November 29, 2012
Game Day: BCS bid on the line for Cards
Louisville vs. Rutgers
7:30 p.m. EST
November 29, 2012
High Point Solutions Stadium
Radio: WHAS (840 AM)
No. 23 Louisville (9-2, 4-2) closes the 2012 regular season with a visit to Piscataway, N.J. to face No. 25 Rutgers in a game that will decide the BIG EAST title and earn the league's automatic berth to a BCS bowl.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. with live coverage on ESPN with Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, David Pollack and Samantha Steele calling the game. Coverage on the Louisville Radio Network begins at 6 p.m. with Paul Rogers, Joe Tronzo and Doug Ormay. The Louisville radio Network broadcast is also available nationally on Sirius channel 112 and XM channel 197.
The Cardinals dropped their first home game and second-straight contest with a triple-overtime defeat against Connecticut on Saturday.
Rutgers leads the all-time series 7-4, but Louisville has won the last two games between the two schools. The Cardinals won 16-14 last season at Papa John's cardinal Stadium and became bowl eligible in 2010 with a 40-13 win at High Point Solutions Stadium. The cardinals are 4-3 against Rutgers since the two teams began play in the BIG EAST Conference in 2005.
Louisville is 1-4 all-time in Piscataway against the Scarlet Knights with the 40-13 win in 2010 being the only victory. The series began in 1976 and the Scarlet Knights won the first four meetings.
The Scarlet Knights knocked the cardinals from the ranks of the unbeatens in 2006 when Jeremy Ito booted a 28-yard field goal to give Rutgers a 28-25 win and drop the Cardinals to 8-1 overall.
Cardinals Likely Clinch BCS with Win
After a disappointing triple-overtime loss to Connecticut at home last Saturday, the Cardinals need a win at Rutgers to likely secure a berth in a BCS bowl game. With a win over Rutgers and a win by Cincinnati over Connecticut, there will be a four-way tie for the BIG EAST title. Cincinnati would be eliminated with a loss.
If four teams end up in a tie (Rutgers, Syracuse, Louisville and Cincinnati), a mini-conference is created between those four schools. The cardinals would be 2-1 against those three teams, as would Rutgers. The cardinals would likely go to a BCS game because they would be the highest ranked team.
If Cincinnati loses and there is a three-way tie, the same format would apply. The Cardinals would receive the berth in that scenario based on being the highest ranked team. Louisville would have beaten Rutgers and lost to Syracuse, while the Scarlet Knights would have lost to Louisville and defeated Syracuse.
Louisville / Rutgers Connections
Louisville director of community engagement and career preparations Larry Slade and Rutgers quarterbacks coach Rob Spence were on Maryland's staff from 1992-93.
Slade and Rutgers defensive line coach Jim Panagos were both a part of Maryland's staff in 1993. In addition, Panagos was a member of the team in 1992 when Slade was a coach for the Terrapins.
Louisville wide receiver Kai Dominguez and running back Kamal Hogan attended St. Joseph's Regional as did Rutgers linebacker Steve Beauharnais.
U of L tight end Ryan Hubbell attended Iowa Western Community College as did Rutgers center Dallas Hendrikson.
Cardinals drop in Rankings
With the 23-20 triple-overtime loss to Connecticut on Saturday, Nov. 24, the Cardinals fell to 23rd in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and out of the Associated Press Poll. The Cardinals dropped eight spots in the USA Today poll and nine places in the AP after their loss to Syracuse on Nov. 10. Louisville was ranked as high as 10th in the USA Today and 11th in the AP polls.
Louisville has been ranked in some poll for the last 13 weeks. They started the year 25th in the preseason AP Poll and made its first appearance in the USA Today coaches Poll on Sept. 4.
Looking for double digits
With its 9-2 record, Louisville is within one win of reaching a double-digit win plateau for only the fourth time in school history. With a win over Rutgers on Thursday, the cardinals would gather their 10th win of the season.
The cardinals won 11 games in 2001 and 2004 to claim conference USA titles. The 2006 squad won a school-record 12 games and were victorious in their first BCS Bowl Game - a 24-13 win over Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl.
Cardinals Guaranteed Another Winning Campaign in 2012
Louisville's 27-25 victory versus South Florida on Oct. 20 was the cardinals' seventh victory in the 2012 campaign. The win guaranteed Louisville a winning season this fall, extending a solid run of success under head coach Charlie Strong. The winning season in 2012 is the Cardinals' third straight under Strong and the 19th winning season in the past 25 years for Louisville.
Cardinals Going Bowling Again!
At 9-2, 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.
Bridgewater efficient in the passing Game
Thanks to a 68.8-percent completion percentage and 161.22 passing efficiency this season, teams must certainly be on the lookout for Teddy Bridgewater in the passing game. Bridgewater currently ranks fifth in school history with 438 career completions and is already eighth with 5,318 yards. He is second all-time in career completion percentage, completing 66.9 percent of his throws.
