For Fans Attending

University of Louisville football fans are encouraged to #WearRed for Saturday’s final home game versus Kentucky at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Fans should wear red in support of Louisville’s 23 seniors, who will be honored beginning at 11:35 a.m. The senior class has been one of the best in school history, posting a solid 38-12 mark and will advance to its fourth-straight bowl game next month.

Fans can purchase their exclusive RedOut gear at Cardinal Authentic, which is located at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Hibbett Sports, or at one of the new Academy Sports locations.

Also, those attending the game are asked to bring a toy in support of Toys for Tots. Boxes will be available at the gates for fans to drop off toys that will be distributed to families in need during the holiday season.

Series History

Saturday’s game will mark the 27th Meeting between the Cards and Cats and the 21st consecutive match-up since the renewal of the series in 1994.  Previous to 1994 the series was on hiatus after 1924 when Kentucky defeated Louisville 6 times without the Cards scoring.  Upon renewal of the series Kentucky agreed to play Louisville on the condition that the game be held at Commonwealth Stadium until the Cards had a venue that could accommodate at least 40,000 fans.  As a result, and the evident deterioration of (Old) Cardinal Stadium, Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium was erected for the 1998 season.  Currently the Cats hold the overall edge 14-12, with the Cards enjoying the most success in the modern series 12-8.

The Modern Day Scoring is Louisville 592 Kentucky 485.  The All-Time Scoring is UK 695 to UofL 592 as a result of Louisville not scoring in the first 6 meetings.  However, in order to put the proper perspective on the series I’m going to stick with some modern day facts.

The modern series average score is Louisville 29.6 to UK 24.25.  Before last year’s 14 point victory & 2012’s 18-point victory over Kentucky the previous 3 games (2009-2011) were decided by an average of 6 points.  The Cats have won 2 of the past 3 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, but Bobby Petrino is 4-0 All-Time vs. the Cats as Louisville’s Head Coach and is 5-1 All-Time vs. Kentucky.

Louisville has won 3 in a row in the series, but is just 3-4 in the last 7 meetings.  Cards are 7-4 vs. UK in the last 11.

Quick Rundown of the Series 

The Battle for the Governor’s Cup has so many other great moments.  I’ve attended all but two games in the series since it began in 1994, but I’ll never forget the opening game for PJCS in 1998 when Tim Couch sent pass after pass over the heads of Louisville DBs to Craig Yeast and Company.  It was hot. Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium was brand new, the concession stands ran out of water and the Cards went down 68-34. UofL would trade that beatdown for another a year later in 1999 with a 56-28 Cardinal win in Lexington.

But then in 2000, after an hour and fourteen minute storm delay Louisville and Kentucky were able to resume in overtime.  Tony Stallings broke off a 25-yard game sealing Touchdown run that capped off his 15 carry 144-yard and 2 Touchdown performance.  Stallings run and Louisville’s win really overshadowed a HUGE freshman debut by Kentucky QB Jared Lorenzen who threw for 22-34 for 322 and 3 TDs, he also added 3 INTs as well.

In 2002, Louisville was #17 in the Associated Press Pre-season poll and was shocked at Home in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.  Louisville’s Offensive Line was no match for Kentucky’s Defensive line led by DeWayne Robertson and Jeremy Caudill, and Artose Pinner was a persistent runner for 28 carries, 87 yards and a TD.  There wasn’t much pretty in this game for either team, but Jared Lorenzen was able to get his lone win (1-3 against the Cards) in a really hard fought game.  Lorenzen would finish 13-27 for 195 yards and a TD as well.  In contrast Dave Ragone was sacked and hit throughout the game and completed just 35.9% of his passes as he finished 14-39 for 193 yards with a TD and an INT.  (if anyone has any good video of this game I’d love to see it. Please e-mail me CardsandCats2011@gmail.com).

From 2003 to 2006 the Cardinals dominated the series under the direction of Bobby Petrino. Kentucky coach Rich Brooks wasn’t able to defeat the Cards until after Petrino left the school for the Atlanta Falcons in 2007.  Louisville went in to the 2003 game with a lot of questions: new coach in Bobby Petrino, new Quarterback, and questionable depth but the Cards were able to run the ball behind their new two-headed rushing attack in Lionel Gates (13 carries, 75 yards, TD) and Eric Shelton (25 carries, 151 yards, and 2 TDs).  Lefors managed the game 14-23 for 180 yards 1 TD/1 INT.  A thunderstorm also delayed this game but the moment that really should resonate in the minds of fans is that the Cards capped off the game’s final seconds up 33-24 with a last second Touchdown that drew the ire of Kentucky coach Rich Brooks.

There was much discussion on whether or not Bobby Petrino should have taken a knee during the 2003 game.  In 2004 Bobby Petrino did take a knee on the UK 1-yard line for  4th down giving the Cats the ball back with 9 seconds remaining in a 28-0 loss.  Louisville really dominated this game outgaining Kentucky 439-238 yards.  Again the damage was done on the ground with the Cards having a 261-66 advantage.  You can see some highlights including Bobby Petrino’s comments about taking a knee in the video below.

The 2005 game was unexpectedly interesting in the 4th quarter.  Louisville was without Stefan Lefors and was starting sophomore QB Brian Brohm for his first full-time starting role with the Cards.  The Cards raced off for a 28-7 halftime lead but the Cards would manage to score just 3 points in the 2nd half.  In the 3rd quarter Rafael Little broke off a huge 52-yard rush that would set up a TD, and Andre Woodson would find Jacob Tamme for an 85-yard TD early in the 4th quarter.  The game nearly was tied after UK blocked a Cardinal punt, but Andre Woodson fumbled the ball on the Louisville 2-yard line.  Louisville responded with a ball-controlling possession that lasted the final 6:21 of the game basically running the ball with Michael Bush.  Bush finished with 128 yards on 27 carries and two TDs.  But the player of the game was Elvis Dumervil who had 11 tackles, 6 sacks, and two Forced Fumbles.

