October 26, 2012
Game Day: Friday Night Lights
Cincinnati v. Louisville
Oct. 26, 2012
8:06 p.m. EST
Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
Radio: WHAS (840 AM)
Friday's game represents the 52nd meeting between and the 17th-consecutive meeting the two members of the BIG EAST Conference. The series began in 1922 and the Bearcats own a 29-21-1 advantage.
The Bearcats have won the last four meetings in the series and the last two at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Louisville hasn't defeated the Bearcats at home since a 23-17 win in 2006.
The Cardinals own a 4-3 lifetime record at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium against the Bearcats, but Cincinnati owns a 13-10-1 record in Louisville.
Louisville hasn't defeated Cincinnati since the Cardinals upset the 15th-ranked Bearcats 28-24 at Nippert Stadium in 2007. This will be the first time the two schools will meet as ranked opponents.
The Cardinals raised their record to 7-0 and 2-0 in the BIG EAST with a come-from-behind 27-25 win at home over South Florida. Sophomore Teddy Bridgewater hit Eli Rogers with an 11-yard touchdown pass with 1:35 remaining in the game
Cardinals Remain One of 11 Unbeatens
The Cardinals remained one of the 11 unbeatens in the country with the win over USF on Saturday. The Cardinals are 7-0 for the first time since the 2006 season when they opened the year with eight-straight wins.
Louisville is also 2-0 in the BIG EAST Conference for the first time since the Cardinals won three-straight league games in the same 2006 campaign.
After spending a month away from home, the Cardinals won their fourth-straight game at home with the win over the Bulls. Louisville has won six of its last seven games at home with their last loss a 21-14 decision to Pitt on Nov. 12 last season.
The Cardinals are doing a great job of splitting the carries between their two top running backs in juniors Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry. Wright has a team-high 110 carries for 477 yards, while Perry is the team's top rusher with 558 yards on 107 carries. Perry stands 53rd in the nation in rushing with an average of 84.0 yards per game and Wright is tied for 81st nationally at 68.1 yards per game.
After recording just one 100-yard rushing game last season, the Cardinals already have five this season. Perry has a team-high three, while Wright has two through the first seven games.
Perry had rushed for back-to-back 100-yard games before being held to 29 yards against USF, becoming the first back since Bilal Powell had four consecutive 100-yard games in 2010.
BIG EAST Home Games
The Cardinals are beginning their eighth season as members of the BIG EAST Conference and have recorded an all-time record of 26-25 in league play after Saturday's win over USF. Louisville won the BIG EAST title in 2006 and captured a piece of the title in 2011.
In their first seven seasons as league members, the Cardinals are 15-10 in BIG EAST home games and have won three of their last four home league games.
The Cardinals are looking to go 3-0 in the BIG EAST for the just the second time in school history and the first since 2006 when they opened league play at 3-0 before falling to Rutgers.
Oct. 15, 2011 • Cincinnati 25, Louisville 16
Isaiah Pead made two quick cutbacks and ran 50 yards for the go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, rallying Cincinnati to a 25-16 victory over Louisville in the Big East opener for both teams.
The Bearcats overcame four fumbles, which they all recovered, and a costly interception thrown by Zach Collaros. Mike Evans returned an interception 63 yards for a touchdown to give Louisville a 16-7 lead with 6 seconds left in the half.
Collaros ran 1 yard for a touchdown on a fourth-and-goal, and Pead scored for the sixth straight game, sending Louisville (2-4) to its third straight loss. Pead had 151 yards on 20 carries against the Big East's top defense.
Cincinnati / Louisville Connections
Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian were on the Chicago Bears' staff in 2004.
Louisville quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson coached with Cincinnati wide receivers coach T.J. Weist at Southern Illinois from 1994-95.
Cincinnati assistant head coach/defensive line coach Steve Stripling coached the defensive line at Louisville from 2001-02.
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, wide receivers Michaelee Harris and Eli Rogers, running back Corvin Lamb and defensive back Jermaine Reve all attended Northwestern High School as did Cincinnati wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins.
U of L running back Dominique Brown attended Winton Woods with Cincinnati linebacker Maalik Bomar and defensive back Chris Williams.
Louisville defensive lineman B.J. Butler and Cincinnati defensive back Pat Lambert attended Osceola High School.
Wide receiver Jarrett Davis attended Sandy Creek with Cincinnati wide receivers Alex Chisum and Braxton Lane.
Linebacker Tyon Dixon attended Colerain High School with Cincinnati defensive backs Dylan Coombs and Andre Jones, linebacker Colin Lozier and defensive lineman Brandon Mills.
Louisville wide receiver Charles Gaines and offensive lineman John Miller attended Central High School in Miami as did Cincinnati defensive lineman John Williams.
U of L offensive lineman T.C. Klusman attended Elder High School with Cincinnati offensive lineman Austen Bujnoch, linebackers Kevin Hyland and Corey Mason and kicker Tony Milano.
Linebacker Deon Rogers and Cincinnati linebacker Jeff Luc attended Treasure Coast High School.
