football

Rutgers vs. Louisville: Game Preview

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Rutgers vs. Louisville
Kickoff: 7:30
p.m. at Papa John's Stadium in Louisville, Ky.
What's at stake: Each team will be looking to move
to 2-0 in AAC league play. Rutgers began conference play
with a 55-52 triple overtime win last week over SMU.
Louisville started its conference schedule with a 30-7 win
over Temple.
Series history: Rutgers lead the all-time series 7-5.
Louisville has won the last three meetings, the previous two
by a total of five points. In primetime games on ESPN, the
series is tied 2-2.
Rutgers wins if:
The RU defense slows down
Teddy Bridgewater. The Cardinals' starting quarterback
has 16 touchdowns to just one interception this season.
He is among the very best in the country and keeping
Bridgewater contained will be vital to Rutgers' success.
Gary Nova plays has a huge game.
Making up for deficiencies in the running game and on
the defensive side of the football could all fall on
Nova's shoulders. If he can continually move the Rutgers
offense downfield, it will be a huge plus. And in a high
scoring affair, a precise Nova will be necessary for RU
to emerge victorious.
Rutgers loses if:
The defense cannot find a way to shut
down the Cardinal passing game.
Rutgers has given up 940 passing yards against SMU and Fresno
State as each team totaled 52 points against the Scarlet
Knights. A repeat performance by the RU defense against
Louisville won't make this a close game.
The RU defense does not get any pressure. Leaving Teddy
Bridgewater with time in the pocket would enable him to pick the
RU defense apart. A steady pass rush will also take some of the
pressure off Rutgers' young and very green secondary.
Keep an eye on
The Rutgers true freshmen. Rutgers will have three freshmen
looking to play a key part in tonight's game. Running back Justin
Goodwin could very well see the lion's share of the carries
tonight. He proved very effective last week against SMU rushing
for 149 yards while adding 73 receiving yards as well as scoring
the game-winning touchdown.
Return specialist Janarion Grant has made a big
difference this year for Rutgers with two touchdowns. Rutgers will
most likely need some special teams fireworks tonight to come away
with a win. Grant is very capable of providing those fireworks.
Cornerback Nadir Barnwell could earn his third
consecutive start. This will be his biggest test of the year as
the former four-star prospect will be facing arguably the best
quarterback in the country. What a difference a year makes for the
true freshman.
They said it
Darius Hamilton on facing Teddy Bridgewater:
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  Lorenzo Waters on fixing the communication
in the secondary:
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Charlie Strong on the Rutgers-Louisville rivalry coming to an
end:
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The odds
The oddsmakers leaned heavily
towards Louisville with what is now a 19-point spread. This
number seems a little high for what figures to be a hard
fought battle between familiar opponents. Taking Rutgers
with the points looks to be a smart bet even though its
defense has yielded 104 points against two similar offenses.
Look for Rutgers to cover on the road tonight as 19 just
seems like much too high of a number.
Did you know...
From
the start of his head coaching career at Rutgers,
Kyle Flood has experienced one streak after the
other. He started things off with seven straight
wins and followed it up with a loss to Kent State.
Flood responded with two wins followed by four
losses and is now riding a four game winning
streak. 
Rutgers has scored 28
points or more in the first five games. That is a
first in school history. The Scarlet Knights are
averaging 40 points through the first five games
compared to 25.4 points per game through the five
games of last season.
The longest punt return last year for Rutgers was 22 yards.
This season, true freshman Janarion Grant returned punts for 48
and 57 yards in the Arkansas game alone. He is averaging 11.4
yards per return. Last year, as a team, Rutgers averaged 6.5
yards per return.
Key Injuries
Louisville
-
WR Devante Parker. The Cardinals' leading
receiver with
21 catches for 395 yards and six touchdowns
is healing up from a shoulder injury and will be a game time decision.
Rutgers
- RB Paul James. When he went down with a lower leg
injury late in game no.4, James was the nation's leading
rusher with 573 yards. He is out for tonight's game.
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