When: Saturday at 12:00
Where: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
Spread: U of L by 42 ABOUT THE SERIES
Louisville leads the series 17-8-1
ABOUT EACH TEAM
**Louisville enters the game ranked No. 8 in the nation. The Cardinals are coming off a convincing 49-7 win over Ohio. The offense gained 615 total yards, which ranks 10th in the country. The defense enters the game 27th in the nation it total defense. U of L lost sophomore running back Corvin Lamb to a torn ACL late in the game.
**Ranked No. 21 in the FCS rankings, Eastern Kentucky is coming off a 38-6 win over Robert Morris. The Colonels racked up 401 yards total, with 207 coming on the ground. EKU returns 4 starters on offense and seven starters on defense. They finished second in the OVC to Eastern Illinois last season, failing to make the playoffs.
**Eastern Kentucky head coach Dean Hood is entering his sixth season overall as a head coach, and has a record of 34-23. He spent five years (94-98) as an assistant at Eastern under Hall of Fame coach Roy Kidd where he mainly worked with the secondary. After that he spent seven seasons (2001-07) at Wake Forest University where he worked with the defense. He has delivered Ohio Valley Conference Championships twice in his first five years as the head coach.
**Charlie Strong enters his fourth season as Louisville's head coach and has already put together an impressive resume. Strong recorded his first career victory as the Cardinals head coach with a 23-13 win over Eastern Kentucky on September 11, 2010. He has compiled a 26-14 record at U of L. His winning mark of 65% ranks fourth in school history, trailing Bobby Petrino, Lester Larson and Lee Corso. He's led the Cardinals to a bowl game in each of his previous seasons.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
27 – Times these two teams have met, but the first time since 2010. The Cardinals lead the series 17-8-1.
10 – Straight wins is the current streak for the Cardinals, with the last win for Eastern coming back in 1985.
206 – Is the number of yards that EKU averaged on the ground in 2012. They rushed for 207 yards in their season opening win against Robert Morris.
+19 – Was Eastern Kentucky's turnover margin last season, which lead the FCS.
4 – Is the number of different receivers for the Cards that caught touchdowns in their season opening win against Ohio.
416 – Is the number of yards the Cards threw for in their season opener.
45 – The number of career touchdown passes that Teddy Bridgewater has, which puts him fourth all time in school history.
6,202 – Career passing yards for Teddy Bridgewater, which puts him in fifth place on the school's career chart.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Whether or not the offense will continue to rack up yards at a frenetic pace like they did against Ohio. It will be exciting to watch how offensive coordinator Shawn Watson continues to utilize the weapons that he has at his disposal.
Teddy Bridgewater looks to continue his red hot start as he passed for 355 yards in the season opener, to go along with five touchdowns, and one interception. It will be interesting to see how the EKU defense will defend the passing game, especially with the weapons that Bridgewater has available.
With Senorise Perry, Dominique Brown, Michael Dyer and Brandon Radcliff available, the loss of Corvin Lamb shouldn't have a big impact on the running game. It will be interesting to see how much more of a load Dyer shoulders this week, given what he showed last week.
How the Cardinals defend dual-threat quarterback Jared Mcclain, who passed for two touchdowns, while also running for a pair in the season opener. Louisville, which gave up 4.3 yards per carry in 2012, held Ohio to 81 yards on the ground for a 2.8 per carry average.
The offensive line for the Cardinals is a place that they are still progressing in terms of continuity and communication. The line performed well in their first contest against Ohio and their performance should only improve as the season progresses.
KEYS TO THE GAME
The most important thing for Louisville in stopping Eastern Kentucky will be containing their McClain. If the first game of the season is any indication then McClain will not have that big of an impact. The Cardinals allowed only 13 first downs against Ohio, and made the Bobcats punt on six occasions.
Teddy Bridgewater continues to get all of his weapons involved as DeVante Parker, Damian Copeland, Robert Clark, and Kai De La Cruz all hauled in 4 or more receptions. Eli Rogers and tight end Gerald Christian also played well in week one. Shawn Watson has said that his main focus is getting those players touches that can make a difference in the game and after the first weekend they have proven that they can do just that.
A chance for the Colonel defense to keep things interesting would be by getting pressure on Bridgewater early and often. The offensive line proved that they could perform up to standard against Ohio and they have the opportunity to display consistency by doing the same against EKU.
The defensive backfield for the U of L proved themselves against Ohio by flying around and making plays. They also gave up three big pass plays and should have snagged another interception or two.
Coach Strong and the Cardinals look to continue the positive momentum that started last season, and even with the numbers that the offense and defense posted in the season opener there is still much room for improvement.
"You can see the improvement we need to make mainly with the penalties as we had a couple on the offensive end, and in the kicking game" Coach Strong said.
"Probably three quarters of the time we were in sync and we were running fast, but then we kind of played down a little bit as the game went on," said offensive coordinator Shawn Watson. "I don't want to lose that edge. Even if it's with (the second unit)."
Jody Demling: Louisville wins 55-7
Michael McCammon: Cardinals 51-10