Kentucky did cut the halftime deficit to 31-14 thanks to two big plays by receiver Keenan Burton, but that didn't change the way the Cardinals outclassed Kentucky. And it certainly didn't keep Louisville from rolling to a 59-28 victory - its fourth straight over UK - in the season-opening game for both teams.
Anyone who thinks merely moving this game to the third week next season is going to help Kentucky is dreaming.
Until Kentucky tackles better, blocks better and finds more speed, it's not going to beat Louisville.
"We have good players and good schemes," said Louisville running backs coach Greg Nord. "Some of us just don't talk as much about our recruits as others do. But we've got a lot of good players that sometimes people don't talk much about."
Louisville 363, Kentucky 22
One statistic defines this game. Rushing yardage: Louisville 363, Kentucky 22. That's one reason the Cardinals had 45 offensive plays in the first half to UK's 22.
The Cardinals did that even though star running back Michael Bush went down with a season-ending broken leg early in period three after gaining 128 yards on 17 carries.
However, other than briefly stunning the raucous Louisville fans, it didn't slow down the Cardinals as they amassed 631 yards of total offense, including 268 passing yards by Brian Brohm.
"This is one of your worst nightmares," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "We did not play as physical as Louisville. They took the fight to us."
Not only did they take the fight to Kentucky, the Cardinals pummeled the Wildcats in the fight. Pick any position. Louisville was better.
"We knew they were good. We knew that coming in. I am just disappointed that we did not show up and play," Brooks said.
Kentucky fans obviously are going to feel the same way. Forget all the preseason hype about this being a potential bowl team and making it easy for UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart to bring back Brooks for a fifth year.
The critics are going to be out in force after UK's lackadaisical start and lack of physical play.
So was this a step back for UK? "It was not a step forward," Brooks quickly answered. "We did not play, in my opinion, to our capability. Give Louisville credit and give me the blame."
Some bright spots
The Cats did find some bright spots. Keenan Burton validated his preseason belief that he could be a big-play producer with a touchdown catch of 73 yards and another 42-yard catch to set up UK's second score. He also had a 100-yard kickoff return for a score in the second half.
"That's all nice, but it doesn't mean that much when you don't win," Burton said.
Sophomore Dicky Lyons finally fulfilled some of his pre-college expectations by making his first two collegiate touchdown catches, including an 80-yard bomb in the third quarter.
That was the eighth longest reception in UK history (his father, Dicky Lyons Sr., has the second longest reception of 92 yards).
"I just hope this keeps Dicky going because he could be a huge help to us," UK offensive coordinator Joker Phillips said.
And despite the final score and awful start, quarterback Andre Woodson did show he could be better than last year. After a shaky first quarter, he stood in the pocket better and had a nice touch on most of his passes.
Woodson, who was 9-for-24 passing for 231 yards, even managed to scramble away from pressure a few times and avoid the sacks that plagued him last year. He missed some receivers, but most of his problems came from a lack of protection by what was supposed to be a much better offensive line.
"It's obvious the guy is capable of making plays," Brooks said. "We just have to find some help for him."
Time to borrow players from the Cardinals?
Actually, Kentucky has to find a lot of help - or borrow players from the Cardinals - or a season that was supposed to be different from the last two is not going to be much better based on what the Cats showed here.
The best hope for UK is that No. 13 Louisville is vastly underrated. If not, then the best thing Kentucky did in the offseason was talk because the Cats' play in this game certainly left little reason to believe this season is going to be anywhere close to as good as the UK players predicted it was going to be.