned a kickoff 88 yards for a score with 10:37 remaining in the opening period.

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