C-USA Farewell Tour: Stop 2

East Carolina at Louisville
October 2, 2004 | 3:00 p.m.
Louisville, KY | Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
840 WHAS

QUOTES

Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino

On playing East Carolina:  They always present us with a lot of problems with their defense because it's so unique. It does a lot of different blitzes, different looks. Last week they had all 11 guys standing up jumping around, which we call a radar defense. And then they have different guys blitzing. It's something that we work on in the off-season trying to have some game plan for and John Thompson always changes certain things. We will have to run the ball well because that kind of balances it out at times, if you're able to run the ball well against them. We're going to have to play good defense.

On the Pirates defense:  You watch the video and see it and they played Buster Jr. the first game and that guy's a heck of a running back now, he's very impressive when you watch him on video; his speed and balance and size and they gave up a lot of yards to him. They've gotten a lot better each game against the run, so we have to understand that too.

On the play of his defense:  I never really can say that I expected this or expected that. I'm very happy with the way our defense is playing. I probably didn't think they'd be playing this well. When we started the whole thing out, I don't think it's very often you get two shout outs out of your first three games. They're doing a nice job. They're gaining a lot of confidence, playing fast. Offensively I thought we'd probably have to throw the ball more than we are, but we're really working the offense and the defense together trying to play off of each other. Control, the ball. Get three and outs. What I'm most happy with is our time of possession. The difference that we have in our first downs versus our opponents and the fact that we're very balanced.

East Carolina Head Coach John Thompson

On Stefan LeFors:   Stefan LeFors, when you say he is a very efficient quarterback, it almost takes away from some of the things he does. He is smart with handling the offense. He is very accurate.

On playing at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium:  I am looking forward to taking our football team up there to Papa John's Stadium and competing against a top 25 team. They are very good; they are very talented. It is going to be a very tough environment.

On the Pirates ground game:  Our running game is frustrating to everybody. I think it is frustrating not only to the coaches, but I think it is tremendously frustrating to Marvin (Townes) and to Art (Brown) and to all of us. We are going to keep working that. Chris Johnson will get a lot more carries. Chris may start the football game. We are trying to establish him because he is healthy right now. We have got to get healthy and do some things in the running game and we just haven't done that. The games have dictated that in some sense but in other ways we haven't made some people miss. We have got to make some people miss.

 

NOTES

GAME NOTES

  • This is the 10th meeting between Louisville and  East Carolina, with the Cardinals holding a 5-4 lead in the series.
  • East Carolina is 3-2 in Louisville.
  • The Cardinals are averaging 32.4 points a game throughout the series.
  • U of L defeated ECU 36-20 last year in Greenville, NC.
  • ECU is 0-1 against ranked opponents in 2004, losing 56-23 at West Virginia.
     

    LOUISVILLE

    • The Cardinals are attempting to start C-USA play at 2-0 for the first since the 2002 season.

    • 2003 2004
      Points 27.8 7.0
      Rush Yards 170.3 92.0
      Pass Yards 258.3 178.0
      Total Yards 428.6 270.0

      Louisville is just one of three teams in the nation averaging more than 250 yards per game rushing and 230 yards passing.

    • U of L has converted 7 opponents turnovers into 17 points through three games.

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

    • Louisville's ground game rushed for 305 yards against the Pirates last fall.

    • J.R. Russell has caught a pass in 27 consecutive games, the fourth longest streak in school history.  He needs just four yards to become the eight U of L receiver to surpass the 1,800 career yards barrier.

    • The experienced Louisville offensive line's average weight is 316.2 pounds.

    EAST CAROLINA

    • John Thompson holds a 4-2 mark against Louisville, but is 0-1 as a head coach.

    • If the Pirates could request a first half bye, there might be some speculation of perhaps altering East Carolina's won-lost record ... ECU has been outscored 70-22, committed five of its seven turnovers and generated an average of just 122.3 total yards (367) in the opening 30 minutes of games this season ... On the flip-side, the Pirates are just four points away from a deadlock (41-37), have turned it over just twice and are averaging over 100 more yards (228.7 ypg/686) in the second half of tilts in so far in 2004.

    • Despite playing in just three collegiate games, true freshman Chris Johnson has already made an immediate impact on East Carolina's offensive unit ... In his first career start, Johnson rushed for a team-high 96 yards and one TD on just six carries against Wake Forest -- an amazing average of 16.0 yards per carry

    • Junior linebacker Chris Moore is the leading returning tackler Conference USA ... Moore is the conference's and nation's leading returning tackler after finishing behind Southern Miss' Rod Davis in both the league and country last season.

     

    STATISTICAL COMPARISON

      Louisville East Carolina
    Rushing Offense 256.3 102.0
    Passing Offense 232.3 249.0
    Total Offense 488.7 351.0
    Scoring Offense 38.0 19.7
    Rushing Defense 92.0 311.7
    Passing Defense 258.3 214.0
    Total Defense 270.0 525.7
    Scoring Defense 7.0 37.0
    3rd Down Conversion 24/43 13/45
    Turnover Margain +5 -1

    ITV PREDICTION

    I'll say it up front...Louisville wins this game.

    East Carolina doesn't have a rush defense and Louisville has running back a plenty.  Louisville should come close, if not surpassing last years 305 rushing yards mark on Saturday.  ECU does like to toss the ball around, so this should be the Cardinals secondary's first real test of the young season.  To make matters worse, the Pirates are having difficulty rushing the ball, while the Cardinals are doing a great job slowing opponents ground games.

    Louisville wins this one in the first half and puts it away in the second half.  Cardinals 44 Pirates 10.

    "Get Used To It!" - Bobby Petrino


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