The Day of Battle Has Arrived

Game preview of the Cards vs. Cats includes notes, quotes and statistical comparison of today's showdown.

September 5, 2004 | 3:30 p.m.
Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
ESPN2 | 840 WHAS


Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino

On QB Stefan LeFors:  Stefan is a calming influence for our team. He's very confident and plays with a lot of poise and he's done a nice job of leading since I've been here. He's a very accurate passer, always makes good decisions and he understands the offense and distributes the ball to the open man and doesn't try to force things. Basically, you can trust where the ball is going to go any time he's out there.

On the game:  It's different. Last year we were the underdog. This year we have a lot of players coming back. We've done a nice job of concentrating in practice and everyone is real excited for it. I think it is going to be a really good game. It should be a real good battle because they guys that can make big plays and we have guys that can make big plays. I'm interested to see how their offense and our defense matchup.

On Kentucky's defense:  As I watched Kentucky's defense [last year] and saw how much they improved week in and week out last year throughout the season. All of those guys are back, so I think it's a good challenge for our offense. I think it'll be a real good battle.


Kentucky Head Coach Rich Brooks

Shane Boyd (UK)
On QB Shane Boyd:  I think he's doing very well. He has a very good grasp of the offense, and he's in better shape than he was a year ago. He's lighter than he was a year ago. We'll find out how he is Sunday when we get him in the whole game.

On whether Louisville's offense or defense is the greatest cause for concern:  They both pose a concern. Offensively, they've got a lot of great weapons coming back. They had one of the most productive offenses in the country a year ago, and they return most of the people responsible for that. Their quarterback is a great playmaker, a great leader, and just a heck of a quarterback. They have an experienced offensive line, great running backs, and fast, talented receivers. We're missing a few healthy bodies on the defensive side even though our depth is improved in some areas. It's still a concern when you go in without a starting linebacker, a starting corner and an injured all-SEC defensive lineman. So, that is a concern. Their offense is explosive, so we have to deal with it. Defensively, we don't know exactly what they're going to do because they have a new defensive coordinator. So, we're going to have to be flexible early in the game and try to get a bead on how they're trying to defend us and make some adjustments.

On the Rivalry:  It really hasn't changed. I knew it was important. I've lived a year of hearing about how we got our fannies kicked. It wasn't a fun year, not only from that standpoint, but also from having four wins. Obviously, this is a very important football game. I don't think anybody has to nudge me and tell me that.




  • Louisville is looking to win its seventh straight game in the month of September.

  • The Cardinals offense returns nearly intact, including the school's single season receiving yards record holder in J.R. Russell and the Conference USA 1st Team quarterback, Stefan LeFors.

  • Eric Shelton (ITV)
  • The running back group of Kolby Smith rushed for a combined 2,241 yards during the 2003 season. The team total of 2,966 yards of last year was the most in school history.

  • The Cardinals 6,355 total offensive yards last year was also the most in school history for a single season, surpassing the previous mark of 6,156 set by the 1998 squad.

  • U of L racked up 420 yards of offense against UK in 2003, including 240 on the ground.

  • Kentucky quarterback Shane Boyd has attempted one pass against the Louisville defense in his career. Gavin Smart intercepted Boyd's only pass and returned it 41-yards and setting up an eventual Cardinal touchdown.


  • Kentucky has won 2 of 3 meetings against Louisville at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The Wildcats have outscored the Cardinals 124-91 in the three games held in Louisville.

  • UK has eight players from Louisville including: WR Matt Huff.

  • UK has an all-time record of 78-30-5 in season openers, but is just 6-13-1 when starting the season on the road.

  • Defensive end Sweet Pea Burns, who has been limited during fall camp because of an injury, is on the Bronko Nagurski Award Watch List, an award given to the nation's top defensive end.

  • Offensive guard Jason Rollins was named a 3rd Team Preseason All-American and 1st Team All-SEC by Phil Steele's College Football Magazine.

  • The Wildcats top rusher, Arliss Beach only gained 366 yards in 2003.

  • First year starting quarterback Shane Boyd averaged 6.0 yards per carry last fall.

(2003 statistics)

  Louisville Kentucky
Rushing Offense 228.2 125.1
Passing Offense 260.7 202.2
Total Offense 488.8 327.2
Scoring Offense 34.6 27.3
Rushing Defense 170.3 186.7
Passing Defense 258.3 195.6
Total Defense 428.6 382.2
Scoring Defense 27.8 26.8
Net Punting 36.2 39.9
Punt Returns 9.2 10.2
Kickoff Returns 18.4 22.9
Turnover Margain +3 +3

Tentative Starter Experience Comparison
U of L 9 9 4 0 0
UK 6 11 5 0 0

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