The 2006 win for Louisville was bittersweet. Louisville dominated as the pre-season #13 team in the nation and beat the Cats 59-28.  The Cards scored on the 3rd play from scrimmage.

The rest of the game went much the same way for the Cards.  Louisville outgained Kentucky 631-260, and had 31 first downs to Kentucky’s 8.  But if Bush’s first carry for a 48-yard TD is a signature moment, then what happened early in the 3rd quarter is equally infamous.  Bush took a carry for a 1-yard loss for his last as a Louisville Cardinal when Wesley Woodyard brought him down and Bush’s right leg was caught beneath Woodyard’s body.  The win for Louisville was the last in the Governor’s Cup until the Cards were able to reclaim the trophy last year in 2011.

In 2007 Kentucky surprised college football with an upset of the AP’s #10 Louisville Cardinals.  This game was one of the more exciting in the series and is affectionately known by Cat fans as “Stevie Got Loose”.  The game was extremely well-matched as UofL held the yardage margin with 467-460 yards, and UK had the first down advantage 27-26.  The Cards had two turnovers that was probably the difference along with Kentucky’s Rafael Little having an outstanding game on the ground with 151 yards on 27 carries.  The loss for the Cards negated a HUGE game by Louisville’s Harry Douglas who caught 13 balls for 223 yards.  The game’s final play saw Douglas catch a hail mary 10 yards short of the goal line.  A play that was necessary considering Andre Woodson to Steve Johnson over a nowhere to be found Woodny Turenne. The game & play is considered a turning point in the series as Kentucky would find itself #7 in the BCS standings during the October 14th poll, and Louisville would fall a week later to Syracuse and would fall out of the polls until the 2012 AP pre-season poll.

When you have some classics you are also going to have a few duds….The 2008 Governor’s Cup was probably the most boring game ever witnessed by man. It was hot, and there was no offense.  Compared to the 2007 game that saw a combined 927 yards, the 2008 contest was completely different with the two teams producing just 415 yards total (210 for UK, and 205 for UofL) and 16 combined punts.  The Cards gave the Cats the advantage by giving up the ball 5 times, Hunter Cantwell threw 3 INTs and added a fumble, Bilal Powell also fumbled.  Neither team was likely to score without the other making a mistake.  Kentucky scored their first points on a FG after a punt from the UofL 3-yard line was returned 22 yards and put the Cats in immediate FG range.  Bilal Powell’s fumble was returned for a Kentucky TD & Hunter Cantwell’s fumble was also returned for a UK TD.  Kentucky did put together a legitimate 12-play scoring drive for a field goal, before Hunter Cantwell set up another TD for Kentucky when Trevard Lindley intercepted his pass and returned it to the Louisville 7-yard line.  Tony Dixon would score on the next play.

The Cards managed to score their only points with a sack/safety by then walk-on Will Savoy.  And UofL had few scoring opportunities getting into Kentucky scoring territory 4 times the entire game.  The Cards had a FG blocked in the 1st quarter, then in the 2nd quarter Steve Kragthorpe elected to go for a 4th & 1 instead of attempting a 38-yard field goal while UK was winning 10-0.  Kentucky got the win, their second in consecutive years.  But this game was UGLY.  Kentucky’s defense dominated as they made opportunities against Louisville’s offense.

2009 was a return to entertaining football.  The game was balanced and was full of twists and turns.  It started in the first quarter where after a Louisville TD to put the Cards up 7-3, Derrick Locke quickly answered with a 100-yard kickoff return for a TD.  The Cats would take a 17-7 halftime lead.  The Cards would hit two field goals in the 3rd quarter to pull within 17-13, but then the fireworks began to happen in an eventful 4th quarter.  Two plays into the 4th the Cards capped a 10-play 69-yard drive to take the lead 20-17, and Kentucky answered right back with a 12-play 73 yard Touchdown drive of their own.  Louisville then came right back and needed just two plays to find Trent Guy for a 66-yard TD to reclaim the lead 27-24.

The Cards would stop Kentucky with a little more than 5 minutes remaining in the game, but Trent Guy fumbled the punt return and Kentucky’s AJ Nance would recover at the Cardinal 25-yard line.  Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb took just 3 plays to find the endzone and take the lead 31-27.  The Cards had 4:28 to drive the field, but the Cats helped out with an unsportsmanlike penalty that moved the kickoff back to the 15 giving the Cards the ball at their own 40 to start the drive.  Then the Cats helped UofL’s game winning drive again when Micah Johnson grabbed Victor Anderson’s facemask on the first play of the drive, stopping the clock and moving the ball into Louisville territory.  The game was effective over when UK’s Sam Maxwell hauling in a Justin Burke tipped pass off of the hands of Corey Peters.  The Cards would get the ball back after UK forced the Cards to use all of their timeouts while rushing for the next 3 plays before punting with just 50 seconds remaining.  The last minute drive was unsuccessful for the Cards and the Governor’s Cup stayed in Lexington.

The 2009 Game stands out to me for a lot of reasons.  Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb were awesome in this game.  They basically did what they wanted and I felt like UK didn’t use them as often as they should have which kept the game closer.  Locke was particularly impressive with 15 carries for 72 yards and a TD and also had 4 receptions for 47 yards.  Also Terrence Simien lacerated his kidney during this game and was playing extremely well. This was also the post-game press conference where Steve Kragthorpe famously said of Trent Guy: “That guy is a freaking stud”.  Following Guy’s 1 catch for 66 yard, and 5 kickoff returns for 170 yard performance and his fumbled punt that set up the Cat’s go-ahead score. In all the game was very closely matched Louisville had 19 first downs, Kentucky had 18. UofL had 378 yards and the Cats had 348.

