Game Preview: Louisville at Notre Dame

Cardinal Authority provides a preview of Louisville's Saturday visit to Notre Dame

Game Details

Where: Notre Dame Stadium; South Bend, Ind.
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m.
TV: NBC; Dan Hicks (Play-By-Play), Mike Mayock (Analyst), Doug Flutie (Analyst), Kathryn Tappen (Reporter)
Radio: WHAS 840 AM, Learfield Sports Network – Paul Rogers (Play-By-Play), Craig Swabek (Analyst), Doug Ormay (Sideline)
Surface: FieldTurf

The Backdrop

Louisville and Notre Dame enter Saturday's contest trending in different directions. Louisville has won two of it's last three contests, including a 38-19 win at Boston College in the team's last outing. The Cardinals lone defeat during the stretch was at the hands of defending national champion Florida State. After starting the season 6-0, the Irish have lost 3 of the last 4, including two in a row. Notre Dame fell 55-31 at Arizona State two weeks ago and then dropped a 43-40 overtime game at home to Northwestern.

True freshman quarterback Reggie Bonnafon will start for the Cardinals in the final two regular-season games and will be making his third straight on the year. He went 1-1 as a starter, winning a 20-10 decision versus Wake Forest and was the starter in the 23-17 loss at Clemson. Bonnafon has thrown for 662 yards and four touchdowns this season, while also rushing for 98 yards and three touchdowns.

Notre Dame opened as a 10-point favorite, but the odds have dropped throughout the week and the Irish are currently just a 3-point favorite over Louisville.

Series History

This is the first-ever meeting between the two programs, but it is not the first time that Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has faced Louisville. He served as the head coach of Cincinnati when the Bearcats and Cardinals were members of the Big East Conference. Kelly is 2-1 in his career versus Louisville, but has never faced a Petrino coached team. The Bearcats, who were ranked No. 15 in 2007, dropped a 28-24 decision to the Cardinals at Nippert Stadium. Kelly won the last two encounters against the Cardinals in 2008 and 2009. Louisville fell to the Bearcats 28-20 at home in 2008 and 41-10 in 2009.

About the Irish

**Through ten games, Golson has accounted for 35 touchdowns. Completing nearly 61 percent of his throws, Golson has passed for 3,044 yards and 27 touchdowns. Equally impressive with his feet, the senior quarterback owns a team-high eight rushing scores. Golson has accounted for 339 yards on the ground.

**Sophomore receiver Will Fuller's 61 receptions, 853 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns are all team-highs.

**Sophomore Tarean Folston has helped the Irish average 160.7 yards per game on the ground. Folston has used his 132 carries to total 668 yards and four touchdowns.

**The Irish are allowing opponents 383.2 yards of offense per game, yeilding an average of 150.6 yards rushing and 232.6 yards passing. The Notre Dame defense has surrendered an average of 27.1 points through ten games.

Statistical Comparison

Noteworthy

**Head coach Bobby Petrino is looking for his fifth straight eight-win season with the Cardinals, and trying to win his 49th game as coach of the Cardinals. The fifth-year head coach is 48-12 at Louisville and has never won fewer than nine games at U of L.

**Safety Gerod Holliman has picked off 13 passes on the season. His total established a new U of L and ACC single-season record and is one away from tying Al Worley’s (Washington) NCAA record of 14 set in 1968. Holliman is only the 11th player in NCAA history to record 12 or more interceptions in a season.

**Senior wide receiver DeVante Parker has recorded five-straight 100-yard receiving games after recording eight receptions for 144 yards and one touchdown in the win over Boston College on Nov. 8. After missing the first seven games of the season, Parker has caught 25 passes for 490 yards and one score. He has totaled three 100-yard games this season and five dating back to the final two games of 2013.

**The Cardinals have held six of its 10 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing.

**Louisville has won six-straight games when rushing for 200 or more yards in a game dating back to 2010.

**Louisville is 27-1 under head coach Bobby Petrino when winning the turnover battle, suffering their first loss on Oct. 30 versus Florida State. The Cardinals turned Florida State over three times and committed two turnovers in the loss.

**In 60 games under Petrino, Louisville’s success is easy to predict when it comes to net rushing yards. Get to 100 yards rushing and Louisville will more than likely win as the Cardinals are 46-9 under Petrino when that happens. Hold the opponent to fewer than 100 yards and the Cardinals are 27-1. An even more telling stat is that when Louisville rushes for 100-plus yards and holds the opponents to fewer than 100 yards, the Cardinals are 26-0.

Social Updates

Cardinal Authority's Jody Demling and Michael McCammon will provide updates before, during and after the game via the Cardinal Authority forums and social media.

Beginning near kickoff, Cardinal Authority will host a live game thread in the Insiders forum, which is located here. Fans are encouraged to participate in the discussion. Additionally, will be a game thread in the Cardinal Authority football forum, The CardMarch, located here.

Follow publisher Jody Demling on Twitter at @jdemling and senior writer Michael McCammon at @mcmichael20.

Also, be sure to follow Cardinal Authority on Instagram by clicking here.

COACH SPEAK

HC Bobby Petrino

OC Garrick McGee

DC Todd Grantham


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