Sat 11/07/09 12:00 PM
USF L 30-19
TV: Big East
Arkansas St W 21-13
Series: WVU 8-2
First Meeting: 1984
Last Meeting: 2008
Louisville is struggling to defend against the pass this year, yielding a completion percentage of 67.1% and an opponent passing efficiency rating of 148.6. That's good news for West Virginia's passing game, which has historically been solid, and protected the ball, against the Cardinals. In fact, only one Mountaineer quarterback has ever thrown an interception against Louisville in the ten game history of the series. Can you name him?
WHO TO START?
Louisville has won three games this season, and each has come with a different starting quarterback. That makes the Cardinals the only team in the nation to have three different starting quarterbacks record wins this season.
Junior Justin Burke was the starter in the Louisville's 30-10 win over Indiana State, while junior Adam Froman led the Cardinals to a victory over Southern Mississippi. In the win over Arkansas State last Saturday, red-shirt freshman walk-on Will Stein was the signal-caller in the 21-13 win. Stein was a solid 20-of-39 for 232 yards in his win, while Froman was 14-of-26 for 248 yards and a touchdown in a win over Southern Miss. Burke was 17-of-31 for 223 yards in a win over Indiana State.
Granted, that's not a murderer's row of opponents, but it does point out the fact that the Cards do have some talent at the position, and that the offense being run is adaptable to the differing skills of each player.
West Virginia is 6-0 when playing on artificial turf surfaces this season, and 0-2 on natural grass. Does it bode well for the Mountaineers that all four remaining games on on ersatz grass? Guess we can worry about the bowl game later.
STATISTICAL ODDITY OF THE MILLENIUM
A note from the UofL stat sheet has to be one of the oddest items we've ever run across. Junior wide receiver Doug Beaumont has caught 89 passes for 1,099 yards in his Louisville career, but has failed to score even one touchdown for the Cardinals. He has been a productive receiver, starting the last 20 consecutive games for Louisville and catching at least one pass in each. He is second on the team this year in receptions, grabbing 27 balls good for 349 yards. He just can't find a way to get into the end zone.
To Beaumont's credit, he hasn't let the lack of TDs affect his game. He is also Louisville's second-leading tackler on special teams, recording seven solo stops to date on coverage squads.
West Virginia eclipsed the 10 million attendance mark in its 28-24 victory over Connecticut on Oct. 24. Entering the game, WVU needed just 1,080 fans to reach the milestone. With 58,106 in attendance for the Saturday afternoon contest, WVU is now averaging 57,952 through five home games this season.
Of course, this leads to the question of what the crowd will be like for Saturday's game against Louisville. There was the usual outpouring of disdain following the loss to USF, but is that representative of Mountaineer nation at large? Will WVU have a crowd of at least 55,000, which a team that is still in contention for the Big East title should expect?
Given Louisville's 3-5 record, it's not surprising that it only has 18 touchdowns this year. What is odd, however, is that only one of those scores cam on a drive of less than 50 yards.
The Cards have 15 touchdown drives that have covered 60 yards or more, and two more in the 50-yard range, but just one that covered less than half the length of the field. UofL does have six field goal drives of 50 yards or less, which points out a problem with converting good field position into touchdowns. However, the drive stat shows that Louisville does have the ability to hit big plays and put together scoring drives from anywhere on the field.
With Louisville's quarterback situation in flux, it figures that the Cards won't be too adventurous in the passing game. That should fit tight end Cameron Graham to a tee. The juco transfer has 18 catches for 230 yards and two scores this year, and he will likely be sent to work the mid-field areas that have plagued West Virginia's pass defense in 2009.
Major Harris is the only Mountaineer quarterback to have thrown an interception against Louisville. WVU has attempted 220 passes against the Cards in the series.