The 2010 Governor’s Cup marked the beginning of the Joker Phillips and Charlie Strong era.  Going into the game the Cats were believed to have the advantage having won the previous 3 match-ups, the staff essentially remaining in place with the elevation of Joker Phillips to Head Coach from Offensive Coordinator, Mike Hartline returning at quarterback, and Kentucky having been to 4 straight bowl games.  Contrast that with Louisville who hadn’t been to a bowl in 3 years, had a complete overhaul of their staff, and did not have a sure-fire starting QB.  The game ended up being pretty close, but it was the Locke and Cobb show once again as the Cats tallied 466 yards to the Cards 317 while pulling away to a 23-16 victory in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

The game got started out early for the Wildcats who caught the young Cardinal defense out of position on their first possession.  Before the 1st quarter was over the Cats had a 13-0 lead on the Cards who could managed just one first down in the initial period.  Derrick Locke was HUGE for the Cats in the first quarter and basically dominated for the first 15 minutes.  The Cards were able to get on the board thanks to great field position by Victor Anderson’s 67-yard kickoff return that placed UofL in immediate scoring position. The Cards would not gain a first down, but did settle for a field goal.

After the 1st quarter domination from Derrick Locke it was Randall Cobb’s turn who proceeded to haul in a 51-yard TD run again catching the young Cardinal Defense out of position.  On the day Cobb and Locke would account for 325 combined all-purpose yards. But that Cats would score just once more in the game, a Ryan Tydlacka 41-yard field goal which allowed Louisville a chance (if they could find some offense) to make a comeback.  Unfortunately for the Cards in this contest, Touchdowns were hard to come by. In the 2nd quarter UofL settled for a FG following a 16-play, 8:08, 65 yard drive.  The only Cardinal touchdown on the day was a 1-play, 80-yard TD run by Bilal Powell.  Down 23-13 with 10:24 remaining in the game Louisville put together another long drive only to settle for a field goal in the end.  Louisville’s final possession of 17-plays and 71 yards was efficient, but not for a team trailing by two scores.  It simply took up too much time to score and the Cats were able to churn up the final 3:16 to end the game.  (any good video of this game would also be appreciated).

2011

The Cards were able to stop a 4-game losing streak  in Lexington 24-17 despite losing starting Quarterback Will Stein very early in the game.  In the end, it was Louisville’s ability to run the ball 181 yards on the ground to UK’s 35 that won the game for the Cards.  Dominique Brown made the switch from QB to RB after the Cards fell to Florida International, and he broke out with 91 yards on 14 carries.  Kentucky had a chance to tie the game in the 4th quarter when they had the ball in the redzone and actually looked like they would have converted a 3rd & 2 before UK’s DeMarco Robinson was stripped by Stephan Robinson.  As a result the Cats had to go for a desperation 4th & 6 after the loss of yardage and Morgan Newton’s pass to La’Rod King fell incomplete. You can read my review of the 2011s game with this link. 

FB (2011): Louisville 24 Kentucky 17 from @CrumsRevenge on Vimeo.

2012- UofL 32, UK 14

The Cards dominated 32-14 in front of a PJCS record crowd of 55,386.  The Cards did whatever they wanted on offense.  Take for example the stats: 466 yards, 247 passing, 219 rushing, Time of Possession of 36:21, and Teddy Bridgewater was 19 of 21 through the air.  Teddy’s incompletions:  A drop by Andrell Smith and a throw away while escaping the pocket.    But, that doesn’t even tell the whole story.  Louisville replaced Bridgewater with Will Stein with about 2:43 remaining in the 3rd Quarter.  Stein got 4 possessions with the Cards and failed to score, and it became clear to all Cards fans just how important Teddy Bridgewater is to the Louisville offense.

Governor’s Cup 2012: Louisville 32 Kentucky 14 from @CrumsRevenge on Vimeo.

2013-UofL 27, UK 13

It was harder than expected for the Cards, as Louisville had trouble moving the ball against the new Kentucky defense.  But the Cats really did not move the ball well at all and tacked on a late TD in the 4th quarter vs. Louisville’s 2nd team defense to edge the final score closer.  Still Louisville & Teddy Bridgewater left Commonwealth Stadium frustrated with the Cardinal Offense.

My Prediction

Louisville wins the 2014 Governor’s Cup.  The Cats will look better early than they have in their last few games as they are coming off a 14-day break between games, but the momentum of these two teams is dramatically different.

Kentucky’s Patrick Towles will test the Louisville defense, particularly with the deep ball, but the more UK drops back to pass the more the Cats put their signal caller at risk at one of the top pass rushes in the nation.  UK doesn’t protect very well, and they aren’t particularly good on 3rd down……a bad combination vs. Louisville.

Offensively, the question really is how can Kentucky stop Louisville’s rushing attack?  If the Cats don’t stop the Cards on the ground there really is no reason Louisville will need to test a decent pass defense from Kentucky with its primary weapon DeVante Parker.  I don’t see Kentucky being able to deal with the Cards on the ground, I think Louisville has a big game on the ground and I think the Cardinal Defense gives up very little against the Cats.