Bridgewater's pass efficiency rating this season ranks sixth in the country and he is one of three underclassmen in the top 10. Bridgewater is one of only eight quarterbacks in the country with a rating of over 160.0.
Wright and Lamb take over Running Back duties
Due to the fact that leading rusher Senorise Perry was lost for the season to a knee injury, the Cardinals will rely on junior Jeremy Wright and redshirt freshman Corvin Lamb.
Wright has rushed a team-high 164 times for 723 yards and nine touchdowns, while Lamb has carried five times for eight yards and a touchdown.
Wright has two 100-yards rushing games, going for 105 yards and three touchdowns versus Kentucky and 100 yards and one score against Temple.
Wright is one of the team's top receivers, catching 33 passes for 265 yards. He caught a career-best nine passes for 72 yards in the loss to Connecticut. lamb caught one pass and raced 53 yards for a touchdown in a loss to Syracuse on Nov. 10.
With at least two games to play, the Cardinals have already thrown for more yards this season than they did in 13 games a year ago. Through 11 games in 2012, the Cardinals have passed for 3,261 yards, which is more than the 2,749 yards last year.
The Cardinals are ranked 26th in the country in passing offense and have thrown for 3,261 yards this season, which is the ninth-most in school history and the most for the Cardinals since 2007 when they threw for 4,103 yards.
The Cardinals have thrown for more than 300 yards six times this year and over 400 yards twice. Louisville has thrown the ball 385 times, which is also the most since 2007.
Cardinals Need Running Game
The cardinals have turned into a throw first offense the last couple of weeks, and that's not Louisville football under head coach Charlie Strong. Louisville has rushed for a total of 75 yards combined in the last two contests. The cardinals rushed for 27 yards in the loss to Connecticut and 48 versus Syracuse. The cardinals have dipped to 91st in the country in rushing offense at 134.8 yards per game.
Louisville has thrown the football 115 times over the last two games, which isn't a good sign for the cardinals. Louisville threw the ball 65 times in the loss to Connecticut, which was the most since throwing 65 times in a loss to Syracuse in 2007. In the loss to Syracuse on Nov. 10, the cardinals threw the football 50 times.
The Cardinals are 2-4 under Strong when throwing the football 40 or more times in a game, including a 1-2 mark this season. Louisville threw the ball 40 times in a win over Missouri State. On the flip side, the Cardinals are 7-2 under Strong when running the ball 40 or more times in a game.
Need to Stop Run in League
The Cardinals have consistently been one of the best teams in the league and the nation over the last couple of years against the run. However, this season has been different as the cardinals are 60th in the country, allowing 159.1 yards per game.
Louisville has had its issues since starting league play in stopping the run. after yielding just 93 yards in the league opener against Pittsburgh, Louisville has given up an average of 194.7 yards on the ground in the last five games. Louisville gave up a season-high 278 yards rushing in the 45-26 loss at Syracuse and 149 yards in the loss to Connecticut.
The 278 yards on the ground were the most by an opponent during the three-year reign of head coach Charlie Strong. It's only the sixth time in 36 games that Louisville has allowed 200 or more yards on the ground.
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 three starts, Mauldin has 11 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in a pair of wins. The sophomore from Atlanta, Ga., is tied for 75th in the nation in sacks at .56 per game. He returned to action for the first time against Connecticut after missing two games.
The Need to Get off the Field
One of the biggest problems facing the Louisville defense this season is the inability to get off the field on third down. Louisville ranks 90th in the nation in third down defense, allowing the opposition to convert on 44 percent of their conversions. That was evident against Syracuse on Nov. 10, the Cardinals were not able to get off the field. Syracuse converted an amazing 14-of-19 chances in the 45-26 loss.
Louisville was outstanding in the loss to Connecticut, holding the Huskies to just 3-for-15 on third down.
The Cardinals are one of the best in the country in stopping their opponents on fourth down. The opposition is has been stopped 4-of-18 times, which ranks as the fifth-best percentage in the nation.
100-Yard Rushers Becoming Common
The cardinals have given up six 100-yard rushers this season and five straight after Connecticut's Tyle McCombs rushed for 133 yards on Nov. 24. The cardinals gave up 100-yard rushers in wins over Cincinnati and USF.
Louisville gave up 102 yards on the ground to FIU's Jeremiah Harden in the 28-21 win on Sept. 22. Harden carried 20 times to become the first player to rush for 100 yards on the cardinals since Cincinnati's Isiah Pead, who ran for 151 yards in a win for the Bearcats last season at Paul Brown Stadium.
The Cardinals went a span of 11 games without giving up a 100-yard rusher. Southern Mississippi's Desmond Johnson missed the century mark by running for 99 yards.
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