After three games, Louisville is ranked sixth in the nation with 256.7 yards rushing per game and seventh in passing yards per game with 307. Combined, the Cardinals average 563.7 total offensive yards per game, which is good enough for first in the country. Louisville also has the No. 1 scoring offense in the land, averaging 50.7 points per game.
"This will obviously be an exciting game for us to have a chance to be able to compete against a team that we knew going into the season would be a top-10 team," coach Ron Prince said. "I've had a lot of experience in following how this team has been put together from a recruiting standpoint. Many of the players on this team I'm familiar with from recruiting back east and Louisville is as good as advertised. This is a very compelling match up and we're very excited about it. We think this is a great opportunity."
Sophomore starting quarterback Hunter Cantwell powers the Louisville offense. He took over the job against Miami last weekend after junior Heisman Trophy candidate Brian Brohm left the game with an injury that will keep him out of action for about a month. Cantwell came in early in the third quarter and led the Cardinals on two scoring drives en route to a 31-7 victory over the Hurricanes. He went 3-of-4 in the game for 113 yards, including a 45-yard pass on his first play from scrimmage and also a 39-yard touchdown pass to sophomore running back George Stripling.
Cantwell is 9-of-11 for 179 yards on the season, including one touchdown and no interceptions. Senior Kolby Smith and Stripling make up the Cardinals rushing attack.
Stripling currently leads the team in rushing this season with 201 yards and four touchdowns. He has scored in all three games this year, and is averaging 7.2 yards per carry. Smith is right behind Stripling, with his 200 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He scored twice against Miami, and will start Saturday against the Wildcats.
"They run the ball well and throw the ball well," defensive tackle Quintin Echols said. "They are one of those teams that is very balanced and when you play a team that can do everything you just have to be on your P's and Q's at all times."
The defensive side of the ball for the Cardinals is almost as good as the offense. The team ranks third in the nation in rush defense, only allowing 34 yards rushing per game. The Cardinals only give up 11.7 points per game, and wide receiver Jordy Nelson will have to contend with the speed of Louisville's defense.
"Their defense is good. Last week they held Miami to seven points, and right away that grabs your attention," Nelson said. "They are going to be really fast on defense and that is something we have seen in the Big 12 (Conference), but we will just have to prepare for that and go out and play our game and put some points on the board."