Louisville v. Syracuse
Nov. 10, 2012
Radio: WHAS (840 AM)
Saturday's game represents the 12th meeting between the two schools with the Cardinals holding a 6-5 advantage.
The Cardinals have won the last three meetings in the series, including a 28-20 win in the last visit to the Carrier Dome in 2010. Louisville is 3-2 all-time in Syracuse.
The Orange last defeated the Cardinals in 2008, a 28-21 decision at the Carrier Dome.
Head coach Charlie Strong is 2-0 against Syracuse and 1-0 in the Carrier Dome.
Louisville is 4-3 against the Orange as members of the BIG EAST Conference.
The Cardinals remained one of the nation's last unbeaten teams with a 45-17 win over Temple last Saturday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater tossed a career-best five touchdown passes and the Cardinals' defense forced a season-high four turnovers in the win.
Cardinals Remain One of Six Unbeatens
The Cardinals remained one of the six (Alabama, Ohio State, Kansas State, Oregon, Louisville and Notre Dame) unbeatens in the country with the win over Temple on Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals are 9-0 overall and 4-0 in the BIG EAST Conference for the first time in school history . Louisville will look to go 10-0 this Saturday at Syracuse.
Louisville is also 4-0 in the BIG EAST Conference for the first time in school history since joining the BIG EAST in 2005. The Cardinals' previous best was a 3-0 start in 2006 before falling to Rutgers in the next game.
The Cardinals won their sixth-straight game at home with the win over Temple. Louisville has won eight of its last nine games at home, with its last loss being a 21-14 decison to Pitt on Nov. 12 last season.
Need Returns and Need to Stop Returns
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 Syracuse. After nine games, the Cardinals rank 95th in kickoff returns with an average of 19.0 yards a return, while Louisville fell a little in punt returns to 102nd at 4.5 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 23.2 yards a kick return and owns the longest return of the season at 42 yards.
The Cardinals have to do a better job in stopping the kick returners, as the Cardinals rank 112th in kickoff return yardage defense, allowing 25.48 yards a return.
On the Road (Again)
After three-straight home games, the Cardinals hit the road for the first time since Oct. 13, when Louisville faces Syracuse in a huge BIG EAST test on Saturday.
The Cardinals are a perfect 3-0 this season away from home and have won six-straight games dating back to last season. Louisville won its final three road games of the 2011 season with victories at West Virginia, Connecticut and USF.
The Cardinals have fallen behind in all three road games, being out-scored 52-43 in the first half, but have shut out the opposition 31-0 in the third quarter.
Last Meeting Against Syracuse
Oct. 29, 2011 • Louisville 27, Syracuse 10
Teddy Bridgewater passed for two touchdowns, Victor Anderson rushed for 93 yards and a score and Louisville's defense stuffed Syracuse in an emotional 27-10 win.
Bridgewater's scoring passes of 42 yards to DeVante Parker just 2 minutes into the game and 2 yards to Josh Chichester with 2:36 left in the opening quarter gave Louisville's defense just enough cushion. The Cardinals held the Orange to a season-low 246 total yards and no real scoring threat a week after Syracuse knocked off then-No. 11 West Virginia 49-23.
Anderson then iced it with a 61-yard TD run down the left sideline early in the fourth quarter.
Bridgewater, a freshman making his fifth start, found former high school teammate Michaelee Harris on a 44-yard pass on Louisville's second offensive play. Two snaps later he again exposed Syracuse's secondary, finding Parker wide open down the left side to make it 7-0 just 2:05 in.
Cardinals Rolling in BIG EAST Play
The Cardinals raised their record to 4-0 in the BIG EAST with a 45-17 win over Temple last Saturday. It was the Cardinals' sixth-straight league win dating back to last season.
Since the Cardinals started play in the BIG EAST Conference, Louisville has put up impressive numbers. The Cardinals are averaging 37.8 points per game, scoring more than 27 points in each of the four league games, including 40 or more points on two occasions.
Louisville is throwing the football all over the field through the four league contests, averaging 328.8 yards and 15.6 yards per completion. During that span, the Cardinals have also totaled an average of total offense.
Louisville is out-scoring the opposition 45-14 in the third quarter of league games. In the win over Temple on Saturday, the Cardinals blanked the Owls 14-0 in the third stanza.
Since beginning conference play, sophomore Teddy Bridgewater has been on fire, completing 67.0 percent of his passes and throwing for 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns. In four league games, Bridgewater is averaging 325.0 yards through the air and has thrown just one interception in 120 throws.
Pryor Having All-America Type Season
Sophomore Calvin Pryor is having an outstanding season for the Cardinals as one of the leaders in the secondary. Pryor leads the team with 69 tackles, two interceptions and four forced fumbles.
