Cards look for 3-0 start against UNC

Two of the nation's top 15 offenses will square off on Saturday afternoon when the Cardinals visit North Carolina.

Louisville at North Carolina
September 25, 2004 | 1:35 p.m.
Chapel Hill, NC | Kenan Stadium
FOX 41 | 840 WHAS

QUOTES

Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino

On what it will take to beat North Carolina:  We need to have a god week of practice. I think our players came back last night with a lot of excitement. We watched a video of North Carolina and went out and practiced. We actually practiced for almost an hour and 40 minutes. Today again is their off day. They have class today and we start up tomorrow for our normal week's preparation for a game.

On the unexpected weekend off:  I think that we did is we went back and took it like a normal bye week where you go back and work on technique and fundamentals. We worked against each other and we got real good speed work. Then Thursday we did do some work against North Carolina, but still mostly working to improve ourselves. Then they (the players) got about a day and a half of because they didn't come back until 5 o'clock Sunday night to lift and practice.

On how preparing and playing against UK's Shane Boyd will help defending UNC's Durant:  They are fairly similar. Both of them have strong arms and are very good runners. The guy is much more experienced than Shane was. I remember watching him play 3 years ago. So he's a guy who's done a nice job. We had their video last year when we were preparing to play Syracuse so we watched a lot of their offense against Syracuse's defense. That was a shootout. It was a high scoring game that came down to a 2-minute drive. They have a lot of weapons on offense and a good offensive line so it's going to be something where they will really find out and learn some stuff about where exactly we are on defense this weekend.

On North Carolina's defense:  They're young. They are playing a lot of guys. The first 2 games are the 2 that we're working off of. They're playing a bunch of young guys, some true freshman, sophomore linebackers, when we look back at the defense from the year before; it's a new coordinator so the schemes aren't the same. There are a lot of new players and they've made a lot of mistakes in their first couple of games but last week they came up with 5 turnovers and made plays to win the game.

 

North Carolina Head Coach John Bunting

On the Louisville offense:  We've playing an offense this week that is very multiple, very versatile.  They have tons of different personnel changes. A lot of things we may practice we may not even see, and they'll have something new.

North Carolina WR Mike Mason

On playing Louisville:  I think we've got to be tougher than we've been playing, because Louisville is a tougher team than we've been playing. We've got to be smarter, eliminate the penalties and play our game. They're very aggressive. They play a lot differently than the other teams we've been playing. You can see that on the film, so we've just got to play that way also

 

NOTES

GAME NOTES

  • This will just the fourth time that Louisville and North Carolina have faced each other on the gridiron, with the Tar Heels holding a 2-1 series lead.
  • The Cardinals last defeated North Carolina 38-34 at Chapel Hill in 1988.
  • UNC's last victory over U of L came in 1996, with the Tar Heel's were ranked 8th in the country and won 28-10.
  • UNC is 0-1 against ranked opponents in 2004, losing 56-24 at Virginia on week two.
  • This is the third time U of L has visited UNC.

    LOUISVILLE

    • Bobby Petrino is 4-0 against BCS schools since becoming head coach at Louisville.

    • 2003 2004
      Points 22.0 10.5
      Rush Yards 162.5 99.5
      Pass Yards 232.5 194.5
      Total Yards 395.0 294.0

      This years squad is attempting to to become the first unit since 1961-62 to start the season 3-0 in consecutive seasons.

    • The Cardinals are a perfect 5-0 in the month of September under Bobby Petrino.

    • The U of L defense has improved quite a bit when compared to last year's team through two games.  (See chart at right.)

    • The Cardinals have won 33 straight games when leading after the third quarter.

    • A total of 8 players have rushed the football and 12 different players have made catches this season.

    • The Louisville ground game is averaging an impressive 5.9 yards per carry in the second half.

    NORTH CAROLINA

    • North Carolina has played 11 true freshman so far this year.

    • Sophomore linebacker Fred Sparkman leads the ACC with 10.7 tackles per game.


    • Damian Durant (Getty)
    • Carolina has not defeated a ranked team since winning at No. 13 Clemson 38-3 in 2001. Carolina's last win over a ranked team at home was a 41-9 victory over No. 6 Florida State in 2001.

    • UNC  has gained 400 or more yards in all three contests this season (575 vs. William & Mary, 434 at Virginia, 426 vs. Georgia Tech) and six of the last eight games overall.

    • Carolina is averaging 7.2 yards per play, including 6.0 yards per rush and 15.7 yards per pass reception.

    • Carolina ranks second in the ACC in third-down conversions with a 51.4 completion percentage.

    • Quarterback Damian Durant holds the UNC record for career passing yardage, career touchdowns, career completion percentage and about 50 more school records.

     

     

     

     

    STATISTICAL COMPARISON

      Louisville North Carolina
    Rushing Offense 245.5 253.3
    Passing Offense 260.0 225.0
    Total Offense 505.5 478.3
    Scoring Offense 40.0 35.7
    Rushing Defense 99.5 216.0
    Passing Defense 194.5 245.3
    Total Defense 294.0 461.3
    Scoring Defense 10.5 35.7
    Net Punting 46.0 44.4
    Punt Returns 7.7 7.7
    Kickoff Returns 18.0 21.5
    Turnover Margain +2 -3

    ITV PREDICTION

    I'm off to a 2-0 start on predictions for 2004. Okay, so everyone across the country picked the Cardinals over the Wildcats and Black Knights. Yes, the first challenge is Saturday when U of L visits North Carolina.

    This game features two high-powered offenses. Louisville enters the game 9th in total offense and Carolina comes in at 14th. Both teams like to utilize the ground game, as well as attacking through the air. UNC quarterback Damian Durant may be one of the most underrated signal callers in the country. He can do it with his arm and with his legs, which will have the Louisville defense on its toes all afternoon.

    This game will be won by defense. Who can stop who more. On paper it appears that U of L has the edge, but the Cardinal defense has yet to be truely challenged. The X factor will be the speed and discipline of the Louisville linebacking corp, led by Robert McCune, Brandon Johnson and Abe Brown. Look for the trio to stay focused on the rushing lanes and keep Durant in the pocket in a similar fashion to how UK's Shane Boyd was held in check.

    The Louisville offense will likely run and then run some more, keeping the UNC offense off the field as much as possible. Eric Shelton is poised to have a breakout game and there isn't a reason he shouldn't. Michael Bush should also cause havoc for the Tar Heel's.

    Louisville's ground game is too overpowering and the defense forces a couple fumbles, helping the Cardinals notch their third win of the season. U of L wins, 41-33.

    "Get Used To It!" - Bobby Petrino


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