The Louisville Cardinals remain in the top 10 of every major poll and they take on Rutgers in one of their most important games of the season. On Thursday, Louisville was named a 19 point favorite by CBSsportsline.com. The inaugural AAC title can’t be won tonight, but it can be lost. Wide receiver Devante Parker is a game time decision for Louisville.
Rutgers vs. Louisville
When: Thursday October 10, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium
Last season this was a promising Big East match up. Now this is a game between to football programs in conference limbo. Still, Rutgers and Louisville are making the best of their last year in the same conference.
Rutgers has bounced back nicely after losing the first game of the season to Fresno State. The Scarlett Knights are on a four game winning streak that includes a victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Defensively, they either been really good or very bad. It depends on the day. They’ve given up 52 points twice this season. However, both of those games went into overtime. In other games, they’ve had some dominating moments. Now they take on a future first round draft choice at quarterback.
Rutgers’ pass defense is 115th in the nation. It’s likely that opponents abandon the run because they can’t get any traction on the ground. They give up more than 306 passing yards per game, and the defense may be under siege against Teddy Bridgewater.
Louisville puts up 333 yards per game through the air, but they have a balanced attack on offense. Louisville might put the game in Bridgewater’s hands early and often. If Louisville can’t run the ball against Rutgers, they won’t hesitate to use the abundant receivers in their stable.
Most of the talk and rightfully so has been about the Louisville offense. What the country is missing is how great Louisville’s defense has been. They are fourth in passing defense and fourth in rushing defense. That makes the Cardinals third overall. It also makes them a complete team on both sides of the ball.
Rutgers can put up points, but their offense shouldn’t be able to match score for score with Louisville. They’ll have to come up with a plan to grind out a victory.
A game like this always comes down to turnovers if there is an upset. Teddy Bridgewater has thrown one interception this season. He also completes 71 percent of his passes.
The Verdict: All the talk about Louisville getting shut out of the BCS title game will be all for naught if they don’t win tonight. That’s why Louisville will play their most complete game on offense tonight. We will see how strong the defense is too. They haven’t given up more than 13 points in a game this season.