Louisville 31, Kentucky 13

Stat Comparison

  Louisville Kentucky
Scoring Offense (ppg) 31.5 (49th) 28.2 (72nd)
Total Offense (ypg) 389.4 (76th) 389.5 (75th)
Passing Offense (ypg) 233.9 (58th) 236.2 (54th)
Rushing Offense (ypg) 155.45 (74th) 153.36 (80th)
Scoring Defense (ppg) 18.7 (13th) 30.1 (89th)
Total Defense (ypg) 290.2 (7th) 401.0 (71st)
Passing Defense (ypg) 201.7 (35th) 200.0 (31st)
Rushing Defense (ypg) 88.45 (3rd) 201.0 (99th)
Punt Returns (ypr) 7.47 (73rd) 7.50 (71st)
Kickoff Returns (ypr) 22.32 (40th) 23.09 (26th)
Opponent Punt Returns (ypr) 10.96 (104th) 13.71 (119th)
Opponent Kickoff Returns (ypr) 23.00 (108th) 22.50 (98th)
Punting (ypp) 40.81 (77th) 42.27 (43rd)
Field Goal % 77.8% (40th) 73.9 (57th)
Opponent Field Goal % 84.2% (110th) 68.4% (44th)
First Downs (per game) 20.3 (77th) 19.7 (87th)
Opponent First Downs (per game) 14.8 (5th) 22.5 (95th)
Penalties (ypg) 52.9 (66th) 50.8 (57th)
Turnover Margin (season) +7 (24th) +6 (31st)
Time of Possession 33:09.55 (10th) 28:39.18 (95th)
Sacks (per game) 3.27 (9th) 2.18 (56th)
Sacks Allowed (per game) 3.00 (114th) 3.00 (114th)
Tackles for Loss (per game) 7.09 (22nd) 5.36 (91st)
Tackles for Loss Allowed (per game) 7.55 (119th) 7.18 (111th)
Interceptions (season) 23 (1st) 13 (22nd)
Passes Defended (per game) 6.09 (9th) 5.00 (34th)
Fumbles Recovered (season) 3 (118th) 6 (91st)
Fumbles Forced (season) 5 (114th) 9 (66th)
Fumbles Lost (season) 14 (124th) 4 (6th)
Kicks/Punts Blocked (season) 1 (61st) 1 (61st)
3rd Down Conversions (%) 38.24% (82nd) 35.33% (103rd)
Opponent 3rd Down Conversions (%) 29.19% (6th) 43.37% (98th)
4th Down Conversions (%) 55.56% (45th) 38.10% (107th)
Opponent 4th Down Conversions (%) 16.67% (2nd) 69.23% (116th)
Red Zone Conversions (%) 84.00% (61st) 85.29% (52nd)
Opponent Red Zone Conversions (%) 70.97% (10th) 94.87% (126th)
RedZone TD Conversions (%) 68.00% (27th) 52.94% (94th)
Opponent Red Zone TD Conversions (%) 38.71% (4th) 69.23% (117th)
Kickoffs (ypk) 62.81 (24th) 58.15 (105th)
Plays 794 (59th) 779 (73rd)
Yards Per Play 5.39 (76th) 5.5 (70th)

Louisville Offense vs. Kentucky Defense 

Louisville Scoring Offense Evaluation

Scoring Defense Louisville Scored vs. Deviation from Avg. % Scored of Avg
Miami (FL) 23.4 31 7.6 132.48%
Virginia 24.1 21 -3.1 87.14%
FIU 24.8 34 9.2 137.10%
Wake Forest 25.1 20 -5.1 79.68%
Syracuse 24 28 4 116.67%
Clemson 17.6 17 -0.6 96.59%
NC State 28.8 30 1.2 104.17%
Florida State 22.3 31 8.7 139.01%
Boston College 21.7 38 16.3 175.12%
Notre Dame 27.5 31 3.5 112.73%
Kentucky 30.1 Average 4.17 118.07%

UofL scores about 4 points or 118% of what opponents have allowed in 2014.  Louisville has exceeded the average points allowed in 7 of 10 FBS games.

Kentucky allows more points per game than any team Louisville has faced in 2014.

Kentucky Scoring Defense Evaluation

Scoring Offense Kentucky Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Scored of Avg
Ohio 20.2 3 -17.2 14.85%
Florida 31.6 36 4.4 113.92%
Vanderbilt 17.2 7 -10.2 40.70%
South Carolina 34.8 38 3.2 109.20%
UL Monroe 20.5 14 -6.5 68.29%
LSU 28 41 13 146.43%
Mississippi State 39 45 6 115.38%
Missouri 29.3 20 -9.3 68.26%
Georgia 43.3 63 19.7 145.50%
Tennessee 27.9 50 22.1 179.21%
Louisville 31.5 Average 2.520 100.17%

UK has allowed teams to basically meet their average production on the scoreboard in 2014.  The Cats allow 2.5 more points per game than teams usually score, but Kentucky has held 4 teams (Ohio, Vandy, Missouri, and Monroe) to less than their average points scored.

Louisville will be the 5th highest scoring team Kentucky will face in 2014 just behind Florida (also South Carolina, Miss State,  & Georgia).

Louisville Total Offense Evaluation

Total Defense Louisville Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Miami (FL) 324.6 336 11.4 103.51%
Virginia 345.9 282 -63.9 81.53%
FIU 363.8 336 -27.8 92.36%
Wake Forest 362.9 421 58.1 116.01%
Syracuse 353.5 352 -1.5 99.58%
Clemson 252.4 264 11.6 104.60%
NC State 388.2 369 -19.2 95.05%
Florida State 379.2 488 108.8 128.69%
Boston College 329.6 423 93.4 128.34%
Notre Dame 385.5 409 23.5 106.10%
Kentucky 401 Average 19.44 105.58%

The Cards have actually gained about 19 yards more or 105% of what opposing defenses usually have allowed on the season.  Louisville has gained 400+ yards on offense for 3 consecutive games in a row.

Kentucky is the worst defensive team that Louisville has faced in 2014.

