#3 Miami Hurricanes (4-0) vs. #17 Louisville Cardinals (4-0)
Orange Bowl – Miami, Florida
October 14 – 7:30 PM Eastern on ESPN
Through three games, the Hurricanes have allowed only 26 points, with one of the two touchdowns allowed coming on a fumble return (the defense has given up just one touchdown and four field goals). Miami ranks third in the NCAA in total defense, 22nd in rushing defense, second in pass defense, first in pass defense efficiency and second in scoring defense.
The Cardinals are 4-0, with a 2-0 first-place record in Conference USA. The Cardinals pack a strong 1-2 punch with an offense averaging 42.3 points per game and 503.8 yards per game and a defense that has allowed only 7.0 points per game.
The game will be the 10th game in the series, with Miami holding an 8-0-1 lead over Louisville. The teams first played on Nov. 10, 1933, in Miami, with the Hurricanes securing a 33-7 win. UM's only blemish against the Cardinals was a 13-13 tie on Nov. 10, 1950. The two teams last faced off on Oct. 26, 1985, with Miami handing Louisville at 45-7 defeat. UM is 4-0-1 against the Cardinals in the Orange Bowl
Miami Head Coach Larry Coker – 4th season
On facing Louisville:
"This is a tremendous challenge facing us Thursday night with Louisville. They are a top 10 team in about every statistical category, offensively and defensively. They are very balanced on offense and they run the ball very well. They have three running backs they will use, which keeps everybody fresh. They also pass the ball very well.
On if Louisville is that good or are they playing weak competition:
Well, they played Kentucky which is a rivalry game for them and they beat North Carolina who just beat NC State. So they have played a couple of name teams. I don't know how good those teams are, but I know that Louisville is winning the games convincingly. When they play they leave no doubt who the better team is.
On the play of Louisville's two quarterbacks:
"The older quarterback (Stefan LeFors) is probably a bit more mobile, but the younger quarterback (Brian Brohm) was one of the most highly recruited quarterbacks in the country. They were able to get him to stay home in Louisville and he will be a great player for them."
On the play of running backs Frank Gore and Tyrone Moss:
"I hope it is seen as a one-two punch. Tyrone had 100-plus yards against Houston and Frank had 100-plus yards against Georgia Tech. I would like for them to both have 100-plus yards against everybody. I like this situation a lot. It hopefully will help to keep both of them healthy and competitive with one another. They are both very capable of doing a good job. I would like to try and sell them as the best one-two combination in the country. I don't know if they are or not, but that should be one of the goals for our team."
On why Miami's secondary always one of the top in the nation:
We have been in this type of scheme now for four years. I think the players are getting more comfortable with it. Basically it's a scheme where hopefully we make you hold the ball, and if you hold the ball it allows the time for blitzes, and the time for the rush to pressure the quarterback. If you haven't seen it (our defense) it is difficult. You get thrown out of your rhythm, you don't get in your route and everything is taken out of timing. That is what we have been able to do for the most part this season. We aren't getting a tremendous amount of sacks, but a guy like Orien Harris is putting tremendous pressure on the quarterback, which results in an interception, or an errant throw.
Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino – 2nd season
On whether he has looked at any film on Miami as of yet:
"I came in a little early this morning and started watching them. They are really good on defense and very big on the defensive front. They are very active and play a lot of very tight coverage. We have a lot of work ahead of us to get ready for them. We are going to have to find a way to run the ball...its certainly a very big challenge ahead of us. Offensively, they run the ball well. They have a power running game, which is a little bit different than some of the things we've seen. We're going to have to put some pressure on Brock Berlin to be able to make him have to throw and then get some pass rush against him."
On what a win against Miami would mean to the program:
"I think it's a big opportunity for us. I know we took care of our business so far this season, going 4-0, which is a good thing. They are certainly a great program and they've been very dominant and they're going to be a big challenge for us. I think it will be a good measuring stick to see where we are...we're going to have to play really well to win the game."
On the style of Miami coach Larry Coker:
"He has a winning style. They just do a good job. They've got great players, they are well coached, and understand the situations in a game. They've been able to win games in the fourth quarter and come from behind. They have a lot of tradition going for them. When you look at program you'd like to emulate, we would certainly like to grow up and be like Miami.
On whether his players will have the confidence to believe they can win at Miami:
"I think we'll go in there really confident. We are going to have to make sure that we play to our ability and don't do things that are unusual. Sometime you get in a big game and you get out of your element. We're just going to have to stay focused and keep our poise and be in it for all four quarters. We're going to have a good time and go down there and go out and do the best we can and enjoy it. It's something that we're excited about doing. They are certainly a very fine football team and there's a reason that they are. But we're certainly going to enjoy the preparation and take it very seriously."
