Louisville vs. South Florida: Complete Game Preview and Predictions

Jon HancockSenior Analyst IOctober 16, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 13:  Senorise Perry #32 of the Louisville Cardinals celebrates after rushing for a 59-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the game on October 13, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Cardinals defeated the Panthers 45-35.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The University of Louisville Cardinals will return home Saturday after playing three straight road games. The undefeated Cardinals will take on the South Florida Bulls who come into the game 2-4.

Louisville comes into the game ranked 16th in this week's BCS standings. The Cards played their first Big East conference game last Saturday against Pittsburgh, beating them 45-35.

“We know that South Florida is going to be another challenge for us because they are a team that is extremely talented with a lot of seniors,” UofL coach Charlie Strong said in his Monday press conference via UofLSports.com. “We cannot lose our focus, we have to execute, and we have to finish. We know each game is going to be like this in this league.”

South Florida is coming off a bye week; they lost to Temple two weeks ago, 37-28, after giving up three costly turnovers. USF has lost its last four games.

USF coach Skip Holtz said of the team's bye-week in his Monday press conference, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, “It was great to see those guys running around full speed. This open date has been very good as far as getting some of the bumps and bruises, going through a long camp and then six straight weeks. Having an opportunity to get refreshed mentally and physically is a huge thing for us right now, especially with what we've been through the last four weeks.”


When: Saturday, October 20th at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Where: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky.

Watch: ABC (Regional)

Radio: 840 WHAS in Louisville, KY.


Betting Line: Louisville -7 per VegasInsider.com.


Weather: According to Weather.com, it will be in the low 60s and partly sunny in Louisville, Kentucky.


Players to Watch on South Florida

USF QB B.J. Daniels is very athletic for a quarterback; he has the ability to beat you with his arm or legs. Daniels has thrown for 1,504 yards and 10 touchdowns this season and has also ran for 270 yards and four touchdowns.

Daniels has had some trouble this season throwing interceptions. He has thrown for eight picks so far, throwing an interception in five of USF's six games this year.

If the Bulls can get senior running back Demetris Murray active in the game early it will take a lot of pressure off of Daniels. Murray has 327 yards and four touchdowns so far this season.

On the defensive side of the ball, South Florida relies heavily upon redshirt junior DeDe Lattimore. The 6'1”, 232-lb linebacker leads the Bulls in tackles so far this season with 47, including 2.5 sacks. Louisville running backs Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright have been giving team headaches with their one-two punch. It will be up to Lattimore to slow down Louisville's rushing attack.


Game Notes

—USF is ranked 73rd in points allowed, averaging 27.5 a contest.

—South Florida leads the all-time series with Louisville, 5-4; Louisville is 3-1 when playing USF at home.

—South Florida is ranked 24th in the country in sacks allowed.

—Louisville is ranked 26th in the country in rushing defense. The Cards give up an average of 114 on the ground per game.

—Louisville has 17 rushing touchdowns so far this season; they had a total of 13 last season.


Keys to a Louisville Victory

—Run the ball successfully early in the game. USF gives up an average of 173.5 yards on the ground per game. With Louisville's dual rushing attack, the Cards should be able to run successfully throughout the game.

—Keep pressure on B.J. Daniels. The Cardinals were able to put pressure on Pitt and recorded five sacks in the game last Saturday. If the Cards bring the same amount of heat, Daniels will force passes and give up some interceptions.

—Let Teddy Bridgewater do what he does. Bridgewater is the best quarterback in the Big East conference and needs to continue to build up confidence as the season goes along. Louisville's coaching staff just needs to let him continue to carry the team on his back.


Game Predictions

The crowd will be ready for the Cardinals' homecoming game; the atmosphere will be electric.

Expect Louisville to select to play defense first to show their dominance. UofL's defensive coordinator, Vance Bedford, will blitz early and often.

Jeremy Wright will use his speed to get a couple of big runs, although Senorise Perry will get the bulk of the carries.

Louisville's defensive backs will have two or three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown by cornerback Adrian Bushell.

Louisville will win, 38-15.