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Thursday, November 3, 2011
Louisville Cardinals A breakdown of this weeks opponent and prediction.
So what team from Louisville shows up this weekend? Will it be the one defeated by both Marshall and FIU or will it be the one that beat Rutgers and soundly defeated Syracuse? Time will tell but one thing that has been consistent with Louisville is their scoring defense. For the season they are on average giving up only 16.2 points per game. Of course they are only scoring on average 17.6 points per game. Louisville's best offensive performance came last week against the Orange when they scored 27 points. Their worst defensive game came against Cincinnati where they gave up 25 points. Only 4 times this season has Louisville scored more than 16 points. Only 2 times this season has Louisville given up more than 17 points in a game. By contrast, WVU is scoring, on average, 38.6 points per game, while giving up on average 26.1 points per game. WVU's worst scoring outing came against LSU scoring only 21 points. WVU scored over 38.6 points 5 times out of 8. The Defense gave up more than 26.1 points half of the time. So which WVU defense is going to show up? Which Louisville offense is going to show up? Can WVU's offense put up more points on Louisville than any other team? If that is the case can Louisville's offense keep pace? All of these questions are going to be answered starting at 12:00 at MPC.
So who are the play-makers for the Cardinals? Charlie Strong is the MVP of this team he is playing youth all over the field on both sides of the ball while he does have some senior leadership on defense he is building a team from bottom up. This season he is simply trying to find the chemistry. He is making some progress but this team has some ways to go. Louisville will win again in the near future but right now they are in a rebuilding mode. But in true Charlie Strong fashion the Cardinals have begun that process of building this team around the concept of solid fundamentally sound and attacking defense. Look for him to have them ready to play on Saturday.
On the offensive side of the ball, Coach Strong is starting a Freshman at the quarterback position. The 6'3" 205 pound,Teddy Bridgewater has completed 63.3% of his passes this year for 1,029 yards on the season. He has thrown for seven touchdowns run for one and has thrown 6 interceptions. Much like West Virginia, Louisville Rushes the ball by committee. The three backs that touch the ball the most are Jeremy Wright, who has rushes for an average of 37.9 yards per game (It should be noted that he is a kickoff returner too and leads the team in all purpose yards for an average of 80.2 yards per game.); Vic Anderson, who averages 40.3 yards per game and has posted 2 scores; and D. Brown who has also rushed for 40.3 yards per game and has tallied one touchdown on the ground. As Louisville spreads the wealth at the receiver position it is hard to find too many that have really distinguished themselves. But the leaders for the team are M. Harris who averages 44.5 yards per game in receptions with 2 scores and Devante Parker who has tallied 4 touchdowns on the year with an average of 30.2 yards per game. As they have only passed for 12 touchdowns on the season their hasn't been any headline grabbers.
The special teams standouts are again Jeremy Wright who averages 21.1 yards per return, Eli Rogers who averages 9 yards per punt return. The punting duties have been split this year between Josh Blesser who has averaged 37.3 yards per punt, and Chris Philpot who has averaged 38.1 yards per punt. They both fall in the average range among Big East punters. The kicking duties fall to Chris Philpot who grants the opposing teams the 24 yard line on average. The field goal duties are also Chris Philpot's responsibility. He has made 8 of 12 tries with a long of 52. He has plenty of leg but has been inconsistent.
The strongest unit on the field for the Cardinals falls on the defensive side of the ball. They as I indicated above are stingy when it comes to giving up points. Charlie Strong has always been a defensive minded Coach and was one of the best defensive coordinators in the Country at his previous stops. This years team is tough minded and as I said yield few points. The play-makers on this unit are: Senior Linebacker, Dexter Heyman who has 35 solo tackles, 10 of which were tackles for loss, 3 of which were sacks, and 20 assisted tackles. He has forced 1 fumble and picked the football off twice; Senior Safety Mike Evans who has tallied two interceptions and has made 22 solo tackles, it should be further noted that last year he sacked Geno twice at Papa Johns; and the talented 254 lb., Sophomore Line backer Preston Brown, who has tallied 25 solo tackles and 30 assisted tackles this season 5 of which were for a loss and 1 1/2 were sacks. The most impressive thing about this defense is that they have played extremely well as a unit. As I pointed out above they simply don't give up too many points. While not the turnover juggernaut that Rutgers was touted to be, this unit is impressive.
This game comes down to which team imposes its will. While, I think Louisville is extremely well coached, and very solid on defense, WVU has moved the ball on the likes of LSU, I am not going to believe that they are going to be stymied by the likes of this Louisville team. For that reason I just don't think a win for Louisville is in the Cards.
WVU 39 Louisville 17
Posted by wvlawgeek at 11/03/2011 07:01:00 PM