UofL's 2011 football schedule released

The 2011 University of Louisville football schedule includes eight opponents who made bowl appearances in 2010 and features a Thursday night season opener at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

The BIG EAST Conference released the league schedule Friday, which shows the Cardinals opening their league schedule with a road trip to Cincinnati. The Cardinals league slate also features two Friday nationally-televised contests.

"The schedule will certainly be very challenging," head coach Charlie Strong said. "I expect the BIG EAST to be extremely competitive and balanced a lot like that season. Every team is capable of competing for the conference championship. I'm excited to have four games already scheduled on one of the ESPN networks, which increases the visibility of our program as we continue to build upon it."

For the second time in five years, the Cardinals will open the season with a nationally-televised Thursday night game on ESPNU versus Murray State on Sept. 1 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. The Racers and Cardinals kicked off the 2007 season with a 73-10 victory for the Cardinals.

Louisville will get another nationally-televised game on ESPN eight days later on Sept. 9 when Florida International invades Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.

The Cardinals hit the road for the first time in 2011 when they travel down I-64 to face Kentucky at Commonwealth Stadium. The Wildcats have won the last four meetings in the series and own a 14-9 advantage.

After an open week on Sept. 24, the Cardinals will host Marshall on Saturday, Oct. 1, before a trip to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina. It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 2005, when the Cardinals defeated the Tar Heels 69-14 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

The Cardinals will open their seventh season in the BIG EAST on Oct. 15 when the team makes the short trek to Cincinnati to face the Bearcats at Nippert Stadium. Louisville will have a short week for its BIG EAST home opener with a Friday night game on ESPN against Rutgers on Oct. 21. Louisville defeated the Scarlet Knights 40-13 last season.

Louisville will play two of its next three league games at home, starting with an Oct. 29 game versus Syracuse and a visit from Pittsburgh on Nov. 12. A trip to Morgantown, W. Va., sandwiches those two home contests when the Cardinals play West Virginia on Nov. 5. The Cardinals defeated Syracuse in the Carrier Dome 28-20 last season and dropped games to Pittsburgh and West Virginia.

The Cardinals close the regular season with a pair of road games, traveling to Connecticut on Nov. 19, and closing the 2011 season on Friday, Nov. 25 at South Florida on a national network yet to be determined. Louisville shutout Connecticut 26-0 last season and dropped a 24-21 overtime decision at home against South Florida.

"I'm very appreciative to ESPN for helping us work through some of the obstacles that we had in completing our schedule," said Vice-President/Director of Athletics Tom Jurich. I'm very excited with the number of games we have on television, which is great visibility for our university and football program . ESPN continues to be a great partner for us."

9-1 Murray State (ESPNU)
9-9 Florida International (ESPN)
9-17 @Kentucky
9-24 Open
10-1 Marshall
10-8 @North Carolina
10-15 @Cincinnati
10-21 Rutgers (ESPN)
10-29 Syracuse
11-5 @West Virginia
11-12 Pittsburgh
11-19 @Connecticut
11-25 @South Florida

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