Junior quarterback Munchie Legaux will lead the Cincinnati Bearcats (5-1, 1-0 Big East) into Cardinal Stadium to face Teddy Bridgewater and No. 16 Louisville (7-0, 2-0 Big East) in a highly anticipated Big East matchup on Friday night. With the stakes so high, the game is sure to be close, and the outcome will likely be decided by quarterback play.
Many thought that this nationally-televised game would be between two undefeated teams, but the Bearcats were upset last week by Toledo. Now, if Cincinnati wants to remain in contention for the Big East title and a BCS berth, it will have to win.
Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals have been on a roll. They haven't been held to under 21 points all year. They will need to continue that trend to remain on pace with undefeated Rutgers for first place in the conference.
Here's a breakdown of the two team's quarterbacks and how they can help their team win.
Last year, Cincinnati held Teddy Bridgewater in check as the Bearcats won 25-16. Bridgewater will attempt to erase those memories as he tries to continue putting together one of the most underrated seasons in college football.
Through Louisville's first seven games, Bridgewater has thrown for 1,694 yards, 11 TD, 3 INT and a 73.4 completion percentage.
Last week, he ran for 74 yards, adding another dimension to his game.
Cincinnati's pass defense has been pretty solid. They allow less than 200 yards and 17 points per game. While that may seem to present a challenge for Bridgewater, the sophomore quarterback seems to play better in the bigger spots.
There won't be a bigger spot than on the national stage on Friday night.
Munchie Legaux has played well in his first season as the full-time starter for the Bearcats. But while he has shown some real flashes, he has also made some head-scratching decisions.
He's thrown for 1,435 yards, 12 TD, 5 INT and a 53.3 completion percentage. He has also ran into the end zone in each of Cincinnati's last three games.
Legaux has shown an ability to move around the pocket and evade pressure. He's only been taken down in the backfield five times in six games. He will need to stay on his feet if he is to stand a chance in this matchup.
It bodes well for Munchie that Louisville's passing defense has not been stellar. They have allowed an average of 241 passing yards per game, and that is including the game against Southern Miss in which they only allowed 25 passing yards.
This game will be the biggest yet of Munchie Legaux's young career.
We know Cincinnati can play teams tough at home. It will be interesting to see how the team plays in a huge spot on the road.
Munchie Legaux will have his share of big plays, but he will ultimately be no match for Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals.
Legaux is certainly on the right track, but this matchup will be a lot more interesting next year. Munchie is just not ready for the spotlight yet. Whether or not the Bearcats looked past Toledo, they did not look good in their first road game of the season.
That loss puts the Bearcats' backs against the wall. They are essentially playing in a must-win game on the road.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, have some pressure on them to maintain their perfect record but not nearly as much as the Bearcats.
But Bridgewater would welcome any pressure. He thrives in it. Legaux may have it in him too, but it hasn't come to fruition yet.
On Friday night, Louisville will make the Big East conference a two-team race.
Final Score: Cincinnati 20, Louisville 31