Friday Night Games
Dating back to 1959, the Cardinals are 13-8 alltime in Friday night football games, but have dropped four of their last five games on Friday night. Louisville defeated Rutgers 16-14 last season on Friday. The Cardinals have also dropped seven of their last nine Friday games.
Under head coach Charlie Strong, the Cardinals are 1-2 on Friday. As mentioned before, Louisville won over Rutgers, but also lost games to FIU (24-17) and Cincinnati (35-27).
Strong's Third-Straight Winning Season
When Louisville defeated USF on Saturday to raise its record to 7-0, the win secured head coach Charlie Strong's third-straight winning season. He finished his first two seasons at 7-6, ending with a bowl win in 2010 and lost to NC State in a bowl in 2011.
Strong has posted a 21-12 mark in his first three seasons at the helm, which is the best mark for a third year coach since Bobby Petrino started his career at Louisville with a 24-9 overall record after 33 games on the Louisville sideline.
Cardinals 7-0 for Only the Third Time
The Cardinals raised their record to 7-0 for the first time since 2006 and just third time in school history. The Cardinals started the 2006 season with eight straight wins before falling to Rutgers and ending the year at 12-1.
The Cardinals had only two previous seasons where they started the year at 7-0 and went on to enjoy remarkable seasons. Prior to the 2006 season, the last time the Cardinals started the year at 7-0 was in 1925, and Louisville ended the year at 8-0. Below is a list of the 7-0 starts in school history and how the Cardinals finished the year
Back in the National Rankings
Louisville made its debut in the national rankings this season in late August when the Associated Press placed the Cardinals at No. 25.
It marked the first time the Cardinals reached the rankings since the 2007 season when Louisville was ranked 18th before a loss to Syracuse dropped the out of the polls.
The Cardinals were ranked No. 23 in the AP Top 25 and No. 24 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 on Sept. 3. It marked the first time since Sept. 16, 2007 that Louisville has held a spot in both national top 25 polls (No. 18 in AP and 19th in USA Today Coaches Poll).
This week, the Cardinals remained at No. 14 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25 and No. 16 in the AP rankings. This is the highest ranking since the Cardinals were ranked ninth in both polls in 2007.
Cardinals Become Bowl Eligible
At 7-0, Louisville is bowl eligible for the third consecutive season under head coach Charlie Strong. The Cardinals have advanced to bowl games the last two seasons, losing last season to NC State in the Belk Bowl and defeating Southern Mississippi in the Beef 'O'Brady's Bowl in 2010. The Cardinals have advanced to bowl games the last two seasons and are 7-8-1 all-time in bowl games.
Cardinals Come-From-Behind Again
The Cardinals are making a habit of having to come-from-behind. Louisville has trailed or been tied at the half or have fallen behind in the third or fourth quarter in the last four games, but have come back to win all four contests.
Louisville trailed 25-21 with 3:09 to play and came back to win 27-25 on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater to Eli Rogers.
Louisville trailed Pitt 21-17 at the half before exploding for 21 third-quarter points in aa 45-35 win.
The Cardinals trailed Southern Mississippi 17-15 in the fourth quarter before scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown with 5:35 to play.
The Cardinals were tied 14-14 to FIU before going on to a 28-21 win over the Panthers.
Louisville has sold a record 43,432 football season tickets this year, shattering the previous mark of 43,300 set last year.
Louisville had two sellouts in 2010 and one last season for a total of three sellouts in the first two seasons. In the first five home dates this season, the Cardinals have sold out four games.
The Cardinals set a single-season attendance record for the last two years, averaging 50,648 in 2010 and 48,538 last season. The Cardinals are averaging 51,610 through the first four games this season.
Thirteen of the top-15 attendances in Louisville's history came in the last two seasons. A record 55,386 fans packed Papa John's Cardinal Stadium for the 2012 opener against Kentucky.
Approximately 15,000 Louisville fans traveled to Charlotte, N.C., for the 2011 Belk Bowl.
Strong in Close Games
In his three seasons at Louisville, Charlie Strong is 8-9 in games decided by seven points or less after a 27-25 win over USF on Saturday.
After winning two blowouts in their opening contests, the Cardinals defeated North Carolina 39-34; FIU 28-21 and Southern Miss 21-17 to improve to 4-0 this season in games decided by seven points or less.
Louisville was just 1-4 in 2010 with the only win coming in the 31-28 win over Southern Mississippi.
Strong was 3-4 last season after a 31-24 loss to NC State in the Belk Bowl.
The Cardinals are 3-6 in games decided by seven points or less at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The Oct. 20 win over USF was Strong's second win in a close game since a 39-34 win over North Carolina last season.
Louisville is a perfect 2-0 during Strong's three seasons at Louisville in games decided by two points or less.
Cardinals Go for Fifth Straight at Home
Louisville has won four-straight games at home to open the season and is looking for its fifth consecutive win at home for the first time since 2006.
The Cardinals are looking for their longest home winning streak since they enjoyed a 20-game winning streak from Nov. 22, 2003 to Sept. 9, 2007. The Cardinals had their 20-game streak snapped by Syracuse 38-35.