Kentucky Total Defense Evaluation

Total Offense Kentucky Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Ohio 371.8 223 -148.8 59.98%
Florida 379 532 153 140.37%
Vanderbilt 289.8 139 -150.8 47.96%
South Carolina 461 500 39 108.46%
UL Monroe 350.2 264 -86.2 75.39%
LSU 373.6 423 49.4 113.22%
Mississippi State 511.7 542 30.3 105.92%
Missouri 360.7 320 -40.7 88.72%
Georgia 461 559 98 121.26%
Tennessee 372.2 511 138.8 137.29%
Louisville 389.4 Average 8.2 99.86%

UK’s Total Defense has really mirrored the performance of its opponents in 2014.  The two worst performances of the season came vs. Florida, and then in the Cats most recent match-up two weeks ago vs. Tennessee.  The best performances were vs. Vanderbilt & Ohio in the beginning of the season.

Louisville’s offense will be the 4th best offense Kentucky will face in 2014.

Louisville Passing Offense Evaluation

Passing Defense Louisville Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Miami (FL) 188.6 206 17.4 109.23%
Virginia 232.3 203 -29.3 87.39%
FIU 203.3 324 120.7 159.37%
Wake Forest 176.9 206 29.1 116.45%
Syracuse 214.5 174 -40.5 81.12%
Clemson 151.5 212 60.5 139.93%
NC State 199.4 203 3.6 101.81%
Florida State 230.4 330 99.6 143.23%
Boston College 231.8 257 25.2 110.87%
Notre Dame 227.8 180 -47.8 79.02%
Kentucky 200 Average 23.85 112.84%

UofL has faced six Top 45 Pass Defenses in 2014.  Kentucky will be the 7th.  The Cards have excelled despite the good defenses and gain about 23.85 yards more per game through the air than those defenses usually allow or 112.84%.

Kentucky Passing Defense Evaluation

Passing Offense Kentucky Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Ohio 209.1 149 -60.1 71.26%
Florida 181.9 295 113.1 162.18%
Vanderbilt 181.8 85 -96.8 46.75%
South Carolina 281.9 218 -63.9 77.33%
UL Monroe 276.1 187 -89.1 67.73%
LSU 169.1 120 -49.1 70.96%
Mississippi State 264.9 216 -48.9 81.54%
Missouri 183.1 164 -19.1 89.57%
Georgia 200.5 254 53.5 126.68%
Tennessee 240.4 297 56.6 123.54%
Louisville 233.9 Average -20.38 91.76%

The Cats have done very well against the pass in 2014 and allow 20 yards fewer per game than opponents allow or 91.76% of the total.

Louisville will be the 5th best passing team the Wildcats have seen this season.

Louisville Rushing Offense Evaluation

Rushing Defense Louisville Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Miami (FL) 136 130 -6 95.59%
Virginia 113.64 79 -34.64 69.52%
FIU 160.42 12 -148.42 7.48%
Wake Forest 186 215 29 115.59%
Syracuse 139 178 39 128.06%
Clemson 100.82 52 -48.82 51.58%
NC State 188.82 166 -22.82 87.91%
Florida State 148.82 158 9.18 106.17%
Boston College 97.82 166 68.18 169.70%
Notre Dame 157.73 229 71.27 145.18%
Kentucky 201 Average -4.407 97.68%

The Cardinal rushing attack has increasingly shown improvement throughout 2014 and has run for 150+ yards on the ground in 6 of its last 7 contests.  Still UofL gains about 4 yards less than what opponents typically allow despite having 3 consecutive games OVER the average allowed.

Kentucky will be the worst Rushing Defense Louisville will have faced in 2014.

Kentucky Rushing Defense Evaluation

Rushing Offense Kentucky Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Ohio 162.73 74 -88.73 45.47%
Florida 197.1 237 39.9 120.24%
Vanderbilt 108 54 -54 50.00%
South Carolina 179.09 282 102.91 157.46%
UL Monroe 74.09 77 2.91 103.93%
LSU 204.55 303 98.45 148.13%
Mississippi State 246.82 326 79.18 132.08%
Missouri 177.64 156 -21.64 87.82%
Georgia 260.55 305 44.45 117.06%
Tennessee 131.82 214 82.18 162.34%
Louisville 155.45 Average 28.561 112.45%

UK has allowed over 300 yards rushing in 3 of its last 5 games (is that bad?).  On average UK allows 28 more yards per game than what opponents usually gain or 112.45%.  Louisville will bring in the 8th best rushing attack (or the 4th worst) that UK has seen in 2014.

Louisville Offense vs. Kentucky Defense Summary

Ranges (based on suggested math)

UofL Points:  31.55-35.54

UofL Total Yardage: 388.85-423.38

UofL Passing Yards: 213.52-225.68

UofL Rushing Yards: 174.80-196.59

It’s a strong guess that Louisville will scored over 30 points versus Kentucky.  When that has happened the Cats were able to win just 1 game in 2014 (South Carolina).  Louisville on the other hand has lost just 1 game on the season when scoring over 30 points (FSU).

I do expect that Louisville’s passing range will be on the low end (and perhaps even out of the range) we found because of true Freshman Reggie Bonnafon and the play-calling that we’ve seen employed from Petrino & McGee since Reggie took over vs. Boston College.  Also coupled with Kentucky’s recent run stopping ineffectiveness, I expect that the Cards will give the Cats an early & often dose of Michael Dyer & Brandon Radcliff throughout the game which I expect UofL to be on the high end (or perhaps even exceed) the range for Louisville on the ground.

The Cats did get a week off, so UK may be tougher early in the 1st half against the run than they have shown in their last 5 games.