Pryor has had eight or more tackles in six of the nine games this year, including three games where he totaled nine. He was credited with eight last Saturday in the win over Temple.
As a true freshman last season, Pryor recorded 43 tackles and two interceptions. In two seasons, Pryor has registered 112 tackles and four interceptions in 22 career contests.
Cardinals Register Nine Wins Again
The Cardinals raised their record to 9-0 for the first time in school history with a 45-17 win over Temple. It's the first nine-win campaign since 2006 when the Cardinals finished the year at 12-1. The 9-0 start is just the 11th nine-win season in school history.
With the Saturday game at Syracuse, the Cardinals have an opportunity for a 10-win or more season for just the fourth time in the history of the school. The Cardinalswon ten or more games in: 2006 (12-1); 2004 (11-1); 2001 (11-2) and 1990 (10-1-1).
Cardinals Better in Second Half
It seems like Charlie Strong's teams get better during the second half of the season. With a 45-17 win over Temple, the Cardinals raised their record to 14-8 in October and November. Playing its first game in November this year, Louisville is 6-3 under Strong over the last three years and have won five of the last six games in the calendar's 11th month.
With the win over Temple on Saturday, the Cardinals registered their most wins since the 2006 team went 12-1 and recorded a victory in the Orange Bowl.
The Cardinals have won nine or more games in a season just 10 times in school history.
By forcing four more turnovers on Saturday in the win over Temple, the Cardinals are +9 in turnover margin and are 14th in the country in that category. After recording a +3 mark over the first two seasons under Charlie Strong, the Cardinals have been careful with the football and have been outstanding at forcing fumbles.
The Cardinals are tied for 14th in the country in fumbles recovered, getting 11 so far through the first nine games. The Cardinals have only six interceptions, which ranks 80th in the nation.
Louisville has done a great job of protecting the football during its nine-game winning streak, turning the football over just eight times all season. The Cardinals didn't turn the ball over in the 45-17 win over Temple - the third game with no turnovers. The Cardinals have turned the ball over just four times in the last five games.
The Cardinals have scored first in five of the nine games of the 2012 season and are 5-0 when getting on the board first. Pittsburgh took the opening drive on Oct. 13 and USF opened the game with a field goal. Dating back to the 2011 season, the Cardinals have scored first in nine of the last 16 games. Louisville has won its last nine games when getting on the scoreboard first. Under head coach Charlie Strong, the Cardinals are a remarkable 16-4 when scoring first.
The Cardinals gave up a season-high 14 first-quarter points last Saturday in 45-17 win over Temple. Louisville is out-scoring the opposition 75-51 in the first stanza and 178-110 in the first half.
The second half is also Louisville's, where the Cardinals holds 125-91 scoring advantage, but the Cardinals are being out-scored 63-53 in the fourth quarter.
Cardinals in a Run of Close Games
In order to have an undefeated season, teams are going to have to find a way to win close games, and Louisville has done that through the last six games. The Cardinals have won their last six contests prior to the Temple game by a total of 31 points. Louisville won by five points versus North Carolina; seven points over FIU; four over FIU; 10 against Pitt; two points over USF and a threepoint victory last Friday against Cincinnati.
Louisville's margin of victory is just 11.7 this season, having won five games by a touchdown or less. Of the six undefeated teams left in the nation, the Cardinals have the lowest margin of victory total. Oregon has the top margin of victory at 34.0, while Alabama is outscoring opponents by 32.5 points per win.
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 48th in the country, allowing 148.0 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 216.0 yards on the ground in the last three games. Louisville gave up a season-high 255 yards rushing in the 45-17 victory over Temple.
The 255 yards on the ground were the most by an opponent during the three-year reign of head coach Charlie Strong. It's only the fifth time in 35 games that Louisville has allowed 200 or more yards on the ground.
Sophomore wide receiver DeVante Parker is making a game out of catching touchdown passes, totaling 11 touchdown receptions in just 40 career receptions. He recorded another score on Saturday versus Temple to give him a team-high five scores in 2012.
Parker has 11 career touchdown receptions in two seasons and is averaging an amazing 34.8 yards a touchdown reception. He has five touchdown receptions of 30 or more yards and two of 60 or more yards.
This season, Parker has averaged 44.6 yards on his touchdown receptions. He has a 75-yard touchdown reception versus Pittsburgh and a 64-yarder in the win last Friday against Cincinnati. He also owns touchdown scores of 30 and 29 yards in 2012.
Parker has 10 receptions of 20 or more yards this year and and 15 of his career 40 receptions have gone for more than 20 yards. He is averaging 23.1 a reception, which is tops in the nation.
