Teddy Bridgewater and the Louisville Cardinals are on the road in Week 15 for a showdown against American rival Cincinnati to close out the 2013 campaign.
The two teams enter the contest with identical conference records of 6-1, but Louisville currently has the edge in the standings with a better overall record of 10-1. UCF leads the conference with an undefeated record of 7-0, and the Knights will be taking on SMU in Week 15.
Needless to say, the stakes are high for all three teams.
Both Louisville and Cincinnati enter the contest on impressive winning streaks. The Cardinals have won four straight since losing a nail-biter against UCF, and the Bearcats have won six in a row since losing to South Florida back in early October.
This the only game on the schedule for Thursday night, and if you haven't yet watched these underrated teams in action, now's a great time to sneak a peek.
With that in mind, here's a look at when and where you can watch the game, along with injury reports, a look at the biggest key to the game and a final prediction.
When: Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Spread (via Covers): Cincinnati (+3.5)
Louisville Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Keith Brown||LB||Ques Dec. 5 - Knee - 11/23/13|
|Corvin Lamb||RB||Out indefinitely - Knee - 9/3/13|
|Hunter Bowles||TE||Out indefinitely - Neck - 9/3/13|
Cincinnati Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Javon Harrison||WR||Ques Dec. 5 - Undisclosed - 11/23/13|
|Alex Chisum||WR||Ques Dec. 5 - Ankle - 11/23/13|
|Chris Burrell||WR||Ques Dec. 5 - Shoulder - 11/23/13|
|Drake Bruns||DB||Ques Dec. 5 - Knee - 11/23/13|
|Mark Barr||WR||Out indefinitely - Undisclosed - 10/6/13|
|Trenier Orr||DB||Out indefinitely - Knee - 9/19/13|
|Munchie Legaux||QB||Out for season - Knee - 9/9/13|
|Dan Sprague||OL||Out indefinitely - Knee - 8/23/13|
Will Brendon Kay Outplay Teddy Bridgewater?
Bridgewater is going to be in the discussion for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, and he's one of the finest quarterbacks in the nation. But Brendon Kay has played exceptionally well this year, and nobody should be surprised if he matches Bridgewater on Thursday—or better.
Bearcats head coach Tommy Tuberville has coached Heisman-winning quarterbacks, and he says Kay is "playing as well as any" signal-caller he's coached in his career, as noted by Joe Danneman of Fox 19 in Cincinnati:
Tuberville says Brendon Kay is playing as well as any QB he's ever coached - "and I've coached Heisman winning quarterbacks."— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) November 27, 2013
Looking at the raw stats for both players, it seems clear Kay has the ability to keep up with Bridgewater, who has been just slightly better in the major categories.
However, Kay has actually been the hotter quarterback coming into the game. He's passed for over 400 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions in his last two games. Meanwhile, Bridgewater has struggled in his last three, throwing just two touchdowns and an interception.
The quarterback that plays the best on Thursday will lead his team to victory.
Both teams enter the game with impressive stats on offense and defense: Louisville averages 35.5 points per game and holds opponents to just 11.4, while Cincinnati scores 34.2 points on average and allows 18.5.
Which team will win?
As is often the case during big games, it's likely the scoring will hover closer to the defensive averages, and this contest will likely be a low-scoring affair.
In such a battle, the edge must go to the Cardinals. This team has been incredibly scrappy of late, allowing no more than 17 points in its last four games. Combined with the steady leadership of Bridgewater on offense, this game is Louisville's to lose.
Louisville wins 21-17.
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