Kentucky Offense vs. Louisville Defense

Kentucky Scoring Offense Evaluation

Scoring Defense Kentucky Scored vs. Deviation from Avg. % Scored of Avg
Ohio 25.2 20 -5.2 79.37%
Florida 20.9 30 9.1 143.54%
Vanderbilt 34.1 17 -17.1 49.85%
South Carolina 30.8 45 14.2 146.10%
UL Monroe 26.6 48 21.4 180.45%
LSU 16.4 3 -13.4 18.29%
Mississippi State 18.4 31 12.6 168.48%
Missouri 20.2 10 -10.2 49.50%
Georgia 20.5 31 10.5 151.22%
Tennessee 24.5 16 -8.5 65.31%
Louisville 18.7 Average 1.340 105.21%

The Cats have scored about the average what teams typically allow in 2014.  UK was way under vs. Vanderbilt & LSU, but over performed a great deal versus South Carolina, Monroe, Georgia, and Mississippi State.

Louisville is the 3rd best scoring defensive team that Kentucky has played this season (Mississippi State & LSU) and the Cats had dramatically different results against both of those teams, although they both ended in a loss.

Louisville Scoring Defense Evaluation

Scoring Offense Louisville Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Scored of Avg
Miami (FL) 30.5 13 -17.5 42.62%
Virginia 26.4 23 -3.4 87.12%
FIU 23 3 -20 13.04%
Wake Forest 14.3 10 -4.3 69.93%
Syracuse 18 6 -12 33.33%
Clemson 29.6 23 -6.6 77.70%
NC State 29.4 18 -11.4 61.22%
Florida State 35.5 42 6.5 118.31%
Boston College 25.7 19 -6.7 73.93%
Notre Dame 34.7 28 -6.7 80.69%
Kentucky 28.2 Average -8.210 65.79%

The Cards have been outstanding in disallowing points and have held 9 of 10 FBS schools (FSU) under the usual point production in a given ballgame. UofL limits scoring to 8.2 points less than usual or just 65.79%.

Kentucky is the 5th worst (or 6th best) scoring team that the Cards will play in 2014.

Kentucky Total Offense Evaluation

Total Defense Kentucky Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Ohio 401.4 402 0.60 100.15%
Florida 311.5 450 138.50 144.46%
Vanderbilt 414.8 384 -30.80 92.57%
South Carolina 428.4 447 18.60 104.34%
UL Monroe 364.5 352 -12.50 96.57%
LSU 312.9 217 -95.90 69.35%
Mississippi State 400.7 504 103.30 125.78%
Missouri 334.4 260 -74.40 77.75%
Georgia 322.3 353 30.70 109.53%
Tennessee 367.9 262 -105.90 71.22%
Louisville 290.2 Average -2.78 99.17%

UK, again, really mirrors what defenses typically allow on the season.  UK’s worst two performances of the season were against LSU & Tennessee, but the Cats really got up for Florida & Mississippi State.  It’s a roller coaster because UK has performed very well on offense at times…but they had enough bad outings to find their way back to the middle.

Louisville will be the best Total Defense team UK has played in 2014.

Louisville Total Defense Evaluation

Total Offense Louisvile Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Miami (FL) 431.9 244 -187.9 56.49%
Virginia 379.6 285 -94.6 75.08%
FIU 293.2 205 -88.2 69.92%
Wake Forest 207.3 100 -107.3 48.24%
Syracuse 347.5 260 -87.5 74.82%
Clemson 402.7 229 -173.7 56.87%
NC State 397.3 351 -46.3 88.35%
Florida State 441.5 574 132.5 130.01%
Boston College 391.3 332 -59.3 84.85%
Notre Dame 453.3 335 -118.3 73.90%
Kentucky 389.5 Average -83.06 75.85%

Louisville has held every opponent except one (FSU) under its yearly average yards per game average in 2014.  Typically the Cards hold the opponents to 83 (!) yards fewer average, or 75.85%. Louisville has held 4 opponents to 100+ yards or more less than normal (Miami, Wake, Clemson, and Notre Dame).

Kentucky’s offense will be the 4th worst that the Cards have seen in 2014.  In the 3 games that UofL played with worst offenses than UK, the Cards held those teams each to under 87 yards or more off their average.

Kentucky Passing Offense Evaluation

Passing Defense Kentucky Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Ohio 265.4 170 -95.4 64.05%
Florida 201.1 369 167.9 183.49%
Vanderbilt 229.8 85 -144.8 36.99%
South Carolina 214.9 208 -6.9 96.79%
UL Monroe 194.8 216 21.2 110.88%
LSU 164 146 -18 89.02%
Mississippi State 281.4 401 119.6 142.50%
Missouri 210.5 158 -52.5 75.06%
Georgia 167 139 -28 83.23%
Tennessee 202.3 168 -34.3 83.04%
Louisville 201.7 Average -7.12 96.51%

Once again, UK does whatever opponents usually allow.  The Florida & Miss State were once again the big positive outliers with Ohio & Vanderbilt really being the negative extreme data sets.

Louisville’s passing defense is the 5th best unit Kentucky has played in 2014.  Against Louisville the Cats will play against their 6th Top 40 Passing defense this season.

Louisville Passing Defense Evaluation

Passing Offense Louisvile Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Miami (FL) 247 174 -73 70.45%
Virginia 232.8 171 -61.8 73.45%
FIU 168 117 -51 69.64%
Wake Forest 169.5 122 -47.5 71.98%
Syracuse 194.8 201 6.2 103.18%
Clemson 256.3 157 -99.3 61.26%
NC State 207.8 223 15.2 107.31%
Florida State 314.9 401 86.1 127.34%
Boston College 129.5 166 36.5 128.19%
Notre Dame 298.2 236 -62.2 79.14%
Kentucky 236.2 Average -25.08 89.19%

UofL allows about 25 yards less through the air than teams usually gain.  Louisville has held 6 of 10 FBS opponents to fewer yards through the air than usual.  The Cards have played against 4 Top 50 passing offenses in 2014 (Kentucky is not one).

