Stop the run. That's the word and focus of the 21st-ranked University of Louisville Cardinals prepare to face No.13 Georgia at the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. on December 30.
The Bulldogs rank 12th in the nation in rushing. Led by SEC Freshman of the Year running back Nick Chubb's 1,281 yards. His 6.89 yards per carry ranks 8th in the nation.
The task will certainly be one of the more difficult challenges that the Cardinals 6th-ranked defense has faced this season.
“It's going to be one of the toughest for sure because they got a running back and a good running game,” said sophomore linebacker Keith Kelsey. “Georgia is just a physical team, so we just need to put on our pads and come with it every play.”
Working first team versus first team to increase speed and competition during bowl prep, senior defensive back Terell Floyd described the focus as forcing Georgia into more throwing situations.
“Practice is going pretty well,” he said. “We've had a little bit of extra time with the bowl game to look at film, so are getting familiar with what they do and stuff like that. We know that we have to stop the run, because they are a run-first team. We focused right now on the running game, stopping the run and making them throw the ball a little bit more.”
Kelsey, who led the team with 78 tackles, echoed Floyd's comments, adding that the group will strive to fulfill defensive coordinator's Todd Grantham's game plan.
“Do what Coach Grantham asks us to do,” he said. “Stop the run and make them throw the ball.”
The Cardinals will arrive in Charlotte in December 24 and will practice for the remainder of the week at Charlotte Latin High School. The team will conduct a walk-through at Bank of America Stadium on Monday afternoon, with the game scheduled for Tuesday, December 30 at 6:30 p.m.