Louisville defense ready for another test

The University of Louisville defense has passed every test in the first six games. Now, the Cardinals prepare for one of the toughest matchups to date - an 8 p.m. game on Friday night against Central Florida.

The University of Louisville football team gets another opportunity to show the college football world they belong in the national title conversation on Friday when the Cardinals host Central Florida at 8 o'clock on ESPN.

"Same thing as last week, just another opportunity for us as a team to show the world what we got," senior defensive tackle Brandon Dunn said.

U of L heads into the matchup with the Knights as the No. 1 scoring defense in the country and ranked No. 2 in rushing defense and total defense. But even with the eye-catching statistics, the Cardinals have areas they can get better in.

"We can still improve on the run, because we have allowed teams to get maybe a 20 or 30 yard gain here and there, and we just want to work on preventing that," said senior defensive end Marcus Smith, who had three sacks against Rutgers.

A strength the Central Florida has on offense is protecting the quarterback. The Knights have allowed just eight sacks this season. The Cardinals had eight sacks last week against Rutgers, so this week will be another major test.

"It just tells us that we have to work a little bit harder we are just going to come out and try to improve upon our performance (from last week)," Dunn said.

Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles has thrown for 1,334 yards this season to go along with nine touchdowns, including 288 yards and three TDs in a win at Penn State.

While the Knights have protected Bortles, the U of L defense has been solid getting to the quarterback all season. The Cardinals are averaging 3.8 sacks a game and rank third nationally after the eight against the Scarlet Knights.

"They are a complete team," senior safety Calvin Pryor said. "They are very balanced team, so we know we can't let up the big plays and must continue to play great defense. This is a great challenge for us and I'm looking forward to Friday night."

Smith and junior Lorenzo Mauldin have been solid all season and now Smith with 15.5 sacks all-time is ranked ninth on the school's all-time list.

"With the greats like Elvis Dumervil, and all of the other greats, I would never expect that," he said. "But its great for me to work into number nine, and I want to keep building upon that."


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