After playing in just one game last year due to injury, junior Damian Copeland is showing why he was a highly-recruited player out of Bradenton, Fla. Copeland had his best game as a Cardinal, establishing new career-highs with five receptions for 93 yards and his first collegiate score. Copeland caught a 21-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to put the Cardinals ahead 21-10.
After seven games, Copeland leads the team with 23 receptions for 262 yards and a touchdown. He entered the 2011 season with eight career receptions for 113 yards. He has caught a pass in all seven games this season, including his career-best five last week.
Pyror Taking Care of Business
Last season, safety Calvin Pryor took over about midway through the season and hasn't been out of the lineup since.
Pryor leads the Cardinals in tackles with 54 after recording eight stops for the second-straight game. He had eight versus Pitt and added eight more Saturday against USF. He forced his nation-leading fourth fumble of the season in the win over the Golden Eagles.
With his 54 tackles through seven games, Pryor ranks sixth in the BIG EAST Conference in tackles. In the win over Kentucky on Sept. 2, Pryor registered a career-best nine tackles and also forced a pair of fumbles, including one where Kentucky was going in to score to cut the Cardinals' lead to 11 points
Mauldin is making Plays
Sophomore Lorenzo Mauldin was the talk of the team coming out of spring practice, and Mauldin has taken that onto the fall, as he is becoming a dominating force from his defensive end position.
In the 27-25 win over USF, Mauldin registered a career-high six tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and forced and recovered a fumble on the same play.
In his last two starts, Mauldin has 11 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in a pair of wins.
Sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is off to a record start to the 2012 campaign. In his first seven starts, Bridgewater has thrown for 1,694 yards and 11 touchdowns, while completing a remarkable 73.4 percent of his throws.
Bridgewater raised his record to 12-5 as a starter in the win over USF, throwing for 256 yards and directed his first victory in the last three minutes of a game.
Trailing 25-21 with 3:09 to play, Bridgewater directed an eight-play, 75-yard drive and concluded it with an 11-yard pass to Eli Rogers with 1:35 to play. Bridgewater was 5-for-7 on the drive for 58 yards and also ran for 11 yards.
Bridgewater rushed 10 times for a career-high 74 yards in the win over USF, besting his previous mark of 54 yards in last season's loss at Pitt. The Miami, Fla., product is 46th in the nation in total offense and fifth in the BIG EAST with 253.71 yards per game.
He has thrown a touchdown pass in six-straight games since being shutout in the win over Kentucky. He has also thrown a touchdown strike in 14 of his 17 career starts.
He has 11 touchdowns this season and owns 25 in just 20 career games (17 starts). He has also thrown just three interceptions this season and those came in just two contests (FIU and Southern Mississippi). He has three interceptions in 188 throws.
For his career, Bridgewater has thrown for 3,823 yards and 25 touchdowns, while tossing 15 interceptions and completing 67.2 percent of his throws.
Bridgewater completed 21-of-25 passes in the win over USF. His 84.0 completion percentage is the third-highest mark in school history. He already holds the school record with a 90.5 (19-of-21) completion percentage against Kentucky.
Bridgewater is on pace to become just the fifth U of L quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in a season and the first since Brian Brohm passed for 4,024 yards in 2007. Chris Redman, Brohm, Stefan LeFors and Dave Ragone are the only Cardinal quarterbacks to throw for 3,000 yards in a season.
Penalties a Problem
n Despite posting back-to-back winning seasons, the Cardinals' biggest problem in the last three seasons have been the penalty bug. In 2010, the Cardinals ranked 111th in the country in penalties, averaging 7.92 infractions per game, while the Cardinals improved a little last season, finishing 96th in the country with a 6.92 average per game.
However, the problem still plagues the Cardinals, as Louisville was whistled for seven more penalties in the win over Pittsburgh. Louisville is averaging 6.3 penalties (66th nationally) per game through the first six contests and averages 53.3 (57th nationally) yards of penalties per game.
The Cardinals have been solid in the return game the last couple of seasons, but need to get their special teams going this week versus USF.
After seven games, the Cardinals rank 95th in kickoff returns with an average of 18.76 yards a return, while Louisville fell a little in punt returns to 84th at 6.4 yards a return.
Kai Dominguez had a season-high 30-yard punt return in the win over FIU on Sept. 22. Senior cornerback Adrian Bushell leads the team at 23.8 yards a kick return and owns the longest return of the season at 42 yards.
King of Big Plays
The Cardinals, who weren't much of a big-play offense last season, have changed that in 2012. Louisville already has 32 rushing and passing plays of over 20 yards through the first seven games. The Cardinals have nine runs of over 20 or more yards and 23 pass plays.
Sophomore wide receiver DeVante Parker, who only has 16 receptions, owns a team-high seven receptions of 20 or more yards, while junior Senorise Perry has seven plays, and senior Adrian Bushell. Damian Copeland and junior Jermey Wright each have five plays of 20 or more yards.
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