The Cats are the 5th best passing team the Cards will play this season.  Of the other 4 passing offenses that UofL has faced all but FSU were severely limited.

Kentucky Rushing Offense Evaluation

Rushing Defense Kentucky Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Ohio 136 232 96 170.59%
Florida 110.4 81 -29.4 73.37%
Vanderbilt 185 54 -131 29.19%
South Carolina 213.45 239 25.55 111.97%
UL Monroe 169.73 136 -33.73 80.13%
LSU 148.91 71 -77.91 47.68%
Mississippi State 119.36 103 -16.36 86.29%
Missouri 123.82 102 -21.82 82.38%
Georgia 155.27 214 58.73 137.82%
Tennessee 165.64 94 -71.64 56.75%
Louisville 88.45 Average -20.158 87.62%

UK has had 3 outstanding rushing performances in 2014, and two of those were well above the average yards allowed by run defenses.  The other 7 games……well….UK gains 20 yards fewer than opponents have allowed on the season despite those 3 great games on the ground.

Louisville’s rushing defense is 22 yards better per game than any run defense that Kentucky has played all season.

Louisville Rushing Defense Evaluation

Rushing Offense Louisville Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Miami (FL) 184.91 70 -114.91 37.86%
Virginia 146.82 114 -32.82 77.65%
FIU 125.17 88 -37.17 70.30%
Wake Forest 37.73 -22 -59.73 -58.31%
Syracuse 152.73 59 -93.73 38.63%
Clemson 146.45 72 -74.45 49.16%
NC State 189.45 128 -61.45 67.56%
Florida State 126.64 173 46.36 136.61%
Boston College 261.82 166 -95.82 63.40%
Notre Dame 155.09 99 -56.09 63.83%
Kentucky 153.36 Average -57.981 54.67%

UofL’s run D is DOMINANT. Only one team has been able to gain more than average (FSU) but the Cards still limit opponents to nearly 58 yards fewer per game than average.

The Cats will be the 5th best rushing team UofL will have played in 2014.

Kentucky Offense vs. Louisville Defense Summary

Ranges (based on suggested math) 

UK Points: 18.55-20.04

UK Total Yardage: 287.42-306.44

UK Passing Yards: 194.58-211.12

UK Rushing Yards: 68.29-95.38

Based on projections, UK’s 18-20 points on Saturday will need the Wildcat defense to play an outstanding game.  Louisville did lose twice in 2014 to Virginia & Clemson when the opponent scored 23 points.  Just 4 teams all season have been able to break the 20 point barrier against Louisville.

Kentucky’s best bet to move the ball against Louisville is through the air.  I don’t think there will be a great deal of room on the ground for Kentucky, but the Cats may elect to test the waters.  The health of Patrick Towles  will be a big component to the Kentucky offense.  UK had a week off and that will help coming into the game, but Kentucky allows just as much pressure as the Cards do and Louisvile is 9th in the country in getting sacks for its defense.  Towles will need his mobility to evade some of the rush and to remain healthy.

The Cats are one of the worst 3rd down offenses in the nation.  Louisville has a clear advantage on defense in this one, but UK has shown its ability to get up for big games.  We’ll see what happens on Saturday.

Pre-Game Videos

Attending, Listening, Watching

The Game is SOLD OUT, but the secondary market through StubHub is very affordable by comparison. Click Here for the Options. 

Weather is expected to be around 50 degrees at kickoff with Clouds and no chance for rain.  Winds about 13 mph.

RADIO: 840 WHAS Learfield Sports Network with Paul Rogers,Craig Swabek, and Doug Ormay.  UK Radio Network with Tom Leach, Jeff Piecoro, and Dick Gabriel.

Satellite Radio: Sirius 138, XM 194

TV: ESPN2 with Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway, and Paul Carcaterra.

Kentucky Returns Tickets to the Game

Move the game, Change the Game, Why Not? Kentucky fans once again failed to scoop up their allotted portion of tickets to the 2014 Governor’s Cup.

For a fanbase the size of Kentucky they sure do have a lot of absentees. Season Ticket Holders received the notice of opportunity to purchase additional tickets in the mail on Wednesday afternoon.

UKUofLReturnedTix

Thank You Seniors!

This group has two games remaining in their career, here are their accolades:

38-12 Overall (76%), 31-6 (83%) the last 3 seasons.  

3 Governor’s Cups (1 to go)

4 Bowl Appearances (4th is upcoming)

2 Bowl Wins (1 to go)

2 Keg Of Nails 

2 Top AP Top 15 Finishes (Currently #24)

Running Backs

Dominique Brown (Cincinnati, OH-Winton Woods)

Quarterback turned Running Back has 1791 career yards and 16 Touchdowns.  Dom has been a part of one of the winningest stretches of Cardinal football history and has been the feature back in several classic wins.

Brown will represent the Cards in the East-West Shrine Game in January and came to the Cards as a 3-star prospect by Scout.com (4-star by Rivals) and former Cincinnati Offensive Player of the Year and had offers from Ohio State, Cincinnati, and Hawai’i.

Dominique BROKE OUT vs. Kentucky in the reclamation of the Governor’s Cup in 2011, and then later that year had a huge 55-yard rush in a win over West Virginia.  Brown missed the 2012 Sugar Bowl season with an injury and came back with a FORCE during the 2013 season rushing for 825 yards and was 4th in the American Athletic Conference in rushing yardage per game.

Brown opened the 2014 season with a big game versus Miami and has 374 yards and 4 Touchdowns in 2014.

