Time: 11 a.m., Rutgers Stadium
TV/Radio: EPSN2.com/710-AM, 1450-AM
Series: Rutgers leads, 7-2
Last meeting: Nov. , 2009: Rutgers won, 34-14
Coaches: Rutgers – Greg Schiano (10th season, 59-61); Louisville – Charlie Strong (5-6, 1st season)
- Bowl eligibility. The loser will not go to a bowl game this season. If Louisville wins, it is bowl eligible and likely heading to a bowl game. If Rutgers wins, it will need to win next week at West Virginia to go a bowl game.
- How much fight is left in the Scarlet Knights? A four-game losing streak filled with close losses and the Eric LeGrand injury conspired to emotionally exhaust the Scarlet Knights. What do they have left in the tank?
- How will the weather influence the game. Rainy, gusty winds and cold temperatures are forecast for the black Friday affair. It won't be pretty off the field, but what will that mean on it?
Jeremy Deering did a fantastic job against the Orange, but after studying the game tape of the Scarlet Knights' jumbo package of using Art Forst at tight end and Antwan Lowery in the backfield, Louisville shut the Wildcat down.
The Scarlet Knights' defense was the strong point all season, but busted assignment after busted assignment plagued them in yielding 69 points last week at Cincinnati.
Louisville presents a different challenge because it can run the ball and control the clock, which means an already tired defense could get warn down if the offense doesn't help.
The Cardinals come as losers of three of the last four games, including home defeats to USF and West Virginia, but they have been involved in a number of close games.
Bilal Powell leads a powerful rushing attack that averages 177.2 yards per game. He has run for 1,207 yards (6.4 per carry), but the passing game leaves a lot to be desired.
The 6-foot-9 Josh Chichester, who splits time at receiver and tight end, is a handful to cover because of his size, but it is tight end Cameron Graham who is a bigger influence in the offense. He has 33 catches for 397 yards.
Defensively, the Cardinals bring pressure and tackle well. The last five opponents have been held under 300 yards of total offense, and it begins with pressuring the quarterback. Defensive end Rodney Gnat has a team-leading eight sacks.
|Rutgers LB Antonio Lowery|
2. Run the ball well out of the Wildcat. Yes, fans think it adversely affects the passing game, but no team wins running for 12 yards on 23 carries. Something has to be done to take pressure off Dodd, and this is the only option.
3. Make Louisville throw the ball. The Cardinals average less than 200 passing yards per game, and rely heavily on the run.
2. Blitz, blitz and blitz. Rutgers hasn't picked up the blitz in more than a year. Why would that change now?
3. Don't turn the ball over. Louisville has turned the ball over 15 times this season, and taking care of it means Rutgers' offense will be forced to go 70 to 80 yards for a score.