Louisville vs. Kansas State: Keys to the Game

What does Louisville (1-1) have to do Wednesday night to come up with an important non-conference victory over Kansas State (2-0). InsideTheVille.com breaks down five critical 'Keys of the Game.'

1. Win turnover battle
When Louisville takes care of the football they typically win. When they turn it over they usually lose. In the season opener against Kentucky, Louisville was -4 in the turnover department and lost 27-2. Against Tennessee Tech, the Cardinals were +2 and registered a 51-10 win. Last season, Louisville finished the season even in the turnover department. In their six defeats in 2007, the Cards were a miserable -10 in turnovers; In the six wins they were +12. If Louisville wins the turnover battle against Kansas State they'll have a good chance to score an important victory.

2. Pressure Freeman

Louisville must find away to apply
pressure to Kansas St.
QB Josh Freeman.

If Louisville can't generate a pass rush and allows Kansas State's Josh Freeman to stand in the pocket unpressured the junior quarterback will have a field day against the Cardinals secondary. Freeman has completed 76 percent of his throws this season and already has five touchdown passes. If Freeman has all day to find wide receivers Brandon Banks and Aubrey Quarles, it's going to be a long and disappointing night for Louisville.

3. Run the ball
In order to be successful against K-State, Louisville must establish their running attack. The Cardinals running game was stuffed against Kentucky and the offense looked woeful. Against Tennessee Tech, Louisville rushed for 243 yards and scored 51 points while on cruise control. Establishing the run early against the Wildcats will do two big things: 1. Open up the play-action game for strong-armed Hunter Cantwell; and 2. Control the tempo of the game and keep Freeman and the high-octane Kansas State offense on the sidelines.

4. Get the crowd going
Louisville needs to get off to a good start early in the ball game and get – and keep – the crowd into the action. Kansas State has not played well on the road under Ron Prince and a rowdy PJCS crowd might rattle the Wildcats. Kansas State is just 2-8 in road games with Prince on the sidelines. Louisville will be the Wildcats first road game of the 2008 season.

5. Get stops on third down
When Louisville gets Freeman and the explosive Kansas State offense into third down situations the Cardinals defense must find a way to get stops and get off the field. This season, Louisville has been solid on the ‘money' third down situations, allowing the opposition to convert just 6 of 30 third downs. Against Tennessee Tech, the Cardinals held the Golden Eagles to 2 of 14 on third down.

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