The Cards hit the road for the first time in 2012 and will try to get some revenge on a FIU squad that beat them at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium 21-14 last year. Here are this week’s five keys to a Louisville victory.
Pressure the quarterback
I will keep saying this until the Cards do it. Through the first three games of the season, UofL has THREE sacks. And that’s with zero sacks against North Carolina last week. Louisville’s defense will not get stops if they cannot get to the quarterback. I know before the season started, both Charlie Strong and Vance Bedford believed they would be able to get to the quarterback by rushing just four, but the early returns suggest they cannot. It might be time to start dialing up some more blitz packages.
Establish the run
Charlie Strong always says when you go on the road you must pack your defense, your toughness, your togetherness. Well, there’s no better way to play tough than running the football. The Cards have shown the ability to gash teams so far this year and it would be a nice message to send by pounding FIU with the run game, particularly early on. Personally, I’d like to see a heavy dose of Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry in the 1st quarter.
Don’t give up the big play
T.Y. Hilton basically won the game for FIU last year by catching a 74 yard touchdown pass off a slant, then grabbing an 83 yard touchdown pass on a deep route. Literally, outside of those two plays, UofL held FIU in check. Even though Hilton is now in the NFL, the Cards must protect against the big play. Giving up big plays on the road is a recipe for disaster, and a loss.
Shut out distractions
Louisville is traveling to Miami for this game and as we all know, the Cards have a LOT of players from the Miami area on their roster. Teddy Bridgewater is getting most of the attention, but other guys such as Eli Rogers, Andrew Johnson, Charles Gaines, and many others will also be returning and will have a ton of family and friends in attendance. Those guys must remain focused on the task at hand, which is winning a football game. If they don’t, they’ll have a long night.
Play both halves
So far this year, we’ve seen a Louisville team that has shown the ability to play football at a high level for stretches, but not a full game. For this team to accomplish what we all think they can, they will need to start playing a full 40 minutes. I know it sounds like an overused cliché, but in this case it’s a statement of fact. This UofL team is 3-0, but that undefeated record won’t last much longer if they do not start putting together full games.
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