Big East Football: Louisville vs. Rutgers Preview and Predictions
The Louisville Cardinals will try to end their regular season with a win after losing two straight conference games.
The Cardinals will go on the road to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights Thursday night, the winner of the game will likely play in the Orange Bowl.
Louisville comes into the game after losing to Connecticut at home in triple-overtime Saturday, 23-20.
Louisville's quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, broke his left wrist right before halftime. He still played in the second half after having a cast placed on his non-throwing arm.
Senior wide receiver Scott Radcliff sustained a concussion when he took a knee to his helmet early in the first-quarter.
Charlie Strong said after the UConn loss:
This football team is still alive. We still have to go to Rutgers and win the game to get to the Orange Bowl or to a BCS Bowl. But what is critical for this football team is one of our better players got hurt today (Teddy Bridgewater). He showed his toughness out the today.
Rutgers also lost on Saturday against Pittsburgh, 27-6. It was the Scarlet Knights first Big East conference loss of the season, they lost a none conference game last month against Kent State.
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said in his press conference Monday about Louisville via ScarletKnights.com:
Charlie Strong press conferece, video via CardsandCats.com
Louisville has got an excellent football team led by Charlie Strong. His team plays with the kind of passion that he coaches with. I think defensively they run very well. They're very thick in the middle of their defense with their two inside tackles and their middle linebacker, and they've got good speed at the defensive end positions, and really offensively they've got a lot of weapons.
When: Thursday, November 29 at 7:30 p.m. E.T.
Where: High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J.
Listen: 840 WHAS in Louisville Ky.
Rutgers Radio Network in Piscataway, N.J.
Betting Line: Rutgers -3 per VegasInsider.com.
Weather: According to Weather.com, it will be a low of 27 degrees and partly cloudy Thursday night in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Players to watch on Rutgers
Rutger's quarterback, Gary Nova, has a strong will to win. He does a very good job spreading the ball around and can throw accurate short or deep passes.
Nova has 2,282 yards passing and 20 touchdown passes this season. He has thrown 13 interceptions and been sack only eight times.
Running back Jawan Jamison is a 5'9", 200-pound junior who has already ran for over 1,000 yards this season. He averages 4.4 yards a carry and has four rushing touchdowns.
Jamison is used very often as a receiver out of the backfield. He has 26 catches for 308 yards with two receiving touchdowns this season.
Brandon Coleman, a 6'6" junior wide receiver, is Nova's favorite target. He uses his size to catch difficult passes.
Coleman has 37 catches for 563 yards and nine touchdowns.
Senior linebacker Khaseem Greene is the key to the Scarlet Knight's defense. He leads the team in tackles with 115, including 10 tackles-for-loss. He also has 5.5 sacks and two interceptions.
Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE
- Louisville has won only four of the 11 games against Rutgers all-time, the Cardinals have won the last two straight.
- Louisville is 20-22 in Thursday night games in the school's history.
- Rutgers allows just 13.7 points this season, they score an average of 22.9.
- Louisville is 12-0 when they score 30 or more points since Charlie Strong became head coach three years ago.
- The Louisville Cardinals average 32 points a game this season.
- Rutgers is ranked third in the country with touchdowns allowed with 17.
- Rutgers have 19 sacks this season.
- Louisville allows just 100.5 rushing yards a game.
Keys to a Louisville victory
1. Protect Bridgewater. Louisville's offensive line has struggled the past two weeks protection their prized quarterback. Since Bridgewater has a broken wrist on his non-throwing arm, he will need a little more time in the pocket.
Who will win?
2. Establish a running game. Jeremy Wright and Corvin Lamb don't have to do a lot, but they will need to present some what of a threat to open up the passing game.
3. Be consistent on defense. Louisville needs to keep the intensity up the entire game on defense and keep pressure on Rutgers backfield.
This is a very important game for both teams and they will both be ready for the battle.
I expect the Rutgers defense to blitz often to put pressure on the injured Bridgewater. How the young quarterback handles the pressure will likely decide the game.
This will be a close game until the end, both defenses will keep the offenses in check.
Louisville will be able to get some turnovers against the Scarlet Knights, which will give them good field position most of the game. Their kicker John Wallace will get a couple of chances to keep the Cardinals in the game.
Teddy Bridgewater will show his toughness once again and will have over 300 yards passing. He will look for wide receivers DeVante Parker and Damian Copeland to be open near the hash marks.
Rutgers will lead at halftime, but will be unable to score in the second half.
Louisville will win 24-16.
Jon Hancock is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
You can follow Jon on Twitter @JonKYSportsCo
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