BCS Quest: Game Preview

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Everything is on the line tonight at High Point Solutions Stadium. With a BCS bid on the line and Big East championship implications, Rutgers can make history tonight in front of a sell-out crowd on Senior Night.

No. 23 Louisville (9-2, 4-2) at No. 25 Rutgers (9-2, 5-1)


Time: 7: 30 p.m., High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, N.J.
TV/Radio: ESPN, 710-WOR, 1450-AM, 610-WIP, 88.7 WRSU
Series:Rutgers leads 7-4
Last meeting: Oct. 21, 2011, Louisville won 16-14
Coaches: Rutgers – Kyle Flood (1st Season, 9-2); Louisville – Charlie Strong (3rd season, 23-14)

Storyline Central

  • BCS Quest -- The ScarletReport.com theme this week, Rutgers is in a do or die situation for a BCS spot. Beat Louisville and Rutgers goes to the Orange Bowl or Sugar Bowl pending other results. Lose, and most within the program see the team as failing to reach its 2012 goals.

  • Senior Night -- Rutgers says goodbye to its senior class tonight, which features some of the strongest leaders in recent history. Led by team captains Khaseem Greene, Steve Beauharnais, Mason Robinson and Tim Wright, Rutgers will honor its seniors in a short ceremony before kickoff and then shift focus to beating Louisville and earning a BCS bid.

  • Limping Forward -- On just five days rest, both teams are beat up coming off bad losses. For Louisville, the situation is hairy with star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater severely limited this week. Bridgewater has a bad leg and a broken non-throwing wrist. He will play, says coach Charlie Strong, but will be limited. Will Stein is the backup.

Matchup to Watch
Rutgers defensive coordinator Robb Smith vs. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater.

Bridgewater's health is a huge concern leading into the game. Not only does he dictate the Louisville offense, but he is the leading contender for Big East Offensive Player of the Year with 3,189 yards and 23 touchdowns. Bridgewater ha a broken wrist and limited mobility and Smith will have to use that to his advantage by getting to him early and flushing him out of the pocket. The Cardinals are already down their leading rusher with a torn ACL and threw 62 pass attempts in last week's loss.

Scarlet Knights Win If…
They protect Nova. Running the ball alone will not be enough to win. Pittsburgh blew the Rutgers offensive line off the line of scrimmage consistently and gave the Scarlet Knights no chance to make plays in the passing game. Protect the passer and the rest can take care of itself.

QB Gary Nova
Cardinals Win If …
Bridgewater stands tall Bridgewater is a warrior and he has every intention of playing. A team leader, Bridgewater can inspire the rest of the team by playing tough and he has the physical tools to get it done. If Bridgewater is anywhere close to 100 percent on-form, Rutgers faces its toughest quarterback since Tyler Wilson of Arkansas.





KICKOFF PRIMER

Impact Player
OLB Khaseem Greene — Tonight marks a battle of likely offensive player of the year and defensive player of the year in the conference. Greene is a run stuffer and impact defender, but his ability to make big hits and get to the quarterback can be a difference maker. Bridgewater will struggle to protect the ball on quarterback hits and the turnover battle likely decides the game.

LB Khaseem Greene
Something to Prove
WR Mark Harrison — Harrison's drop against Louisville last year, simply put, lost the game at PapaJohn's Cardinal Stadium. Harrison can redeem that play and more on Senior Night by helping send Rutgers to the BCS.

Looking to Build
TE Paul Carrezola — Carrezola played his best game since shifting positions after the Michael Burton injury. He was his most effective in the passing game and continues to improve in both facets of the passing game.

Freshman to Watch
PK Nick Borgese — Will he have his Jeremy Ito moment? Borgese is set to start yet again for the injured Kyle Federico and his leg could decide the game like it did for Ito in the epic 2006 victory.



ScarletReport.com Predictions:

Dohn: 27-17 Rutgers

Hellman: 13-10 Louisville

Simulation: 24-17 Rutgers


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