WVU - UL Game Preview

In the premier college matchup of the week, the fifth-ranked Cardinals look to avenge last season's triple overtime loss and end third-ranked WVU's hope for a national title.






BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Series: 6-1-0
Thu 11/2 7:30 pm
Louisville, KY

Papa John's Stadium
Record: 7-0
USA/Coaches: 3rd
Last Game
UCONN W 37-11

Click for College Park, Maryland Forecast
Record: 7-0
USA/Coaches: 5th
Last Game
Syracuse W 28-13
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2006 Schedule
First Meeting: 1984
Last Meeting: 2005
Rosters/Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2006 Schedule

* Helmets are from 1963

Common Opponents to Date:

Syracuse - (WVU W 41-17) / (Louisville W 28-13)

Injuries:

WVU: Johnny Dingle (Ankle) Probable, Ridwan Malik (Hip, Quad) probable

UL - Michael Bush (Leg) Out, Chris Vaughn (Suspension) Out, Scott Long (Suspension) Out, Zac Anderson (Leg) Doubtful, Sergio Spencer (Ankle) Probable

Game Outlook:

WVU offense vs. UL defense

Although the defense lost the services of 2005 All-American Elvis Dumervil to the NFL, the

BlueGoldNews.com
Game Info
WVU 7-0, 2-0
UL 7-0, 2-0
Thu 11/2 7:30 p.m.
Papa John's Stadium
Series: WVU 6-1
TV: ESPN
BCS: WVU-3rd UL-5th
Harris Poll WVU 3rd - UL 5th
Line: WVU +2
Cardinals are improved and more experienced than last year's group. The Louisville defense is ranked eight in the nation against the run and will be the fastest and most athletic defense that the Mountaineers have faced this season.

The most dominating player on the Cardinal defense is probably senior Amobi Okoye (6-1, 305). Okoye, who signed with Louisville when he was only 15 years old, has racked up some impressive numbers, including 31 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, five sacks, one pass break-up and two forced fumbles. The Alabama native is joined at defensive tackle by Willie Williams (6-4, 300). Williams, a transfer from Georgia Military, has totaled eight tackles this season.

Rounding out the quick defensive line will be Earl Heyman (6-3, 285) and Peanut Whitehead (6-6, 245). Whitehead, one of the top recruits ever to sign at the University of Louisville, and Heyman, a solid and underappreciated contributor, have combined to record 22 tackles, 3.5 sacks and five tackles for a loss.

Starting at the three linebacker positions will be Malik Jackson (6-2, 231), Nate Harris (6-1, 235) and Preston Smith (6-1, 220)

Jackson leads the trio with 28 stops, seven tackles for a loss and four sacks while Harris and Smith have combined for 52 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and two sacks.

Also seeing time at linebacker will be Lamar Myles (6-0, 216) and Abe Brown (6-4, 230). Myles in the team's leading tackler, with 32 stops while Brown has recorded 21 tackles in reserve duty.

Manning the corner positions will be William Gay (5-11, 184) and Gavin Smart (5-9, 190). Gay, a three-year starter at corner, leads the team with three interceptions. Throw in 28 tackles, five tackles for a loss, two sacks and five pass break-ups and you have the makings of an All-BIG EAST performer.

Smart has made nine career starts, and leads the team with seven pass break-ups and has recorded 17 stops.

Starting at safety will be Latarrius Thomas (6-2, 195) and Brandon Sharp (5-11, 195). Thomas, a converted wide receiver and Sharp have had a productive season thus far, combining for 41 tackles, 3.5 sacks and six pass break-ups.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked fifth in total offense (459.29 yds/game), first in rushing offense (319.00 yds/game) and 110th in passing offense (140.29 yds/game)

UL is ranked 20th in total defense (284.57 yds/game), eighth in rushing defense (74.86 yds/game) and 18th in passing efficiency defense (104.86 rating).

Advantage: WVU

WVU defense vs. UL offense

Simply stated, the Louisville offense is one of the most explosive, well-balanced attacks in the nation. The Cardinals are the only team in Div 1A to have both their rushing and passing offense ranked in the top 10 in the nation.

This offense is full of weapons with the arsenal being lead by junior signal caller Brian Brohm (6-4, 224). Brohm, who missed two games with a thumb injury, has passed for 1269 yards, including four touchdowns and three interceptions. The Heisman Trophy and Davy O'Brien candidate has completed 61% of his passes (83-136) and owns an pass efficiency rating of 144.70.

