Keys to Victory: UofL vs. SU

Snapping an 11-game Big East road losing streak at Syracuse will be a difficult task for Louisville without Bilal Powell and Adam Froman. That being the case, breaks down four keys to victory for the Cards.

Limit Turnovers

Why has Syracuse won three of four Big East games this season? Simple, the Orange are forcing turnovers. In their three league wins, Syracuse has won the turnover war in each game. Last week, the Orange forced three Cincinnati turnovers in a 31-7 road win. The week before that, Syracuse picked off three West Virginia passes in a 13-9 win in Morgantown. In their two losses this season, the Orange had more turnovers than their opponents.

Louisville must protect the football against Syracuse, which might be a difficult task without Adam Froman and Bilal Powell. In three Big East games, Louisville has committed just two turnovers, both in the loss to Pittsburgh. Protecting the football is a major key for the Cardinals against Syracuse.

Run, Run, Run

Without Adam Froman, Louisville is going to have to run the football to beat Syracuse. That's not going to be easy for two main reasons. One, leading rusher Bilal Powell is out with injury. Lastly, Syracuse's rushing defense ranks 29th nationally and the Orange allow only 119 rushing yards per contest. Fortunately, Louisville has a physical, experienced offensive line that has paved the way for a ground attack that averages 197 yards on the ground. The Cards need a great effort from their offensive line to open running lanes for Victor Anderson, Jeremy Wright and Blayne Donnell.

Bring Defense

Charlie Strong knows it takes a strong defensive effort to win on the road. Without two of his top offensive players, that's certainly going to be the case against the Orange. If Louisville has any chance at victory, the defense will have to play one of its better games of the season. Though Strong's defense isn't where he wants it to be, the Cardinals have been solid lately. Louisville pitched shutouts in 2 of their past four games and allowed just one touchdown drive last week vs. Pittsburgh. Though the SU scored 31 point last week against Cincinnati, the Orange aren't explosive offensively. In their other three Big East games, the Orange scored fewer than 20 points (13 vs. USF; 14 vs. Pitt; 13 vs. WVU). Syracuse averages 333 yards and 25 points, while Louisville ranks 22nd nationally in total and scoring defense. Syracuse relies heavily on their running game so the Cards must stop the Orange ground attack to win.

Special Teams

Not only does Louisville need to make plays – a big return, connecting on field goals, field position changing punts - on special teams to beat Syracuse, they must eliminate the penalties on kickoffs that cost valuable field position against Pittsburgh. If the Cardinals clean up their act and stop getting undisciplined special teams penalties, they could take advantage of a Syracuse kickoff coverage unit that ranks 81st nationally in return yardage.

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