Louisville defense preparing for 'challenge'

The University of Louisville defense is preparing for a 'challenge' in trying to stop Syracuse dual-threat quarterback Terrel Hunt, according to coordinator Todd Grantham. The Cardinals face the Orange in the Carrier Dome on Friday at 7 p.m.

The University of Louisville defense has been excellent so far this season. But the Cardinals will get another test on Friday against what defensive coordinator Todd Grantham called "a really good offense" when they play at Syracuse.

The Cardinals meet the Orange at 7 p.m. on the Carrier Dome.

It's going to be a challenge for us," Grantham said. "They have a quarterback (Terrel Hunt) who ranks this in the league in offense and he can run it, which creates a new dimension. He has the ability to throw the ball down the field. When you look at their runners, I think they run hard and have some double digit runs this year.

"They also have receivers that can do get the ball. We just have to go do what we do."

And so far this season, that's been stuff the opposition.

The Cardinals leads the nation in total defense - 208.5 yards a game - in games against FBS teams. U of L's 18 sacks and nine interceptions against FBS teams are also tops in the nation, according to ESPN.com.

U of L's defense ranks in the top 10 in FBS in total defense, rushing and scoring defense and has forced 13 turnovers in five games. Safety Gerod Holliman leads the country with six interceptions, while Lorenzo Mauldin ranks No. 15 in sacks.

But in order to get a big ACC road win, the Cardinals will have to stop Hunt. He's a dual-threat quarterback who is Syracuse' top playmaker.

"He is a viable option to run the ball and second in the passing game he has the ability to run it," Grantham said. "So what happens is you get rushers that are rushing up the field and you get vertical separation between the two that guys can get out of their rush lanes.

"So we have really had to work on that this week."

Hunt has 313 yards rushing and six TDs, while completing 66 of 113 passes for 782 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.

"It's a challenge for us," Grantham said. "For sure."

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