Louisville searches for its first win this weekend against Samford

Still in search of its first win of the young season, Louisville welcomes FCS program Samford to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Saturday

Date: Sept. 26, 2015
Game Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky
Television: ESPN3
  Play by Play: Jim Barbar
  Analyst: John Gregory

About the Cardinals and Bulldogs:

  • Louisville looks to snap a four-game losing streak dating back to the Belk Bowl loss to Georgia. A win will also help avoid the program’s first five-game losing streak since the 2008 season when the Cardinals closed the year with five-straight losses after a 5-2 start.
  • The Cardinals are also looking to avoid the program's first 0-4 start since 1975.
  • Samford, an FCS program, enters the game at 2-1, having lost 31-21 to No.10 Chattanooga last weekend.
  • First-year Samford head coach Chris Hatcher took on the Cardinals twice when he was the head coach at Murray State, falling to Louisville in both 2014 and 2011.
  • Head coach Bobby Petrino is 6-0 all-time versus FCS oppponents and his squads have averaged 49.2 point per game in those victories, including 66 points in the win over Murray State last season.
  • Saturday’s game is Samford’s first road game of the season.
  • Samford has an all-time record of 3-15 against the current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, though Saturday’s game marks the first-ever meeting between Samford and Louisville.
  • The Cardinals have dropped their first three games of the 2015 season by a combined 13 points, a scenario that has happened only twice in school history.
  • More true freshmen have started for Petrino in 2015 than during any of his other seasons at Louisville. Four (Geron Christian, Lamar Jackson, Traveon Samuel, Jaylen Smith) have already notched a start this season.  Petrino's had three seasons when a trio of true freshmen started (2003, 06, 14)
  • After three games, Samford is one of the most prolific offensive teams in FCS. The Bulldogs are ranked seventh in the nation in total offense at 553.7 yards per game and sixth in passing offense at 351.3 yards per game.
  • The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Michael Eubank, who transferred to Samford following three seasons at Arizona State. Through three games he has completed 72 of 105 attempts for 907 and seven touchdowns, with three interceptions.
  • A trio of Samford receivers rank among the FCS top 50. Karel Hamilton, Emmanuel Obajimi, Kevin McNight. Hamilton leads the way with 225 receiving yards, while Obajimi is second with 213 yards.
  • Samford had nine players named to the preseason All-SoCon teams when the league released the teams in July. Included in the group was defensive lineman Michael Pierce, who was named the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
  • This Saturday’s game versus Samford will mark just the second FCS opponent Petrino will face during his six year’s at Louisville. The Cardinals defeated Murray State 66-21 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium last season.
  • The Cardinals have won 19-straight games versus FCS foes, with the last loss a 26-23 decision at Murray State in 1984.

For Samford to Win:

  • The Samford offense has proven to be highly effective during the early stages of the season and it will need to be clicking on all cyliders against the Cardinals.
  • Win the turnover margin and convert.  The Bulldogs will need to capitalize on any and all Louisville mistakes while keeping theirs to a minimum.
  • The defense can bend, but not break.  Make U of L kick field goals when near or in the red zone.  Attack the quarterback and try to frustrate whoever is behind center.

For Louisville to Win:

  • Play confident, but not cocky.  At 0-3, the odds that the Cardinals will enter the game over confident is low. Instead, they likely feel as if they have something to prove.  They do, and they need to show it.
  • Pressure the quarterback.  The Cardinals have just three sacks on the season, with Keith Kelsey registering two of those.  That number must change, if not double, on Saturday.
  • The Cardinals have used quarterback by committee this season and game four presents the same question, who will start behind center? The options are either Kyle Bolin or true freshman Lamar Jackson.  Bolin, a much better thrower at this stage in his career, struggled at times against a very tough Clemson defense.  He was intercepted twice and sacked five times.  Jackson, who started against Houston and saw some action last week, will likely receive a larger role this weekend.  Whoever is behind center, turnovers must be kept at a minimum. 

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