On if the believes Miami will intimidate his team:
"Not really. I think you just go down and play. They play extremely fast and they hit hard. But on video you don't see that trash talking...it looks like they're very disciplined. We had a crew come in here last week that wanted to talk but they didn't want to play. These guys are just the opposite. They know how to play and how to hit..."
MIAMI PROJECTED STARTERS
Offense Defense QB Brock Berlin LE Baraka Atkins TB Frank Gore LT Orien Harris FB Talib Humphrey RT Santonio Thomas TE Kevin Everett RE Thomas Carroll WR Roscoe Parrish SLB Roger McIntosh WR Lance Leggett MLB Glenn Cook LT Rashad Butler WLB Tavares Gooden LG Tony Tella CB Antrel Rolle C Joel Rodriguez CB Kelly Jennings RG Tyler McMeans FS Anthony Reddick RT Chris Myers SS Greg Threat PK Jon Peattie P Brian MonroeMIAMI INJURY STATUS
OL Joel Rodriguez Hamstring Probable LB Leon Williams Hand Probable FS Brandon Meriweather Hand Questionable WR Sinorice Moss Hamstring Doubtful OL Eric Winston ACL Out WR Ryan Moore Ankle Out FB Kyle Cobia Shoulder Out CB Glenn Sharpe Knee Out CB Terrell Walden ACL OutNOTABLE PLAYERS
Miami (4-0)Louisville (4-0)
QB #7 Brock Berlin 676 yards 57% 5 TD 2 Int RB #3 Frank Gore 282 yards 5.5 avg 3 TD RB #30 Tyrone Moss 268 yards 5.8 avg 4 TD WR #1 Roscoe Parrish 10 receptions 144 yards 2 TD CB #6 Antrel Rolle 19 tackles, 1.5 sacks SS #5 Greg Threat 37 tackles, 2 interceptions PK #13 Jon Peattie 6-11 FG, 10-10 XP
QB #17 Stefan LeFors 680 yards 75% 3 TD 1 Int RB #32 Eric Shelton 296 yards 7.2 avg 8 TD RB #19 Michael Bush 249 yards 4.7 avg 3 TD WR #3 J.R. Russell 23 receptions 246 yards 1 TD LB #54 Robert McCune 37 tackles, 1 sack FS #1 Kerry Rhodes 14 tackles, 2 interceptions PK #18 Arthur Carmody 4-6 FG, 23-23 XPNOTABLE TEAM STATISTICS
Louisville – 2nd in Scoring Offense (43.3)
Miami – 1st in Scoring Defense (6.5)
Louisville – 7th in Rushing Defense (82.3)
Miami – 64th in Rushing Offense (151.3)
When Louisville has the ball…
RB Eric Shelton vs. LB Tavares Gooden
Shelton (6-3, 250) rushed for 129 yards and five touchdowns on 12 carries last week against East Carolina. The former Florida State transfer is averaging over seven yards per carry on the season. He is a power back with a good mix of speed. Gooden (6-1, 220) has been playing better each week. The first-year starter registered a team-high nine tackles last week and is tied for second on the team in tackles. He has good speed and hopes to match Shelton's strength.
When Miami has the ball…
RT Chris Myers vs. LE Marcus Jones
Myers (6-5, 300) is primarily suited for the guard position, but has also played center and tackle in his career. With the loss of tackle Eric Winston for the season Myers is likely to remain at tackle this season. Jones (6-2, 240) earned second-team all-Conference USA last season after recording 10 sacks. On the season he has two sacks in guiding the Cardinals to the third-ranked scoring defense in the country giving up just seven points per game.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON
Louisville QB Brian Brohm – Brohm was one of the most highly touted quarterbacks in the country last season. He decided to stay home to play for Louisville and coach Petrino has put Brohm in early in games. On the season he has completed 31-of-41 passes (76 percent) for 351 yards and one touchdown—very good numbers for a quarterback much less a true freshman.
Miami WR Darnell Jenkins – Jenkins made a number of plays in spring practices earning praise from his teammates and coaches. He has yet to have a breakout game in 2004, but this could be the game to do so. On Monday during practice he made a number of nice catches including some that went for touchdowns. He has the ability to make the big play.
COKER'S FINAL WORD
On the possibility of the team taking Louisville lightly:
"We don't take anybody lightly. Our preparation is the same for Louisville as it is for Florida State. We don't take anyone lightly. How can you take someone lightly that is undefeated? Ranked in the top 20? Statistically one of the top defenses in the country? Tops in turnover margin? Tops in offensive categories? How could you take anyone lightly like that? So no, we are not taking anybody lightly and we don't."
PLAYER QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Offensive lineman Joel Rodriguez on the mindset needed to win:
"Once you play a game not to lose, then you will lose. If you play to win and play aggressively then you usually come out on top."
Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at email@example.com