Card hope to build on big win against Orange

Louisville's 16-14 win over Rutgers Friday night snapped a three-game losing streak and provided the Cardinals much needed momentum heading into Saturday's game against Syracuse at PJCS.

Louisville's 16-14 win over Rutgers Friday night snapped a three-game losing streak and provided the Cardinals much needed momentum heading into Saturday's game against Syracuse at PJCS.

The Cardinals defense intercepted three passes against Rutgers, and Jeremy Wright rushed for 108 yards, earning a spot on the Big East honor roll. Louisville's much-maligned offensive line didn't allow a sack as UofL rushed for a season-high 187 yards.

"It was a big win for us," Strong said. "We had lost three games in a row and we beat a really good Rutgers team. We needed some energy in our program and our kids played very hard. We played an outstanding game."

Though Louisville won their third game of the season against the Scarlet Knights, the Cardinals lost senior cornerback Anthony Conner with a broken neck in the first half.

Conner underwent a surgical procedure Monday morning at Jewish Hospital by Dr. Richard Holt. The surgery was to help stabilize his cervical fracture. Conner continues to maintain good feeling and movement in all his extremities.

"I can't say enough about the class that Rutgers showed," Strong said. "Anthony Conner is going through surgery right now and it's a procedure to help stabilize his cervical fracture. He continues to have good feeling and movement in all his extremities. We're just hoping for a speedy recovery."

Strong said Conner was in good spirits Monday morning. Conner could leave the hospital a couple days after his surgery, and Strong said he should be able to walk out on his own accord.

"Anthony is an unbelievable young man," Strong said. "He doesn't say much at all. He's very quiet. Our players have so much respect and admiration for him. We were laughing and joking before they gave him all the drugs (before surgery) and his spirits are good."

As Conner recovers, Louisville turns its attention to Syracuse, which upset then-13th ranked West Virginia last Friday, 49-23, as Orange quarterback Ryan Nassib threw for four touchdowns, including three to Nick Provo.

"Syracuse is an outstanding team," Strong said. "They have a great balance between run and pass. Offensively, the quarterback Ryan (Nassib) is doing an outstanding job managing, and they're doing a great job running the football. They have a lot of seniors and have played together. On defense, they're an attacking defense."

At 3-4 overall, and 1-1 in the league, Louisville will be looking for its first back-to-back Big East wins against Syracuse in five seasons.

"I just know this we're going to have to play well just to play with Syracuse," said Strong. "It's good that they're coming to our place, but Syracuse is an outstanding football team. Every week in this conference you have to be at your best to win the game. Of any team in the league, I would have to say Syracuse is playing very well right now."

Strong also was asked about the lingering questions surrounding the future of the Big East and how the uncertainty surrounding Louisville's conference situation might impact recruiting. The Cardinals are expected to have a big recruiting weekend with Syracuse in town.

"The recruits want to know what's going to happen with the conference. Who's leaving? Who's staying?" Strong said. "I just tell them whatever conference we're in….with our president and athletic director it's going to be an outstanding conference.

"But it has become an issue because they all want to know. We'd like it (announcement) to happen sooner than later because we're about to get into recruiting season and I think it's how people are going to recruit against (us). They're going to use that against us. We need to get…I don't know if we're ever going to get a definite answer but we need to (know) what direction we're going."


Cardinal Authority Top Stories