The Cards finally return home to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium to face off against the talented, but extremely disappointing South Florida Bulls. Here are this week’s five keys to victory.
Keep BJ Daniels in the pocket
USF quarterback BJ Daniels is a tremendously talented player, but he’s not that great of a quarterback. The man who I believe first started at South Florida right around the same time as Jim Leavitt, is at his most dangerous when he escapes the pocket, but when forced to sit back and survey a defense, he is not terribly impressive. If you keep him in the pocket for most of the game, you have to like your chances. Which brings me to my next point….
Daniels has thrown 8 interceptions this season. Yes, that’s correct, 8 of them. He’s only completing 56% of his passes, which is understandable considering how often he throws the ball to the other team. In addition, USF has fumbled the ball ten times, losing six of them. The bottom line is the opportunity for turnovers will be there for the Cards, they must take advantage of them and not let the Bulls get away with ball security miscues.
Do not turn the ball over
Piggybacking on what I just mentioned. When a team is struggling as much as South Florida is (2-4, 0-2 in Big East play), the worst thing you can do is hand them the football and give them short fields. The Cards must make the Bulls earn everything they get. If USF wins this game, it will be because UofL helped them.
Get off the field on third down
Earlier in the week, we had an article detailing the struggles of the Louisville defense on third downs. If you did not read that, and shame on you for not doing so, the Cards are allowing opponents to convert on third down 43.8% of the time. The Bulls are converting on 47% of their third down opportunities, which does not bode too well for the Cards if the numbers hold. The UofL defense must figure out a way to get stops on third downs. South Florida does not have a high powered offense, but they will put up points if the Cards can’t get off the field on third down.
Watch out for the trick plays
The Bulls are 2-4 and 0-2 in the Big East. Their coach is taking a lot of heat and they’re on the road facing a top 20 team. Basically, if they are going to make a stand to salvage their season, they need to start now. This appears to me to be prime territory for some trick plays. The Louisville defense must remain sound and disciplined, and be on watch for wide receiver/halfback passes, fake punts, or maybe even the Annexation of Puerto Rico (Little Giants reference, anyone? Anyone at all?).
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