Undefeated and mostly unheralded nationally, the 16th-ranked Louisville Cardinals come into Saturday's Big East showdown with South Florida Bulls as an under-the-radar Week 8 upset threat.
When the spread opened for the game, the Cardinals were nine-point favorites, but that number has taken a nosedive all the way down to 6.5 (via Vegas Insider). With it being mostly sharps who take in the early week lines, that means there are a lot of people riding on this game being closer than expected.
Nonetheless, the Cardinals match up well against the Bulls in a few ways that could ultimately prove to be a savior.
With that in mind, here is a look at a few things Louisville must to do keep its undefeated ways rolling.
Pound the Ball With the Running Backs
Even though Teddy Bridgewater gets most of the credit, the true catalyst to this Cardinals offense all season has been the running game, led by the two-headed attack of Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright.
Head coach Charlie Strong has expertly deployed both runners all season, picking the perfect spots to deploy each player's overwhelming strengths.
In a football world where the word "timeshare" is used far too often, Perry and Wright split carries almost evenly, with the former having 96 and the latter 99 coming into this week.
Both men should be in store for huge games on Saturday when facing off against a weak South Florida defense. The Bulls have given up 1,041 yards on the ground thus far in 2012, which is over 200 yards more than the second-worst team in the Big East.
If Strong continues giving both men carries, both should perform admirably and Louisville should come out with a victory.
Get Another Solid Performance From Teddy Bridgewater
With Perry and Wright taking advantage of the Bulls' weak run defense, that should set up another great performance from Bridgewater.
The sophomore signal-caller has been fantastic all season, managing games well and throwing the ball with even more efficiency than anyone could have expected.
Other than a two-week stretch where he struggled against Florida International and rain washed away his effectiveness against Southern Mississippi, Bridgewater has been perhaps the best quarterback in the Big East.
Though the South Florida run defense is its true deficiency, the team hasn't exactly excelled against the pass, either. If the running backs are effective enough to open up the outside, the sky is the limit for Bridgewater on Saturday.
Make B.J. Daniels Turn the Ball Over
When the South Florida signal-caller is firing on all cylinders, there may be no more exciting quarterback in the Big East.
However, when Daniels flails, it's usually hard and comes at the expense of the Bulls' chance to win. In the team's 23-13 loss to Rutgers earlier this season, Daniels threw three interceptions, all of which led to scores for the opposition or taking points off the board for South Florida.
If Louisville is able to get to Daniels early and pick off a pass in the first quarter, it could fluster him to the point where it's all downhill from there.
On the other hand, an early big play could spell the end of the Cardinals' undefeated dreams.