Preview: West Virginia - Louisville

The Cardinals look to stay in the hunt for their second straight Big East championship, while the Mountaineers try to keep on a winning path to the top of the conference.






BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Series: WVU 6-2-0
Thu 11/8/07 7:30 PM
Morgantown, WV

Milan Puskar Stadium
Record: 7-1
BCS: 7th
Last Game
Rutgers W 31-3

<Click for Morgantown, West Virginia Forecast
Record: 5-4
BCS : NR
Last Game
Pitt W 24-17
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2007 Schedule
First Meeting: 1970
Last Meeting: 2006
Rosters/Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2007 Schedule

Injuries:

WVU - James Ingram (Back) Out, Antonio Lewis (Head) Probable, Quinton Andrews (Knee) Questionable, Will Johnson (Knee) Questionable, Patrick White (Chest) Probable

UL - Mike Donoghue (Back) Out

Game Outlook:

WVU offense vs. UL defense

After losing some starters to the NFL, the Louisville defense struggled through the first part of the 2007 before turning things around in the last couple of weeks. In the last two contests against UConn and Pitt, the Cardinal defense has only given up four offensive touchdowns -- two rushing and two receiving -- and has yielded an average of fewer than 300 yards per game.

Leading this resurgence has been starting middle linebacker Lamar Miles (6-0, 220). Miles has recorded 93 tackles, which is a staggering 57 stops more than the next Cardinal defender. Clearly, he is the defender around which the unit functions. The senior has also tallied two sacks, two quarterback hurries and three fumble recoveries.

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Game Info
WVU 7-1, 2-1
UL 5-4, 2-2
Thu 11/8/07 7:30 PM
Milan Puskar Stadium
Series: WVU 6-2-0
TV: ESPN
Chris Fowler - play-by-play,
Doug Flutie - analysis
Craig James - analysis

Erin Andrews - sideline
USA: WVU 6th - UL NR
Line: WVU -15.5
Joining Miles at linebacker will be Malik Jackson (6-2, 231) and Preston Smith (6-1, 220). Jackson was named second team All-Big East last season, while Smith, who came to Louisville as a quarterback, has turned into a solid performer as well. The duo has combined for 63 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.

Through the first half of the season, defensive tackle Earl Heyman (6-3, 290) has been the most productive of the four down lineman. The junior leads the team with four sacks to go along with 24 tackles.

Rounding out the defensive line will be L.D. Scott (6-2, 280), Willie Williams (6-3, 305) and Maurice Mitchell (6-3, 275). The massive trio has teamed for 57 tackles and three sacks.

The Louisville defensive backfield has been in flux for most of the season, with nine players making at least one start this season. The most consistant performer has been Rod Council (5-11, 190). Council, a junior, leads the team with two interceptions along with three pass break-ups.

Filling the cornerback position opposite of Council will be the combination of Johnny Patrick (6-0, 185) and Woodny Turenne (6-1, 190). Patrick, a freshman, and Turenne, a juco transfer, have combined for 45 tackles. The inexperience at this position may be something that Patrick White and his receivers will look to exploit.

Manning the safety positions will be Bobby Buchanan (5-11, 185) and Deon Palmer (6-0, 206). This hard-hitting duo has recorded 65 tackles this season. Adding depth to the position will be junior strong safety Richard Raglin (6-2, 195). Raglin is second on the team with 36 stops, and recorded his first career interception this season against Cincinnati.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked 13th in total offense (470.88 yds/game), third in rushing offense (297.88 yds/game) and 106th in passing offense (173.00 yds/game)

UL is ranked 79th in total defense (411.33 yds/game), 61st in rushing defense (153.89 yds/game) and 96th in passing defense (257.44 yds/game).

Advantage: WVU

WVU defense vs. UL offense

The Cardinal offense is the best offense that the Mountaineers will face this season, and will pose an intriguing challenge for the much improved and highly ranked WVU defense. Leading the explosive Red and Black offense will be Heisman candidate Brian Brohm (6-4, 228). The senior has posted an impressive stat line, consisting of 3229 yards passing on 251-368 attempts (68.2%) and 26 touchdowns compared to only seven interceptions. Brohm, the 2005 Big East Offensive Player of the Year, should be a first round draft pick is next year's NFL draft.

