Bits & Bytes: WVU - Louisville

Scheduling, kicking woes and streaks are just some of the items in this week's roundup of informational tidbits as West Virginia prepares to face Louisville

BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Sat 11/22/08 12:00 PM

Louisville, KY

Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
Record: 6--3
BCS: NR
Last Game
Cincinnati L 23-26
TV: ESPN
Radio: Sirius, MSN
Web: BlueGoldNews.com
Record: 5-5
BCS: NR
Last Game
Cincinati L 20-28
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2008 Schedule

Series: WV 7-2
First Meeting: 1984
Last Meeting: 2007
Rosters/Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2008 Schedule

Click for Louisville, Kentucky Forecast


HOME SWEET HOME

While WVU gets blasted on occasions for trying to arrange seven home games per year (which obviously results in a game against lower caliber competition – two if you count Marshall), that criticism doesn't seem to extend to the Cards. The West Virginia game will be Louisville's eighth home contest this year – a slate that included Tennessee Tech and Middle Tennessee State.


DEFENSIVE LIFT?

With West Virginia's offense struggling, the defense may have to score, or set the offense up at point blank range as it did at UConn, in order for the Mountaineers to win. That avenue could be available against the Cards, who have yielded seven fumble or interception returns for scores this year.

That problem for UofL (and possible advantage for WVU), extends to turnovers in general. In the Cards' five wins, they have suffered just six turnovers. In their five losses, they have coughed it up 17 times. That's a major reason for those five losses, as the Cardinal defense has yielded an average of just 317 yards per game to foes.


IT'S TIME

If West Virginia wants to get its passing game going, it needs to utilize Dorrell Jalloh more. While Jalloh isn't going to outrace cornerbacks, he is WVU's most productive and efficient receiver. He catches the ball and can break a tackle or two, and he certainly isn't targeted by opposing defenses.

Understand that this isn't a call for WVU to abandon the run or ignore other receivers or aspects of its passing game. However, if the Mountaineers are going to do anything other than nibble through the air, the ball needs to go in Jalloh's direction.


PENALTY WATCH

Perhaps it was frustration on our part in rooting for a Louisville win over Cincinnati last week, but the timing of several holding penalties against the Cardinals was somewhat suspect. After going nearly three quarters without a flag, UofL was hit with six calls in the final 18 minutes, including three holding calls that figured greatly in the halting of potential Cardinal scoring drives. In all, penalties cost Louisville 75 yards in gains and wiped out two first downs. Want to bet an over-under on the number of Louisville holding calls this week? I'd put the number at one.

Big East officials still call far too many penalties, seemingly in an attempt to show that they are in control of the game. WVU's best-officiated game this year was the Auburn contest, with few flags either way. While Big East officiating has improved, it's still nowhere near the quality of other conferences.

A final hint – watch out for referee Gerard McGinn's crew. That group is the latter day version of John Smith's unit of several years ago, which was routinely horrible.


READY FOR DUTY

West Virginia has had eight players with 40 or more career starts, headed by Dan Mozes' 49. Ryan Stanchek heads the active list with 43, and barring injury will finish second to Mozes with 47 by the time his WVU career is complete. Patrick White will make his 39th start against Louisville, and should join the 40-plus club against Pitt.

If he elects to stay at WVU for his senior season, and avoids injury, offensive lineman Greg Isdaner could break Mozes' mark next year. Isdaner has the potential to make 51 consecutive starts.


RED ZONE REACTION

Louisville many have the worst field goal-kicking situation in the nation. The Cards' longest successful field goal attempt this year has been from 36 yards, and they are just 5-9 on field goals this year. Things are so bad that the Cards routinely go for first downs on fourth down tries from conventional field goal distances. Louisville has tried just one kick from longer than 40 yards this year – and predictably, it missed. UofL is 8-18 on fourth down this year – certainly a respectable percentage.

Incredibly, Louisville's game notes contend that a pair of 23-yard boots against Cincinnati has "stabilized" the kicking situation.


BlueGoldNews Top Stories