With Heisman Trophy candidate Michael Bush out for the season with a broken leg, senior Kolby Smith (5-11, 218) and sophomore George Stripling (6-0, 190) have picked up the slack. The duo is averaging 115.1 yards per game and have crossed the goal line 11 times this season.

True freshman Anthony Allen has also seen some action at tailback, gaining 244 yards on 43 totes, including five touchdowns. Smith, Stripling and Allen are averaging 5.6, 5.8 and 5.7 yards per carry, respectively.

The Cardinal receiving corps is lead by a pair of impressive pass catchers. Harry Douglas (5-11, 170), one of the fastest Cardinals, leads the team with 35 receptions for 520 yards and a touchdown while Mario Urrutia (6-6, 228) will be playing on Sundays in a few years. The sophomore wideout was named second team All-BIG EAST and selected to the Sporting News All-America Team in 2005. The Louisville native has hauled in 27 passes for 520 yards and four touchdowns on the season.

The team's third pass catching option is starting tight end Gary Barnidge (6-6, 234). Barnidge, an experienced junior has caught 16 passes for 273 yards and one touchdown in 2006.

The mammoth, underrated Cardinal offensive line is lead by starting center Eric Wood (6-4, 297). Wood is one of the top centers in the nation, having been selected to the 2006 Remington, Outland and Lombardi Watch lists.

Starting at either side of Wood will be Kurt Quarterman (6-5, 328) and Daniel Barlowe (6-4, 287). Quarteman, a fixture on the Louisville offensive line, has started 31 straight games while Barlowe will get his sixth start of the season.

Manning the tackle position will be Renardo Foster (6-6, 325) and George Bussey (6-4, 298). Foster has battled injuries the last two seasons, but has managed to make every start this season while Bussey has been switched from guard to handle the left tackle position.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked 12th in total defense (271.43 yds/game), 16th in rushing defense (89.29 yds/game) and fourth in passing efficiency defense (93.60).

UL is ranked second in total offense (496.14 yds/game), seventh in rushing offense (216.00 yds/game) and 10th in passing offense (280.14 yds/game).

Advantage: UL

WVU special teams vs. UL special teams

One of the best kickers in the nation is UL's Art Carmody (5-9, 180), who has connected on all 34 of his extra point attempts this season and leads the Cardinals in scoring with 67 points.

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Carmody, who is on the Lou Groza award watch list, has also made 11 of 12 field goal attempts, making his last 10 in a row including a 51-yarder against Temple. He also handles kickoffs for the Cards.

Todd Flannery (6-1, 184) is the starting punter for Louisville. Flannery has averaged 39.7 yards on 17 punts this season. The junior has nailed four punts inside the 20-yard line and has forced five punts into fair catches.

The Louisville return game has struggled through seven games, ranking 119th and 98th in kick returns and punt returns respectively.

Georgia Tech transfer Patrick Carter will be returning punts for the Cardinals. The junior has averaged 5.9 yards on 18 returns with a long of 18 yards.

Leading the Cardinals in kickoff returns has beene JaJuan Spillman (5-10, 161). Spillman, a freshman, has gained 56 yards on three returns for an average of 18.7 yards.

By The Numbers:
WVU is ranked fifth in net punting (40.20 yds/punt), 12th in kick returns (25.39 yds/return) and 48th in punt returns (9.65 yds/return).

UL is ranked 79th in net punting (34.48 yds/punt), 119th in kick returns (14.50 yds/return) and 98th in punt returns (5.88 yds/return)

Advantage: WVU

Picks to Click:

On Offense: Darius Reynaud

On Defense: Eric Wicks

Totally Useless Facts:

  • The Cardinal was chosen as Louisville's athletic symbol sometime after 1913 since the Kentucky state bird is the cardinal. The exact date that the Cardinal grew teeth is still under investigation.

  • A few of the 157 members of the Louisville Hall Of Fame include NFL player Tom Jackson, basketball star Pervis Ellison, basketball coach Denny Crum, NFL great Johnny Unitas, and NBA great Wes Unseld.

  • The University of Louisville co-ed cheerleading squad has won 11 National Cheerleading Association Championships (1985, '86, '89, '92, '94, '96, '98, '99, '03, '04, '05).

Prediction:

Louisville is the only team on WVU's regular season schedule that can match the Mountaineer's athletes and speed in all three phases of the game. The University of Louisville and Coach Bobby Petrino have touted this game as the biggest game in the history of Cardinal football and have a "blackout" planned for the Blue and Gold and a national ESPN television audience.

Black uniforms or not, I just don't think the Cardinals possess the intangibles to top the third ranked Mountaineers on Thursday night.

WVU - 31 UL - 28


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