Cards look to build road resume at UConn

There's no place like the road for Louisville (4-3, 1-1). Though Steve Kragthorpe's Cardinals are just 2-2 at home, his team is a solid 2-1 on the road this season – the lone loss at No. 7 Kentucky in the final seconds.

There's no place like the road for Louisville (4-3, 1-1). Though Steve Kragthorpe's Cardinals are just 2-2 at home, his team is a solid 2-1 on the road this season – the lone loss at No. 7 Kentucky in the final seconds.

The Cardinals have played their best football away from Papa John's Cardinal Stadium this season, including last week's upset 28-24 win at then-No. 15 Cincinnati. Tonight, the Cards travel north to face Connecticut (5-1, 1-0), a team U of L owns a perfect 4-0 record against.

What is it about the road for Kragthorpe's Cards? For starters, Louisville is +6 in turnovers on the road, including a 4-0 advantage last week against Cincinnati. The Cardinals also do a good job controlling time of possession on the road, averaging 33 minutes per game.

Louisville, though, will face a stiff challenge against the Huskies. UConn is 3-0 at home this season, knocking off Maine, Temple and Akron by a combined 94-27. The Huskies, 1-0 in the Big East, started the season 5-0 before losing their first game on the road last week to Virginia 17-16.

"Overall, I think they've got a very good football team," Kragthorpe said. "I think offensively they're moving the ball well. Tyler (Lorenzen) is playing good football for them and they're running back should be back this week. They're going to spread you out in a lot of three and four wide receiver sets. On defense, they're very sound schematically and they're not going to give up big plays. They're going to make you earn it."

Pat Carter made a major impact last week
in the upset win over Cincinnati.
The game figures to be a classic offense vs. defense battle. While UConn ranks third nationally in total defense, Louisville boasts the nation's third best offense. The winner of that battle will likely improve to 2-1 in league play and find themselves right in the thick of the race for the Big East title and the conference's automatic BCS bowl berth.

While the Huskies are coming off their first loss of the season, the Cardinals are fresh off their best performance of the season.

"I thought we played a more complete game (against UC), certainly on offense we did some good things," Kragthorpe said. "Brian Brohm played extremely well and did a great job of not only standing in there and throwing the ball but also manufacturing some plays outside the pocket. I think it was probably our best overall performance in all three phases."

Especially defensively, Louisville played better against UC. Not only did the Cards force four turnovers, they also forced four straight punts in the second quarter and came up with an important goal line stand in the second half while holding a slim 28-21 lead.

"I thought we did a better job minimizing some big plays and creating turnovers," said Kragthorpe. "In the second and fourth quarters I thought we really played good defense. I thought we did a better job pressuring the quarterback."

Brohm, the Big East Offensive Player of the Week, has been sensational in recent weeks. He completed nearly 75 percent of his passes against Cincinnati's tough defensive backfield for 350 yards and three touchdowns last Saturday.

And though Louisville has struggled recently to run the ball – the Cards have failed to top the 100 yard mark in its last two games – the Cardinals offense has continued to produce through the air, especially with the return of wide receiver Harry Douglas last week and the emergence of Patrick Carter, Scott Long and Trent Guy in Mario Urrutia's absence.

"I think we have employed a little bit of the philosophy in the last couple games where we're throwing the ball to set up the run and we're creating seams for our running game," Kragthorpe said. "We go into every game thinking we want to run the football and sometimes we struggle to run the football and instead of continuing to pound the run we (decide) to throw it around a little bit."

While that philosophy has hurt Louisville's offensive balance, it hasn't hurt the Cardinals high-powered air attack. Brohm has thrown for more than 300 yards in every game this season except for one and Douglas ranks among the top receivers in the nation despite missing two games.

"Harry is a tremendous football player and person," Kragthorpe said. "He brings a lot of energy to the football field and I think it's contagious when he's on the field in terms of the outlook of some guys. Harry made a big impact on the (Cincinnati) game."

Louisville's offense could get another boost this week if Urrutia returns from a toe injury. The 6'6 junior receiver has missed the past two games. Kragthorpe said that Urrutia has been practicing with the team and will be a game time decision.

INJURY REPORT: Probable: WR Mario Urrutia; RB Brock Bolen; WR Harry Douglas; CB Johnny Patrick; DE Maurice Mitchell; Questionable: G Mike Donoghue; DE Rodney Gnat; DT Adrian Grady

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