Preview: Louisville vs. Eastern Kentucky

Louisville (0-1) hopes to rebound from a 23-16 season-opening loss to Kentucky against Eastern Kentucky (0-1) Saturday afternoon at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

-- The University of Louisville football team remains home to face another in-state foe when the Cardinals host Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, Sept. 11 at 3:30 p.m. The game will be shown live on WHAS-TV in Louisville. This will be the first meeting between the two schools since the Cardinals defeated the Colonels 24-14 in 1991.
-- The Cardinals will look to rebound after a tough 23-16 loss at home to arch-rival Kentucky in front of a sold-out crowd at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Louisville trailed 20-6 at the half before mounting a spirited comeback to get within a score.
-- Senior running back Bilal Powell contributed most of the off ense for the Cardinals in the loss to Kentucky, running for a career-high 153 yards on 16 carries, including a career-long 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
-- After allowing Kentucky to rush for 156 yards in the first half, the Louisville defense limited the Wildcats to just 74 yards on the ground in the second half. Sophomore Shenard Holton recorded a career-best nine tackles in the loss.
-- The Colonels dropped their season-opener 31-9 to Missouri State on Friday. The game was scheduled for Thursday night, but severe weather postponed the game until the following evening.

Eastern Kentucky and Louisville meet for the 26th time in the program's history with the Cardinals owning a 16-8-1 overall advantage. The teams have not met since a 24-14 Louisville victory at Old Cardinal Stadium in 1991. Louisville's last loss to a I-AA school was to EKU when the Colonels defeated Louisville 45-21 in 1985. The Cardinals are 9-3-1 all-time at home against the Colonels and have won eight of the last nine meetings overall in the series.

Charlie Strong seeks his first win vs. EKU.
Trying to Rebound After UK Loss
The Cardinals dropped their fourth straight game to Kentucky in the 23-16 loss last Saturday.
Since the series resumed in 1994, Louisville has dropped eight games to the Wildcats. Furthermore, Louisville is just 2-5 in games following losses to the Wildcats. The last win following a UK loss came in 2008 when the Cardinals defeated Tennessee Tech 51-10 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Last season, after the Cardinals 31-27 defeat at Commonwealth Stadium, Louisville went on the road to fall at Utah 30-14.

Non-League Success at Home
The Cardinals have been stellar at home against non-conference foes since moving into Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in 1998. Louisville is a solid 28-7 all-time against non-league opponents in the last 12 seasons and have won six of the last eight home games against non-league opponents.

Louisville's last home loss against a non-conference opponent was Saturday's 23-16 loss versus Kentucky.

Cardinals Need to Create Turnovers
Charlie Strong coached team's have done a great job over the years turning the football over, and the Cardinals could definitely use some of Strong's infl uence in creating turnovers. Louisville ranked 99th in the country last season in turnovers forced with just 17 (10 interceptions and seven fumbles recovered). Louisville also ranked 91st in 2008 with just 18 turnovers forced. Louisville didn't record a turnover in the loss to Kentucky on Saturday.

Need More Pressure on Quarterback
If the Cardinals are going to be better on defense, Louisville must do a better job of getting pressure on the quarterback. Louisville was 58th in the country in sacks, recording just 23 in 12 games a year ago and failed to record a sack in the opener versus Kentucky. However, the Cardinals did harass Mike Hartline for much of the game, but never recorded a sack.

Start Streaks
When the Cardinals took the field in the season on Sept. 4 against Kentucky, there were a number of players who extended consecutive start streaks. Senior wide receiver Doug Beaumont started his 25th straight game, while senior cornerback Johnny Patrick has a string of 15 straight starts at cornerback dating to the 2008 season, while Greg Scruggs has made 15 straight starts and center Mario Benavides has started 13 straight.

Cardinals Shine on Special Teams
The Cardinals played well in all three phases of the game on Saturday, but what was evident was the play on special teams. After one game, the Cardinals rank third in the nation in kickoff return average (45.50) and seventh in punt returns (28.0). Junior Victor Anderson is currently second in the country in kickoff return average at 45.50 yards a return, while senior Doug Beaumont is averaging a solid 28.00 yards a punt return.

Five Freshmen Make Debut
Head coach Charlie Strong took the red-shirt off five true freshmen in Saturday's loss to Kentucky.
-- Linebacker Marcus Smith, who started out at quarterback in August, made the switch to linebacker over the last couple weeks and started at the joker position on Saturday.
-- Defensive end B.J. Butler played a significant amount of snaps on Saturday and recorded one tackle at end.
-- Linebacker Preston Brown also recorded one tackle in his collegiate debut on Saturday.
-- Defensive tackle Brandon Dunn played at defensive tackle.
-- Wide receiver Jarrett Davis made his collegiate debut as the lone freshmen to debut on the offensive side of the football.

Louisville will hit the road for the fi rst time on Sept. 18 when it faces Oregon State at Reser Stadium in Corvalis, Ore. at 5:35 p.m. EST. The Cardinals will take their fi rst and only week off of the year on Sept. 25 before hitting the road again on Oct. 2 with a trip to Arkansas State.

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