Louisville vs. Cincinnati: Complete Game Preview and Predictions

Jon Hancock@@JonKYSportscoSenior Analyst IOctober 23, 2012

The University of Louisville Cardinals will battle in-conference rivals the Cincinnati Bearcats Friday night in Louisville, Kentucky. The winner will take home the coveted Keg of Nails.

The battle for the Keg of Nails first started in 1929. Cincinnati leads the series 30-20-1 and has won the last four contests. Louisville is 4-3 against Cincinnati in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

Louisville comes into the game ranked 16th  in the BCS standings after the Cardinals pulled out a close one Saturday against South Florida.

"Cincinnati is a well-coached football team and Butch Jones has done a good job with them," UofL head coach Charlie Strong said in his Monday press conference via UofLSports.com. "It's going to be an exciting matchup. It's going to be another one-game season for us. The way we look at it, we are going to take it one game at a time, and Cincinnati is the next game.”

Cincinnati, who was ranked in the Top 25 before this week, is coming off a disappointing loss to Toledo on the road. The Bearcats had some costly turnovers, including one interception returned for a touchdown.

"It will be a great challenge for us going into Papa John's Cardinal Stadium,"Butch Jones said Tuesday in his press conference via GoBearCats.com. "Will be a great environment, national television, sold-out you couldn't ask for anything more. They present so many challenges for us."



When: Friday, Oct. 26  at 8:00 p.m. ET.

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

Watch: ESPN

Radio: 840 WHAS in Louisville, KY.

Betting Line: Louisville -3.5 per VegasInsider.com.

Weather: According to Weather.com it will be a low of 47 degrees Friday night with a 40 percent chance of rain.


Players to watch on Cincinnati

QB Munchie Legaux, similar to South Florida's B.J. Daniels, can hurt you with his arm and his legs. He averages 239 yards passing a game and 44 yards rushing. He has 12 passing touchdowns and three rushing.

Legaux is 6'5” and uses his athleticism to make plays outside of the pocket. He has a history of giving up turnovers when pressure is on him.

Senior running back George Winn is a very consistent football player who goes hard on every possession. Winn averages 101.2 rushing yards a game, averaging 6.3 yards a carry.


Defensively the Bearcats rely heavily upon senior linebacker Greg Blair. Blair leads the team in tackles with 54 so far this season, he also has two interceptions.

Walter Stewart, a 6'5” defensive tackle, leads the team in sacks with five on the season. Stewart missed the Toledo game Saturday with an undisclosed upper body injury that he suffered against Fordham two weeks ago. Stewart will not play Friday's game against Louisville.


Game Notes

  • Cincinnati is 16th in the nation in rushing yards a game with 225.7.
  • The Bearcats are ranked 20th in points against with 16.8.
  • Louisville is ranked 36th in points against with 21.9.
  • Cincinnati has gained over 425 yards in the past six straight games.
  • The Bearcats have not given up a sack in the past three games.
  • Louisville has recorded nine sacks in the past two games.
  • Louisville is 20-4 when going scoring over 20 or more points since Charlie Strong became the coach.



Keys to a Louisville victory

  • Hold on to the football. Louisville has been able to pull out close games mostly because they haven't turned the ball over.
  • Don't allow big plays. Louisville must keep the momentum and the fans on their side.
  • Protect Teddy Bridgewater. He needs time to find his talented receivers. If he can get into a rhythm this game will belong to the Cardinals.


Game Predictions

Both teams desperately want this win and emotions will be very high. Fortunately for Louisville it will not be as emotional for them compared to the Bearcats. The Bearcats know that they cannot lose another game if they want to stay in the Big East conference race.

Expect Cincinnati to commit some costly penalties early.

Louisville will pressure Legaux often, causing the junior QB to scramble and make bad decisions. Legaux will probably be the Bearcats leading rusher since the Cardinals will focus on running back George Winn.

Teddy Bridgewater will once again prove he isn't afraid of pressure. He will throw for several key passes to keep Louisville's offense on the field.

Louisville will win 24-18


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