C-USA Farewell Tour begins Saturday

Louisville opens it's last season as a member of Conference USA on Saturday when they face the Army Cadets and their new head coach Bobby Ross.

Louisville at Army
September 11, 2004 | 1:00 p.m.
West Point, NY | Michie Stadium
FOX 41 | 840 WHAS

QUOTES

Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino

On the Cardinals offense:  Offensively, I thought we played a little bit better than I thought we did after the [Kentucky] game when I watched the video. We didn't throw the ball as much as I would have liked to because I didn't call enough [pass] plays. But I actually felt at one point in the game that it was important for us to continue to run it and try to wear them down and then get the fresh backs going in the last part of the third quarter. It seemed to play out pretty well. I think we just need to open it up and get it down the field a little bit more and take a few more shots.

On the game:  It's different. Last year we were the underdog. This year we have a lot of players coming back. We've done a nice job of concentrating in practice and everyone is real excited for it. I think it is going to be a really good game. It should be a real good battle because they guys that can make big plays and we have guys that can make big plays. I'm interested to see how their offense and our defense matchup.

On being Army's first opponent:  That's tough. We've had to go back and get some video on the Maryland offense, Virginia offense...Georgia Tech and San Diego and we have been studying that. Defensively I think they are going to run a similar package because that's the one guy that is still on their staff.

On Army head coach Bobby Ross:  I'm not going to look across [the field] because I might get intimidated. He's a guy that I use to study when he was at Georgia Tech and San Diego. When I was first here and we were in the bowl game in Detroit he actually spoke to both teams because he was the coach for the Lions. He's a very hard-nosed, very disciplined and demanding type of a coach.

 

Army Head Coach Bobby Ross

On the Louisville offense:  With the multiplicity of their offense and what they do with it; it's one you have to take a very close look at. They do so many different things. They have excellent talent at the quarterback position. [Stefan] LeFors, to me, was one of the premier players in our conference last year and he certainly looks the same as he was. [Brian] Brohm is a great thrower. He might not have quite the same running skills that LeFors does, but he has adequate running skills; he can get himself out of trouble. It seemed like they had a more conservative package in for Brohm than for LeFors and that would make sense, but I'm sure with each week, his package will be expanded.

On Louisville's defense:  There is outstanding speed on the Louisville defense. [Abe] Brown and [Brendan] Johnson run as good as any two linebackers I've ever seen. [Robert] McCune is right in the same category. Brown and Johnson are very tall and thin and run extremely well. McCune is thick and runs well. They have NFL speed at that position.

On coaching at Army:  I am enjoying being here. I love these players. I stayed here Sunday afternoon with my son to watch the Louisville-Kentucky game on television and after the game I went back in my office and three or four of the players came in after watching the game and the wild-eyed excitement they showed is fun for me. They really do care and they feel as though they've got something to prove, and that's a strong motivation for me.

 

NOTES

GAME NOTES

  • This is the 9th meeting between the two programs. U of L holds a 5-3 lead in the series, including last years 36-10 victory at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
  • The Cardinals are 1-2 at Michie Stadium.
  • Louisville is the 59th different season-opening opponent for Army.
  • Louisville is averaging 34.5 points per game in the eight games against Army.

    LOUISVILLE

    • Louisville is looking to win its 8th straight game in the month of September.

    • Safety Kerry Rhodes and punter Brent Moody were named C-USA Players of the Week after their performance in the Cardinals 28-0 shutout win over Kentucky.


    • Kerry Rhodes (ITV)
    • This will be the first of three straight road games for the Cardinals. They will travel to Tulane next Saturday and then to North Carolina the following Saturday.

    • U of L racked up 619 yards against Army last fall.

    • Louisville is 4-4 in Conference USA openers.

    • The 2004 senior class is on pace to be the winningest class in school history. The group currently holds a 29-12 overall record. The 2003 class currently boasts of the best record with a 36-20 mark.

    • Against the Wildcats, Louisville averaged an impressive 6.3 yards per carry during the second half.

    ARMY

    • Army has lost seven consecutive season openers. The last time the Cadets opened the season with a victory was a 37-20 win over Ohio in 1996.

    • Army has lost 15 straight contests and 13 in a row at home.


    • Carlton Jones (Army)
    • Army is opening its 115th season of football and holds an overall mark of 622-406-51 (.600).

    • Cadet head coaches have recorded a 27-5-1 record when making their Army coaching debut.

    • Quarterback Reggie Nevels is expected to be the Black Knight season-opening starter for the third consecutive season. However, he only played in three contests last fall, completing just 37.9% of his pass attempts.

    • Running back Carlton Jones ranks 29th on Army's all-time rushing list. He compiled 632 yards in 2003.

    • Army has one player from the Bluegrass State on its roster. Freshman JOrdan Murray was a member of the Mason County team last year.

    STATISTICAL COMPARISON

      Louisville Army (2003)
    Rushing Offense 261.0 63.5
    Passing Offense 178.0 207.2
    Total Offense 439.0 270.8
    Scoring Offense 28.0 15.8
    Rushing Defense 66.0 210.8
    Passing Defense 172.0 253.4
    Total Defense 238.0 464.2
    Scoring Defense 0.0 36.6
    Net Punting 51.0 36.6
    Punt Returns 9.0 11.0
    Kickoff Returns 17.0 20.5
    Turnover Margain +2 -20

    ITV PREDICTION

    Okay, so I predicted a 41-17 Louisville over Kentucky last week. Hey, at least I wasn't far off on the spread. So, the questions this week are, will Army utilize the option attack often and will Bobby Petrino be conservative with his play calling again? The answer to the second question could likely be a result of the answer to the first. If Army employs the option attack, I expect Coach Petrino to open the offense up more.

    This game should turn out to be more lopsided than the Kentucky game. However, I'm concerned that the Cardinals may be caught up in the emotions of 9/11 anniversary and could be caught off guard early. Even if that is the case, Louisville has too many athletes and out-matches the Cadets at nearly every position.

    Close in the first half, not in the second. Louisville puts the game out of reach in the third quarter and cruises to it's second win of the season. Louisville 38 Army 13.


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