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U of L v. TCU game preview

ITV's game preview with quotes, notes, stats and more. <P> <B>EXTRA:</B> <a href="http://louisville.theinsiders.com/2/177890.html"><B>ITV Tailgate at the BBC</B></a>

#25 Louisville at #12 TCU
November 5, 2003 | 7:30 p.m.
Amon G. Carter Stadium
espn2 | 840 WHAS

QUOTES

Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino

On team's focus for the game:  "I think we're ready to go.  We have a very good attitude, we are well
prepared, the extra time was good for us, we're healthy, so now we just need to go tee it off and see how we do."
 

On whether the Big East announcement will motivate TCU:  I don't think so, I think we're just going down there to play against
each other.  I really don't think that an announcement on a Tuesday would effect an outcome on a Wednesday.  There's a lot more to preparaton and playing a football game than thinking, 'these guys are leaving us...let's go beat them up.'  I don't really think that happens in football."

 

TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson


Gary Patterson (TCU)
On playing Louisville:  Louisville is a much more physical team compared to what they used to be. They always have good football players and have one of the top three teams, talent-wise, in our league. They've kind of been the leader in Conference USA. That's why it's fun to play them. It's great football when Louisville and TCU play. We have to score points. You don't shutout a team with athletic skill players like Louisville. It still comes down to scoring one point more than your opponent. I was happy to see our offense break out and do what they're capable of against Houston.  Louisville's whole skill package is scary. Besides Kentucky, this is the game they've wanted to play since the beginning of the season. I expect to see the best game out of them they've played all year long.

On playing a mid-week game:  It's great knowing that people will be watching two top-25 teams Wednesday night. I thought it was great last weekend when ESPN College Gameday was at the Northern Illinois game. The under-the-table stories are what make the game flourish.

NOTES

LOUISVILLE

  • The Cardinals are playing their first ranked opponent since knocking off No. 4 Florida State, 26-20, last season at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Henry Miller raced 25 yards in the first overtime to knock off the Seminoles.

  • Louisville has won three straight games and is off to its best start since the 2001 team won 10 of its first 11 games. The Cardinals are 7-1 for just the fifth time in the school's history.


  • Stefan LeFors (ITV)
    The 2003 Cardinals are on pace to do something which only two other teams have done in school history— record 400 or more points in a season. After eight games, the Cardinals have scored 278 points and are on pace to score 417 this season, which would be the second-highest total in the history of the school. The 1998 team tallied a school record 444 points, which also came when Petrino served as the offensive coordinator.
  • Kicker Nate Smith has hit on each of his last seven field goal attempts and is 11-of-12 this season. His only miss came at USF when his 48-yard attempt was blocked. He's 18th in the country in field goals with 1.38 per game and his 11 field goals are tied with Jon Hilbert for the sixth-most field goals in a season.  Additionally, he is currently second, behind former Cardinal great Lenny Lyles, in career points scored with 249.

  • Senior tight end Ronnie Ghent has now caught at least one pass in 36 of the 37 games he has played in during his stellar career.

  • Receiver J.R. Russell is rapidly becoming one of the top big play receivers in the country. The 6-3 junior leads the team in receptions with 41 for 692 yards and three touchdowns. He  has caught a pass in 19 straight games and has a team-best nine plays of 20 or more yards, including five plays of 40 or more yards. He needs just 103 yards to pass Jamie Asher to move into tenth place on the school's single-season list for receiving yards in a season.

  • Under the guidance of head coach Bobby Petrino, the Cardinals have moved up to ninth in the country in total offense and rushing yards. Louisville is averaging a Conference USA best 470.2 yards of total offense and a league-best 223.9 average on the ground.

  • For the season, Louisville has lost just 103 yards rushing — an average of just 12.9 yards per game. In 154 carries, sophomore running back Eric Shelton has lost just 36 yards for the entire season.

  • Louisville rushed for three more touchdowns in the win over East Carolina on October 25. The Cardinals have scored 21 touchdowns on the ground, which is the most since the 1998 team ran for 29 — the second-highest total in school history.

  • Louisville averages 33.5 points per game and 455.5 yards of offense on the road. The Cardinals have been fairly balanced away from home, running for 229.2 yards and throwing for an average of 226.1.

TCU

  • TCU is currently ranked 9th in the latest BCS standings.

  • The Frogs are putting an 11-game home winning streak on the line against Louisville. The streak dates back to a 37-30 loss to East Carolina on October 30, 2001. The school record for consecutive home wins is 12 from 1932-34.

  • In the two previous meetings between TCU and Louisville, the Frogs have held the Louisville running game to a combined total of negative-73 yards on 47 carries (25-(-47) in 2001 and 22-(-26) in 2002.

  • TCU is off to a 8-0 start for the first time since the national championship season of 1938. They have been 8-0 five times in school history.

  • The Frogs' eight victories have been by just a three-point margin and another was a seven-point win They have three-point wins over Tulane, Arizona, South Florida and UAB and defeated Houston by a touchdown.

  • TCU has trailed heading into halftime in just one of its last 20 contests. The only time the Frogs have trailed at the intermission since the 2001 galleryfurniture.com Bowl loss to Texas A&M.

  • The Frogs have a huge advantage in the red zone this season. They have scored on 30 of 35 opportunities (82 percent), including a perfect 8-for-8 in the red zone at Houston. They have scored 18 touchdowns after entering the opponents' 20 yard line and have tallied 163 points.

  • The Frogs have intercepted 13 passes in eight games this season after recording 22 interceptions in 12 games last year. They are tied for 12th nationally with 13 interceptions.

  • The Frogs are winning the turnover battle, 21-13 after eight games, averaging a plus-1 per game, tying Louisville for the top mark in the league and 12th in the nation.

     

STATISTICAL COMPARISON

  Louisville TCU
Rushing Offense 223.9 208.9
Passing Offense 246.4 231.9
Total Offense 470.3 440.8
Scoring Offense 34.8 28.4
Rushing Defense 138.6 89.8
Passing Defense 246.3 239.3
Total Defense 384.9 329.0
Scoring Defense 19.8 18.9
Net Punting 35.6 34.9
Punt Returns 8.5 10.5
Kickoff Returns 21.9 21.2
Turnover Margain +8 +8

ITV PREDICTION

Last week, I said that 'on paper' Louisville would defeat East Carolina and predicted a 17-point Cardinal win.  In reality, the Cardinals did defeat ECU by 16.  This week, what I see 'on paper' worries me...TCU, despite giving up 55 points to Houston in their last game, has a strong defense and an above average offense.

The Cardinal offense, which will see numerous blitz attacks from the Horned Frog defense, must have quick and frequent success with its passing game.  TCU is very strong against the run and attempt to force U of L to beat them through the air...which the Cardinals must do.  Quick strikes to tight end Ronnie Ghent from Stefan LeFors would force the TCU defense to hold one of their defenders from their blitz packages.  Louisville may also attempt to utilize the screen pass to the running back as another way to pull a TCU defender from the line of scrimmage.

Defensively, Louisville has faced tougher offenses, but TCU is well balanced, which won't allow the Cardinals to focus on one aspect.  With the offense facing a stingy TCU defense, the Cardinal defense must make numerous stops.  U of L's offense has to use more than its share of the game clock, allowing the defense to rest.

Both U of L and TCU are +7 in turnovers, so the Cardinals must take care of the ball and turn any possible Horned Frog turnovers into scores.

It looks like a very difficult game 'on paper,' but it also looks winnable.  Louisville squeaks out a nail-biter on national television...Cardinals 27 Horned Frogs 24.


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