Louisville Football: Louisville vs. Missouri State Preview and Prediction

Jon Hancock@@JonKYSportscoSenior Analyst ISeptember 5, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 02:  Jeremy Wright #28 of the Louisville Cardinals runs for a touchdown during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 2, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Louisville Cardinals began the season with a big win against their in-state rivals Kentucky last Sunday. Louisville is hoping to keep its confidence growing as it takes on Missouri State Saturday at 3:30pm.

The weather for the game is expected to be in the low-70s with a slight chance of rain.

The Missouri State Bears began their season with a rough start by losing to Kansas State last Saturday 51-9. Missouri State was tied 9-9 until midway through the third quarter. Kansas State then went on a 42-0 run to seal the victory.

"They do a good job of throwing the ball around," Charlie Strong said in his press conference Monday (via UofLSports.Com). “They return all starters on defense. Eleven starters coming back on defense. So, it will be a great challenge.”


Where: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY

When: September 8, 2012, 3:30 p.m. ET

Watch: WHAS (In Louisville, KY)

Listen: WHAS 840 AM (In Louisville, KY)


Players to Watch on Missouri State

Missouri State's biggest weapon is junior wide receiver Dorian Buford. Buford is very fast and had a very good offseason for the Bears. Last Saturday, he had seven catches for 114 yards.

Louisville struggled with another talented wide receiver last year when it played Florida International. FIU's T.Y. Hilton, who is now with the Indianapolis Colts, led his team to an unexpected victory over the Cardinals at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Hilton had 201 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions that game.

Louisville's defense allowed Kentucky's Maxwell Smith to have a very good day passing on Sunday. The Cardinal secondary must not get out of position and allow Missouri State to break for big plays.

Nate Davis will be the player to watch on Missouri State's defense. The senior outside linebacker had 12 tackles against Kansas State, including one sack. With the talent that Louisville has on its offensive line, it should have no trouble keeping up with Davis.


Players Watch on Louisville

Louisville had two running backs that rushed for over 100 yards against Kentucky in Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry. UofL's other talented running back, Dominique Brown, is expected to play Saturday against the Bears after missing the opening game with a leg injury.


Louisville should have the ability to run all day against Missouri State if it chooses to. The Cardinal o-line has an average weight of 312 lbs. and will be up against a Bears defensive line that weighs an average of 261 lbs.

In Saturday's game, Missouri State gave up 324 yards on the ground against Kansas State.


Game Prediction

The Louisville Cardinals will need to be careful to not come into the game with too much confidence. They are playing against a Missouri State team which played very well against a very talented Kansas State team.

I expect Louisville's offensive line to provide plenty of big holes for its backs to run through. Teddy Bridgewater will finish what he started against Kentucky, making smart passes to several different receivers.

If Louisville comes out focused, this could be a long day for the Missouri State Bears.

I predict Louisville to win 41-10.