Bridgewater on Four-Game Tear
Sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is off to a record start to the 2012 campaign. In his first nine starts, Bridgewater has thrown for 2,434 yards and 18 touchdowns, while completing a remarkable 70.4 percent of his throws.
Bridgewater raised his record to 14-5 as a starter in the win over Temple, throwing for 324 yards and a career-best five touchdowns - his eighth-straight game with a touchdown pass.
In the last four BIG EAST games, Bridgewater has put up incredible numbers. During that span, Bridgewater has averaged 325.0 yards per game and 10 touchdowns. He tossed a career-high five touchdowns, which was tied for second in school history in the win over Temple. He became the first U of L quarterback to throw for five touchdowns in a game since Brian Brohm totaled five in 2007 in a win over Middle Tennessee.
He has thrown a touchdown pass in eight-straight games since being shutout in the win over Kentucky. He has also thrown a touchdown strike in 16 of his 19 career starts.
He has 18 touchdowns this season and owns 32 in just 22 career games (19 starts). The native of Miami, Fla., needs two more touchdown passes to move into a tie for seventh on the school's all-time list. He has also thrown just four interceptions this season in 229 throws.
For his career, Bridgewater has thrown for 4,563 yards and 32 touchdowns, while tossing 16 interceptions and completing 67.8 percent of his throws.
Bridgewater began his second season at U of L as the starting quarterback for the Cardinals in a 32-14 win over Kentucky on Sept. 2. His 90.5 completion percentage was a school record, besting the old mark of 85.7 set by Stefan LeFors against East Carolina in 2004. Bridgewater completed 11 straight passes at one point of the game before throwing a pass out of bounds to avoid a sack. He opened the USF game by hitting 11-for-11 for 125 yards.
Bridgewater is tenth in career passing with 4,563 yards and is tied for eighth all-time with 32 career touchdown passes. He already ranks ninth in completions with 372.
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.
Bridgewater is averaging 13.4 yards a completion this season and has nine touchdown throws of 20 or more yards and three for more than 60 yards.
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 134 carries for 651 yards, while Perry is the team's top rusher with 703 yards on 134 carries. Perry stands 63rd in the nation in rushing with an average of 78.1 yards per game and Wright is 79th nationally at 72.3 yards per game.
After recording just one 100-yard rushing game last season, the Cardinals already have six this season. Perry and Wright each have three 100-yard games this season.
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.
Hubbell makes Big Play
Because of graduation losses, the Cardinals had to sign a tight end this year, and they did exactly that with the addition of tight end Ryan Hubbell. The product of Marion, Iowa, has been a solid addition, playing in all nine games. He is been a good target, catching nine passes for 163 yards and two scores. He is averaging 18.1 yards a catch, which is second on the team.
Hubbell shined in the win over Temple on Saturday, catching two passes for a career-high 92 yards and a touchdown. He tied the game at 14-14 in the first quarter when he raced 72 yards for a touchdown on a pass from Teddy Bridgewater.
The Louisville offense has done a better job converting in the red zone this season in the first nine contests. The Cardinals are 38-of-39 in the red zone this season, which is good for a 97 percent rate leads the entire nation. Alabama and Clemson are tied for second overall. Louisville is also not settling for field goals, converting 30 of those chances into touchdowns. The Cardinals have 20 rushing scores and 10 touchdown passes in the red zone this year
Smith Heading for 35th-Straight Start
Junior safety Hakeem Smith is the leader of the defense since taking over as a starter in 2010. Smith, a two-time All-BIG EAST performer, started his 34thstraight game at safety versus Temple on Nov. 3.
He is fourth on the team with 49 tackles and one forced fumble after the first nine contests. He registered six tackles and recovered a fumble in the win over Temple last weekend.
Last season, Smith was a first team All-BIG EAST honoree with 84 stops, which were second on the team. Smith has recorded double-digit tackle totals in five of the last 12 games and has seven games of 10 or more tackles in his career.
True Freshman Continues Fast Start
Head coach Charlie Strong thinks freshman linebacker Keith Brown is going to be something special by the time he finishes his career at Louisville. Starting in place of the injured Daniel Brown, Keith Brown is making the most of his opportunity. He is third on the team in tackles with 50 and has 27 tackles in the last three games. He recorded eight tackles in the win over Temple and forced and recovered a fumble.
In his first career start, Brown led the Cardinals in tackles with 12 and also had 0.5 tackles for loss in the win over Pittsburgh. Brown added six more tackles in the win over USF on Oct. 20 and added a career-best 13 in the win over Cincinnati on Oct. 26.