Rutgers Football: Keys to Victory Against the Louisville Cardinals

Jayson LoveCorrespondent IOctober 16, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Zach Collaros #12 of the Cincinnati Bearcats celebrates a touchdown during the game against the Louisville Cardinals at Paul Brown Stadium at Paul Brown Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After four straight wins, the Scarlet Knights find themselves among the hottest teams in FBS.

After eking out a one-point win in a out of conference game against Navy, the Knights return to Big East action when they travel to Louisville on Friday night.  

At 2-0 in conference play, R.U. finds themselves atop the Big East and will seek to maintain their hold on the top spot with a win at Louisville this weekend.

The Scarlet Knights had beaten UL three out of four years prior to last season's blow out loss to the Cards on Thanksgiving weekend of 2010. 

The Cards rode a tough defense and the legs of Bilal Powell in a blowout over Rutgers 40-13. 

Off that team, Louisville lost its quarterback and its star runner (Powell) and has struggled mightily to replace them.

Will Stein started at quarterback at the beginning of the season, but for now, the team has settled on Teddy Bridgewater.  They have mostly tried to run the ball with Dominique Brown who had been recruited as a quarterback.

The Louisville offense has had limited success on the season, topping 20 points just once, a 24-17 victory over in-state rival, Kentucky.

The Cards will have their hands full this weekend with Rutgers.  Rutgers' strength is clearly their defense. Louisville's weakness is the inconsistent offense which Rutgers should be able to control.

Rutgers is leading the nation in takeaways, coming off a game where the defense allowed only 13 Navy points and forced two more interceptions.

However, Rutgers' weakness is clearly their offense.  At the half this weekend, the Knights only scored seven points against a Navy defense that had allowed 63 points to Southern Miss last weekend.

Rutgers had started the season with Chas Dodd at quarterback, but now is using Gary Nova.  Nova, a true freshman, has looked great at times, but of course, has made the predictable freshman mistakes.  He threw a pick-six against Navy and was intercepted a total of two times on the day.  He also threw two more balls that could have been picked.

Louisville is still a strong defensive team under Charlie Strong and will have the home field advantage against Rutgers.

Rutgers must limit mistakes to come up with the win on Friday.  They must establish the run, play mistake free and try to gut out an ugly defensive win at Louisville on Friday.  I will call it, Rutgers 21, Louisville 13.