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Louisville at Syracuse Preview

Louisville will be attempting to improve its record to 2-0 for the fourth time in the last five seasons when it travels to Syracuse this weekend. <P> <B>EXTRA: <a href="">Inside Conference USA</b></a>

September 13, 2003 | 1:30 P.M.
Carrier Dome
FOX 41 | 84 WHAS



Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino
On Syracuse:  "Syracuse has a very good offense.I think that will be our challenge defensively to slow them down, and get the ball back. They have a very experienced offensive line that does a good job of run blocking. Their QB had a really nice game for them the other day. He's a young man that was in and out of the lineup last year. He has a tremendous amount of talent. He can run and has a strong arm. It will be up to us to try and disrupt him, and try to pressure him and take him off his game and see if we can cause him to make some mistakes. They have a really good running back in Reyes. I coached against him last year. He's really a good player. They also have a really big receiver in Morant. He had a great return game the other and that's a big concern for us in being able to stop. Plus, being 6-4, he causes some matchup problems with us trying to cover him."

Bobby Petrino (ITV)

On Improving:  "We want to improve from the Kentucky game. Take it as if its another important game for us. We want to go there play really well and win the game, but what you really want to do is show a lot of improvement and get better. As you look at the big picture, our main goal with these four preseason games is to get better and get ready for our conference opener at USF.  It's going to be a hostile enviroment. They say its lot. I haven't been in there before, but I've had people tell me its one of the loudest places they've ever been in. Stefan will have to handle that with our cadence and checks, if were even able to check. In a game like this your better off with really good tempo and not try and stay at the line of scrimmage."

Syracuse Head Coach Paul Pasqualoni

Paul Pasqualoni (SU)
On Louisville:  "Louisville is a very good team. They have some great backs. They have a very fast, physical defense. This is going be a real challenge for us. We have to eliminate some of the mistakes we made last week. We have to play better."

On the Syracuse secondary:  "There were times where it was very good, and there were obviously a couple of plays where we had couple coverage assignment problems and technique problems and we gave up a big play. I would say very encouraging. Those kids are going in the right direction. You just have to have a little patience and give them a little time. They are going to be good."

News & Notes


  • Updated Depth Chart

  • Updated Season Statistics

  • Louisville has started 2-0 four of the last five seasons.

  • Freshman punter Brent Moody will take over the punting duties for the injured Wade Tydlacka.

  • The 240 rushing yards that the Cardinals gained against Kentucky is the most since for U of L since they rushed for 275 yards in a win over Chattanooga in 1999.

  • The Cardinals were penalized only four times in the season opener.  Last season, Louisville was never penalized fewer than seven times.

  • Louisville is 8-7 all-time when coming off a bye week.

  • Broderick Clark (ITV)
  • First time starter quarterback Stefan LeFors completed a pass to six different receivers in the win over UK, including a six to sophomore Broderick Clark.

  • Clark's six receptions in the opener was a career-high, as was his 94 receiving yards.

  • Junior receiver J.R. Russell has now had at least one reception in 12 straight contests.

  • Sophomore safety Brent Johnson, who made his first career start against UK, recorded a team best and career-high nine tackles against the Wildcats.

  • Nine players made their first career starts in the season opener:  RB Eric Shelton, QB Stefan LeFors, OL Renardo Foster, S Brent Johnson, CB Gavin Smart, LB Brandon Johnson, S Kerry Rhodes, DE Marcus Jones and DE Montavious Stanley.

  • Since the 2000 season, Louisville is 10-0 when a running back rushes for at least 100 yards and is 22-3 when the team eclipse the 100 yard mark.

  • By helping guide the Cardinals to a season opening victory quarterback Stefan LeFors joins former U of L signal callers Dave Ragone, Jeff Brohm and Browning Nagle as the only Louisville quarterbacks to win their first college starts.

  • U of L is averaging 6.9 yards a play on first downs.

  • DE Elvis Dumervil is the brother of Syracuse DT Louis Gachelin.


  • Syracuse needed 3 overtimes to defeat North Carolina 49-47 in season opener at Chapel Hill.

  • LB Jameel Dumas and DE Josh Thomas are injured and will not play.  Dumas is the teams leading returning tackler from last season.

  • Walter Reyes (SU)
  • RB Walter Reyes, who rushed for 191 yards on 28 carries in Syracuse's win over North Carolina last weekend, was named the Big East's Co-Offensive Player of the Week.

  • Johnnie Morant was named the Big East's Special Teams Player of the Week.  Morant returned four kickoffs for 131 yards, an average of 32.8 per return.

  • Syracuse is 3-0 all-time against Louisville.  The last meeting was in 1992 when the Orangemen won a defensive battle 15-9 in the Carrier Dome.

  • The Orangemen are 6-6 in home openers while Paul Pasqualoni has been the head coach.


  Louisville Syracuse
Record 1-0 1-0
Total Offense 420.0 518.0
Points Scored 40.0 49.0
First Downs 22.0 26.0
Rushing Yards 240.0 230.0
Rushing Touchdowns 3 3
Passing Yards 180.0 288.0
Passing Touchdowns 1 3
Time of Possession 29:45 27:24
3rd Down Conversion 6/13 3/13
Points Allowed 24.0 47.0
Total Defense 344.0 505.0
Rushing Yards Allowed 108.0 165.0
Passing Yards Allowed 236.0 340.0
Turnover Margain +1 +2


Louisville Syracuse
Rushing Yards  
E. Shelton..................151.0 W. Reyes................191.0
Passing Yards  
S. LeFors...................180.0 R.J. Anderson..........288.0
B. Clark.....................6.0 J. Morant.................7.0
Receiving Yards  
B. Clark.....................94.0 J. Morant.................160.0
Points Scored  
E. Shelton..................12.0 W. Reyes.................20.0
J. Minkins..................1.0 K. Pruitt...................1.0
G. Smart....................1.0  
B. Johnson.................9.0 R. Scanlon................15.0


The Cardinals will open the game with a different approach than was used in the season opener and will look to pass before run. 

With the tight ends most likely staying in to block, especially early, I expect to see the running back screen used a few times, forcing a linebacker into coverage.  Short quick pass routes will most likely be used to keep the blitzing Orangeman honest.  Play action will be used quite often as well, as the Cardinals will effectively use the passing game to set up the rush for both Shelton and Gates.

Defensively I anticipate the Cardinals to continue to play aggressive around the line of scrimmage.  However, the Louisville defenders must keep an eye on quarterback R.J. Anderson as he is a constant threat to run.  Expect to see the Syracuse coaching staff call numerous plays to challenge the youth-filled Louisville secondary, which could get some additional help from linebacker Robert McCune.  For Louisville's secondary to be successful, the defensive front for the Cardinals must limit Orangeman running back Walter Reyes to around 100 yards in the game.

Louisville's offense will once again be effective as Coach Petrino continues to mold his offense around what is available and what the players abilities will allow them to excel at.   Syracuse's offense will be effective as well, but I don't believe that they have the same number of weapons as Louisville.  Special teams could once again play a large role in the outcome, so the Cards must contain the Orangeman's kick returners.

Louisville improves to 2-0 with a 37-27 win over Syracuse.


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