Is this Louisville best defense?

With one game left in the regular-season, the University of Louisville football team couldn't have asked for a better season from its defense. The Cardinals are ranked among the nation's top defenses heading into Thursday nights season finale at Cincinnati in Nipper Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

The University of Louisville ranks second nationally in total defense and is a top-10 defense among football teams in the country.

U of L coach Charlie Strong has used all sorts of adjectives to describe the unbelievable play by the Cardinals during this 10-1 season.

With one game left in the regular-season, U of L defensive line coach Clint Hurtt believes the Cardinals deserve a place in history. The defense is allowing just 242,5 yards a game to opponents this season.

"I look back at the history of this school and there's been some great teams," Hurtt said. "But if you look at things and take them statistically, this very well could be the best defense in the history of the school.

"I am really proud of this group but we still have to finish the season. We have two games left and we have to finish it."

The first of those two games comes Thursday night when the Cardinals' defense will be tested by host Cincinnati at 7:30 p.m.

U of L ranks second in the nation against the run (82.8 yards), second in passing yards allowed (156.6), fifth in team passing efficiency defense and third in scoring defense (11.4 points).

"I think these guys have played outstanding," Hurtt said. "As a defense, we have played outstanding. Up front, we have played at a level that is expected when you have three seniors and some guys behind them with some experience."

Preston Brown leads the Cardinals with 80 tackles, but nine different players have 31 or more tackles on the season.

Marcus Smith leads with 12.5 tackles, while Lorenzo Mauldin has 9.5 and Terell Floyd and Charles Gaines lead the team with four interceptions.

The U of L staff was forced to use a lot of the younger players when the staff first came to the school because of the lack of depth.

Hurtt said that has been a benefit this season.

"These guys have played a lot of football for us," Hurtt said. "They keep getting better and better every week. Those kids always had to buy in, but it has taken time. The fans have been patient and it's paid off this year.

"It's been a great year for us, but we're not finished."

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