North Carolina vs Louisville: TV Schedule, Radio, Game Time & More
The Louisville Cardinals and the North Carolina Tar Heels are heading in two different directions, but one team will change its path on Saturday.
The Cardinals are quietly climbing the polls after two wins to open the season. Now at No. 19, they will try and add to their growing reputation.
North Carolina isn't ranked, and its loss to Wake Forest in Week 2 didn't help matters. A win over Louisville would put it back on the right track.
Let's preview this matchup from top to bottom.
Where: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky.
When: Saturday, September 15 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Louisville (-3.5) according to covers.com
This game is all about respect. Louisville needs this win to validate its early season success, and the Tar Heels want to bounce back from last week's loss to Wake Forest.
The Big East and the ACC are not considered the most reputable among BCS conferences, so every game is an uphill battle to catch the eye of voters.
Both of these teams are looking for national attention in this game Saturday afternoon.
Who Might Not Play for Louisville (according to USAToday.com)
WR Michaelee Harris - Knee - Out
Who Might Not Play for North Carolina (according to USAToday.com)
QB Bryn Renner - Head - Probable
RB Giovani Bernard - Knee - Probable
FB Connor Gonet - Undisclosed - Questionable
T T.J. Leifheit - Ankle - Questionable
LB Darius Lipford - Knee - Questionable
FB Devon Ramsey - Knee - Questionable
WR T. J. Thorpe - Foot - Out
BCS/Top 25 Implications
North Carolina's disappointing one-point loss to Wake Forest in Week 2 put a damper on its Top 25 hopes, but Louisville is in good shape.
The Cardinals have defeated Kentucky and Missouri State to start the year, but those wins don't do much in the respect department. A victory over the Tar Heels would give their overall resume a boost and possibly push them further up the polls.
North Carolina isn't ranked, but a win in Week 3 could land it on the fringe. The Cardinals are No. 19, but most spectators don't see them that way.
Louisville is the best team in the Big East, and it has a BCS berth on its minds.
What They’re Saying
Louisville is the No. 19 team in the nation, but its Big East affiliation doesn't earn it much respect. Cardinals defensive tackle Brandon Dunn spoke to that with the Courier-Journal:
“As long as we’re in the Top 25, we’re good. Some players feel we should be higher. I guess some people in the country don’t give us enough respect. They probably feel we don’t play anybody. But this week we should solve that.”
Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora gave his thoughts on the Louisville squad and the challenges they present, courtesy of Fox Sports Carolina:
"Speed, speed, especially defensively you can really see them fly around. They can run. They've got two defensive ends that get off on the ball and can go. They can give your quarterbacks a lot of problems. Their secondary, they like to play a lot of man coverage. They're fast."
Who to Watch, Louisville: Teddy Bridgewater, QB
Bridgewater's speed forces a defense to focus on containing him, but he's also a capable downfield passer. He's 49-of-60 passing this season for 576 yards and two touchdowns, and his pocket poise improves with each game.
He only has 23 rushing yards, but don't let him fool you. He chooses to remain in the pocket, but Bridgewater can hurt you if you don't hold your assignment.
Only a sophomore, the Cardinals' quarterback is one of the best in college football. If you don't know his name yet, you will soon enough.
Who to Watch, North Carolina: Kevin Reddick, LB
We've seen former Tar Heel defenders like Robert Quinn, Zach Brown, Quinton Coples and Marvin Austin create NFL draft buzz in recent years, and Reddick could be the next one in line.
Reddick stands 6'3'' and weighs in around 240 pounds. He's a physical presence in run support, but he also has enough speed to match up with tight ends and running backs out of the backfield.
He has 14 tackles so far this season. He will play a big part in slowing down Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright out of the backfield, and he will also keep an eye on Bridgewater.
Key Matchup: Louisville Defensive Line vs. North Carolina Offensive Line
Jonathan Cooper and James Hurst are two very good offensive lineman for the Tar Heels, but they will have their hands full with Louisville's defensive front.
The Cardinals' front unit is a bit undersized, but it brings a lot of speed. Marcus Smith, Bryant Dubose and Lorenzo Mauldin all fly off the edge. Brandon Dunn is a smallish nose tackle, but he has an explosive first step, and Deiontrez Mount is a rising sophomore.
If Bryn Renner isn't protected, the Tar Heels will struggle.
Giovani Bernard may be back in the backfield for North Carolina, or it will be A.J. Blue toting the rock. Either way, they will need room to work.
The Cardinals will use their speed to change the game, unless the Tar Heel offensive front has something to say about it.
Who will win?
Bridgewater and Louisville's defensive speed will be the difference in this one. The game is going to be tight, but the Cardinals' home crowd will make a difference in the end.
Look for Bridgewater to make enough plays to win the game. Renner has the better arm, but the Cardinals' defensive line will make his life difficult.
Score: Louisville 27, North Carolina 21
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