Rutgers takes the field in Louisville this evening as the 4-1 Scarlet
Knights battle the undefeated Cardinals. Will the Rutgers defense
be able to stop Teddy Bridgewater and the high-powered Louisville
offense? We went to our resident experts - Bobby Deren and Howie
Lindsey - for their insights!
is the team to beat in the AAC and that has a lot to do with
its potent offense. Rutgers has made strides this season on
the offensive side of the football, but still trails the
Cardinals in this category. As long as Teddy Bridgewater is
on the field for Louisville, it will be tough for any AAC
team to top this offensive unit. Rutgers has closed the gap,
but the absence of leading rusher Paul James will put more
onus on the passing game. Even if James was in the lineup,
Louisville still gets the edge.
the more potent offense?
offense has so many options. All three top running backs can
really punish a defense, and Teddy Bridgewater is
legitimately the best quarterback in the country. The
Cardinals will likely be without DeVante Parker, the top
touchdown threat at wide receiver, but there is still more
than enough talent to make them formidable.
Coleman. He has not seemed to be himself this season as an
offseason knee injury may have slowed him down a step. He
came up with a big 85-yard touchdown reception last year
against Louisville and when he is firing on all cylinders,
it makes the RU passing game that much more effective. If
Coleman can get going against the Cardinals, it will open up
opportunities for Rutgers' squadron of receivers.
Who is the
Offensive 'X Factor,' and why?
end Gerald Christian could be a key to this game. Rutgers'
defensive line will provide pressure so having an outlet
like Christian across the middle could be big for Teddy
Bridgewater. Christian is a full, grown man. I'd hate to try
to tackle him.
one is not very close as Rutgers has faltered against both
high-powered passing offenses it has faced this season. SMU
and Fresno State combined to throw for 940 yards against the
Scarlet Knights and amassed a total of 104 points
collectively. Meanwhile, the Cardinal defense is ranked No.3
in the nation, although their first five games have been
against questionable competition. Nevertheless, Louisville
trumps Rutgers handily in this one.
has the better defense?
definitely has the better defense, although Rutgers' rush
defense has been pretty impressive so far this season.
Louisville has two of the best safeties in the country, two
of the top three sack artists in the league and a corps of
linebackers that could all play at the next level.
coordinator Dave Cohen. Thus far, Cohen has not had an
answer for the spread offenses Rutgers has faced. Granted
Cohen's secondary is very green and took a huge step down
after seeing three of its former defensive backs drafted
last year. But if Cohen can scheme up a solid game plan, it
could take the RU defense a long way. The Rutgers defense
may need an edge in the coaching department if the Scarlet
Knights intend to keep pace with the Cardinals for four
Who is the
defensive 'X Factor,' and why?
end Lorenzo Mauldin could be a big factor in this game. Both
teams will want to stop the run, so the game will be won or
lost in the air. Mauldin, a sack specialist will go after
Gary Nova with a vengeance. He likens himself to the
Predator, taking a mask with him on road trips.
teams will play a factor if RU is to pull off the upset.
True freshman Janarion Grant has been brilliant in the
return game and will need to make a big play or two tonight.
Nick Marsh has done a decent job punting and although the RU
placekicking situation has been suspect, the amount of
special teams weapons Rutgers possesses is enough to sway
this one in favor of the Scarlet Knights.
Who has the
edge on special teams?
has the edge. Louisville's kickers are good, the placekicker
is very good, but Rutgers' return game has been impressive
and Louisville's kick coverage unit is shakier than a
after last year's game between these two, it would be tough
not to give Louisville the advantage. Bridgewater is
arguably the best quarterback in the nation and managed to
defeat RU last year with a wrist and ankle injury. Now
completely healthy and with an extra year of experience,
Bridgewater would get the edge against most teams in the
country. Advantage Louisville.
drives the length of the field?
Louisville does. Louisville has so many options and Teddy
Bridgewater is so good at finding those options. He found
nine different receivers in the first half against Temple.
Plus, Gary Nova has a penchant for the untimely turnover.
game is essentially a league title game for Rutgers because
without a win, it might be next to impossible for the
Scarlet Knights to earn a trip to a BCS bowl. Expect the
Scarlet Knights to come out with a lot of energy and play
some decent football. But the RU defense hasn't proven to be
capable enough to stop this high-octane Cardinal offense.
Louisville 38 Rutgers 28.
will win? Predict the score........
will win, but I don't think they will beat the spread. That
16.5 number is shockingly high. So high it makes me think
Vegas knows something. They always do.