Game day: U of L at Southern Miss

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Louisville football team is just a few hours away from its fifth game the season. The Cardinals (4-0) take on Southern Mississippi at 8 p.m. at Roberts Field. Be sure to come to Cardinal Authority before, during and after the game for all of the latest.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Louisville (4-0)

Louisville coach Charlie Strong hasn't been pleased with his team's performance the past six quarters. U of L gets another shot tonight at 8 to impress Strong.

The Cardinals take on a Southern Miss team that lost 42-17 last weekend at Western Kentucky and have an 0-3 mark this season.

U of L is 4-0 for the first time since the 2006 season when the Cardinals started 8-0 before losing to Rutgers. Besides '06, the last time U of L started a season with five straight victories was in 1993.

The Cardinals are averaging 434.5 yards a game and 33.5 points a game. Sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will have to be sharper than he was last weekend at Florida International. He's hit 12 different receivers this season.

On defense, the Cardinals have allowed 339 yards and 19 points a game but only have four sacks – ranked 101st nationally – on the season.

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (0-3)

Southern Miss is 0-3 for the first time since 1976 under first-year coach Ellis Johnson, who took over the program after spending four years as the defensive coordinator at South Carolina.

The Golden Eagles are not off to a good start, ranking third to last in the C-USA in points per game at just 17 and second from the bottom among league teams in total offense at 287,7 yards a game.

Three different quarterbacks have played for the Golden Eagles. Chris Campbell has made two starts, completing 51.4 percent of his passes for just 229 yards. Anthony Alford has completed only 34.6 percent of his passes for 108 yards in one start, while Ricky Lloyd has seen action in two games.

All three took snaps in the loss to Western Kentucky but Lloyd is expected to play in this game because of injuries to the other two.

Desmond Johnson is the leading rusher with 165 yards.

Southern Miss has also been weak on defense, allowing 38.3 points and 473.3 yards a game. The Golden Eagles have been outscored 56-7 in the third quarter.

It's not a good sign for Southern Miss to see placekicker Corey Acosta leading the team in scoring with 15 points. He's 3-for-4 on field goals.

THE SERIES

The former rivals in Conference USA have met 29 times on the field with Southern Miss holding an 18-10-1 advantage all time.

The Cardinals have won the last five meetings, including a 31-28 decision in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 2010.

The two programs began playing one another in 1949 and combined to win seven league titles while in C-USA. The Cardinals are just 3-11 all-time in Hattiesburg, Miss., but have won two in a row.

QUICK FACTS

LOUISVILLE

The last time these two teams met, Jeremy Wright started the second half with a 95-yard kickoff return to tie the game at 28.

The Cardinals are 14-2 under Charlie Strong when scoring 25 points or more, including all four games this season.

Louisville has trailed for just 6:42 all season.

The Cardinals are plus-three in turnover margin this season.

U of L linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary and Southern Miss safety coach Jeep Hunter with both on the Georgia Tech staff in 2006-07.

U of L running back coach and special teams coordinator Kenny Carter was a coach at The Citadel when Southern Miss defensive backs coach Maurice Drayton was a player for the Bulldogs.

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI

Tracy Lampley has a chance to end his career at Southern Miss with 1,000 yards in four categories. He currently has 969 yards rushing, 960 yards receiving, 835 yards of punt returns and 1,273 yards on kickoff returns.

Southern Miss has had nine true freshmen play already in the first three games of the season.

The Golden Eagles only have one turnover this season, a fourth quarter interception last weekend against Western Kentucky.

Southern Miss is one of 12 programs that has played in 10 straight bowl games.

KEY INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

LOUISVILLE

**QB Teddy Bridgewater (91 of 124 passing, 1,049 yards, 7 TDs).

**RB Senorise Perry (62 rushes, 340 yards, 3 TDs).

**RB Jeremy Wright (66 rushes, 305 yards, 5 TDs).

**WR Andrell Smith (14 catches, 189 yards, 1 TD).

**S Calvin Pryor (28 tackles, 1 interception).

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI

**RB Desmond Johnson (31 rushes, 165 yards).

**QB Ricky Lloyd (4 of 8 passing, 72 yards, 1 TD; 10 rushes, 21 yards).

**LB Jamie Collins (28 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks).

WHO WILL GET THE WIN

LOUISVILLE WINS IF . . .

The Cardinals show up early like they have so far this season, only this time the goal will be to play a complete game.

Not that U of L should be overlooking the Golden Eagles, but a solid effort on both sides of the ball and a 5-0 record should be had heading into an open week.

The Cardinals should be able to move the ball up and down the field.

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI WINS IF . . .

The Golden Eagles might need a little help from alum Brett Favre, who might be an upgrade even at his age considering the injuries at quarterback.

Southern Miss has to control the line of scrimmage and keep the Louisville offense off the field.

BOTTOM LINE

U of L offensive coordinator Shawn Watson: "(Western Kentucky) was really physical. They did a nice job of running the ball, getting to north and south and their backs ran hard. The offensive line for them played very physical and that's what we have to look like on Saturday. (Southern Miss) is very athletic. I know they're learning a new style of defense but they show improvement every week. They have a good staff and will be up-to speed."

JODY DEMLING'S PICK

Louisville 38, Southern Miss 14

ENJOY THE GAME!


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