Cincinnati will only have six days to recover from a tough road loss to Toledo as conference-rival Louisville awaits on Friday night on national television.
No. 16 Louisville is undefeated and the team to beat in the Big East. At 7-0, the Cardinals are the most talented team on the Bearcats' schedule and especially tough at home.
The Cardinals are 4-0 at Papa John's Stadium, and while they have not blown many teams out, sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is one of the best in the country when playing at home.
So far this season, Bridgewater has completed 93-of-113 passes at home with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Unlike last season, he has stayed in the pocket and beat teams with his arm.
Even though he can use his feet to escape trouble, Bridgewater has not run much all season, with the exception of last week against South Florida where he carried the ball 10 times for 74 yards.
For Cincinnati to come out with a victory, stopping or at least slowing down Bridgewater will be the key to the game. He is yet to throw an interception at home and the opportune Cincinnati defense will be looking to force the first of the season.
When Louisville has the ball, Cincinnati can expect a balance of the run and pass with both Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright getting the bulk of the carries.
Perry has carried the ball 107 times for 588 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season, while Wright has rushed 110 times for 477 yards and seven scores.
The Louisville defense has been solid this season, but not quite as good as a year ago. It is allowing just under 22 points a game, and some of the better offenses the Cardinals have played have been able to put some points up.
For Cincinnati, the key will be quarterback Munchie Legaux being able to hit the open receivers. The Bearcats wideouts have no problem getting open, and Legaux needs to be able to hit them in stride for the big plays Cincinnati has been missing in recent weeks.
After a 29-23 loss at Toledo, Cincinnati needs a huge win to not only vault back into the rankings, but to also emerge as a legitimate contender for the Big East title, which would be its fourth in five years.
To do that, Cincinnati will need to win the turnover battle and find a way to put pressure on Bridgewater with star defensive end Walter Stewart still out with an upper-body injury.
This is a huge game for Cincinnati, and one thing is certain: A win in Louisville will help fans forget about the Toledo loss and look ahead to the possibility of another Big East title and BCS bowl berth.