Louisville also happens to have two of the best receivers in the nation in Harry Douglas (5-11, 170) and Mario Urrutia (6-6, 228). This dynamic duo has been limited at times this season with injuries but both, are now either at or close to 100% and will be ready for the Mountaineers on Thursday night. Douglas and Urrutia have combined for 1306 yards and eight touchdowns. Gary Barnidge (6-6, 234), the starting tight end, has also posted solid numbers with 41 receptions including six touchdowns.

Joining Brohm in the backfield will be the three-headed monster of Anthony Allen (6-1, 232), Brock Bolen (6-0, 237) and George Stripling (6-0, 192). The WVU defense will have their hands full trying to bring down these backs that have averaged a combined 151.4 yards a game with 12 touchdowns. Stripling and Allen provide a speed component, while Bolen, a bruising runner, has emerged as a more than competent inside threat. They are also involved in the Louisville passing game, and can't be ignored when they head out into the pattern.

Giving Brohm time to pass will be a group of experienced offensive linemen. The line is led by Remington award candidate Eric Wood (6-4, 297). Wood, a junior, has made 34 straight starts at center.

Manning the tackle positions will be George Bussey (6-4, 298) and Breno Giacomini (6-7, 300). Bussey is a former walkon that has earned All-Big East honors, while Giacomini is making his 12 career start.

The guard positions will be filled by Danny Barlowe (6-5, 287) and Abdul Kuyateh (6-2, 295). Barlowe and Kuyateh have combined for 20 starts on the offensive line.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked fourth in total defense (262.13 yds/game), 15th in rushing defense (101.13 yds/game) and fourth in passing defense (161.00 yds/game).

UL is ranked sixth in total offense (510.44 yds/game), 68th in rushing offense (149.56 yds/game) and fourth in passing offense (360.89 yds/game).

Advantage: Push

WVU special teams vs. UL special teams

Leading the Louisville Cardinals' special teams is Art Carmody (5-8, 165), the Lou Groza Award winner in 2006 as the nation's top kicker. Carmody is showing this season that last year's trophy was no fluke as the senior is 9-13 on field goal attempts. He has suffered two blocked kicks and one missed attempt from 52 yards.

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Handling the punting duties will be sophomore Corey Goettsche (6-1, 196). The Colorado native has averaged 40.1 yards on 29 punts, with 14 attempts being fair caught or downed inside opponents' 20 yard-line.

Trent Guy (5-9, 170), a speedy sophomore, has been impressive returning punts and kickoffs. The former high school track star has averaged 10.3 yards on 10 punt returns, including a 54-yard return for touchdown. The North Carolina native has also averaged 23.4 yards per kickoff return, including a 100-yarder for a score against in-state foe Kentucky.

By The Numbers :
WVU is ranked 83rd in net punting (33.50 yds/punt), 74th in kick returns (20.92 yds/return) and 26th in punt returns (12.28 yds/return).

UL is ranked 88th in net punting (33.11 yds/punt), 33rd in kick returns (23.00 yds/return) and 46th in punt returns (9.80 yds/return)

Advantage: Push

Picks to Click:

On Offense: Owen Schmitt

On Defense: Ryan Mundy

Prediction:

After picking the Mountaineers to lose to Rutgers last week, I only have one thing to say: Crow is best served well done, and tastes just like chicken -- well, not quite.

West Virginia is playing its best football of the season, while Louisville is playing much better than it did earlier in the season in losses to Kentucky and Syracuse. While improving, Louisville just doesn't have the talent to measure up to the 2007 Mountaineers.

By the end of the game on Thursday night, the Blue and Gold will be feasting on Cardinal, while I get this taste of crow out of my mouth.

WVU - 45 UL - 24


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