Michael Dyer (Little Rock, AR- Christian Academy) 

Dyer found his way to Louisville through an unconventional path.  Out of Christian Academy in Little Rock, AR, Dyer was the #1 Running Back in the 2010 class and signed with Auburn as a Parade All-American.  At Auburn, Dyer broke Bo Jackson’s freshman rushing record with 1093 yards & 5 Touchdowns, won a National Championship with the Tigers and was named BCS Title Game Offensive MVP.  His long TD vs. Oregon over the back of a Duck defender on the ground is a classic college football play.  Dyer went on to rush for 1,242 yards & 10 Touchdowns as a sophomore.

Michael missed the 2012 season, and joined the Cardinals in 2013 when Michael was hobbled with a sports-hernia injury.  Dyer was only able to contribute 223 yards and 2 TDs before being shut down due to his injury.  To start 2014, Michael was slowed to start his season with a deep thigh contusion that caused him to miss the first half of the season.  Since being activated Dyer has been a MAJOR weapon for Bobby Petrino rushing for 475 yards & 4 Touchdowns.

Dyer currently has 3033 yards and 21 Touchdowns.  Just 698 yards & 6 Touchdowns have occurred while at the University of Louisville.  Dyer is certain to be selected in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Wide Receivers

DeVante Parker (Louisville, KY -Ballard) 

SPIDERMAN. One of the most electrifying players in Cardinal Football history, DeVante Parker didn’t travel far to Louisville’s Belknap Campus from Louisville’s Ballard High School. Parker has 142 career catches for 2475 yards and 30 Touchdowns…..all of which rank in Louisville’s Top 10 with two more games to go in his career.

Parker came to Louisville as a 4-star recruit and it sounds funny now, but DeVante was ranked as the #26 Wide Receiver in the 2011 class.  As it is DeVante Parker was a key piece in one of the most productive recruiting classes in Louisville Football history (2011).

DeVante will be a high selection in the 2015 NFL draft and in my personal opinion is the best receiver in college football.  Paker was slowed at the beginning of the 2014 season with a broken bone in his foot, but since his return quickly established himself as the primary target of the wide receiving corps.  Vante has made plays at every stage of his collegiate career and there isn’t much else to say except put on the tape.

DeVante “Peter” Parker: SPIDERMAN from Mark Blankenbaker on Vimeo.

Eli Rogers (Miami, FL-Northwestern)

Mr. Reliable.  The Book of Eli is not yet complete at the University of Louisville, but Rogers certainly has made a HUGE impact.  Clutch play after clutch play.  Eli Rogers always in the right place at the right time when the Cards needed a play over the past 4 seasons.

Also a part of the storied 2011 recruiting class for Louisville (a 3-star recruit committed with Teddy Bridgewater), Rogers came to Louisville from Northwestern HS in Miami. Rogers chose the Cards over Cincinnati and UCF and he was needed right away putting his ELITE lateral quickness to use for the Cards.  Eli will leave Louisville in the Top 10 in receptions, and needs just one TD to crack the Top 10 in career Touchdowns as a Card.

To try and place Eli’s most important catch would be impossible.  His game-winner vs. USF, his multiple drive-extending catches, his diver at Rutgers that led to the go-ahead Field Goal, his huge catch in traffic in the Sugar Bowl…..we could go on.

The connection between Eli Rogers & Teddy Bridgewater was undeniable and if Eli strikes out in the NFL Draft it’s a pretty good bet that the Minnesota Vikings will invite him to camp to try out as a slot guy for Teddy.

Eli will go down as one of my favorite Louisville Cardinals, ever.

Michaelee Harris (Miami, FL- Northwestern)

Big personality & new father.  Michaelee Harris also came to Louisville from Miami Northwestern as a 4-star recruit in the 2010 class and was Charlie Strong’s 2nd commitment (along with Corvin Lamb who was 12 days earlier also from Northwestern H.S.) and perhaps his most important.  Michaelee chose Louisville over Miami (FL), Ole Miss, Tennessee, UCF, and West Virginia.

Because of Michaelee’s engaging personality, and big-time football ability everyone wanted to play with Harris.  When Michaelee & Corvin Lamb joined Louisville, the rest of Miami followed.  The rest is history.

Unfortunately the huge favor Michaelee paid the Cards could not be re-paid to Harris on the field because of multiple knee injuries.  Despite one of the most promising and productive freshman receiving seasons in Louisville football history, injury after injury followed.  Being the person that Michaelee Harris is, he never got down, he worked hard and has found the field (& the endzone) since his most recent recovery.

While we may always wonder what might have been on the football field with Michaelee, he will leave the University of Louisville with his degree and a new family, and will always be remembered for his big personality.

Kai De La Cruz (Montvale, N.J. -St. Joseph’s Regional)

The Red Mohawk may be gone, but Kai De La Cruz (formerly Kai Dominguez) came to UofL as a 3-star prospect from Montvale, New Jersey & St. Joesph’s Regional High School in the 2010 class.   Kai was need in emergency in 2010 and then redshirted the 2011 season before playing some corner.  Kai broke out in 2013 early in the season before being slowed by an injury that kept him out for the balance of the season.

This year Kai has 259 yards and 2 Touchdowns, including a HUUUGGGEE  catch from Reggie Bonnafon last week vs. Notre Dame.  De La Cruz runs crisp routes, has speed with great hands and chose the University of Louisville over Syracuse.

Matt Milton (Belleville, IL-Mascoutah)

Slim came to Louisville from Mascoutah High School in Belleville, IL by way of the University of Tennessee. Was rated as the #20 wide receiver in the country in the 2010 recruiting class.  Milton found his way to Louisville and has 4 catches for 91 yards in his career.

Milton is a recent graduate of the University of Louisville, always seems to have a good attitude.

Tight Ends

Gerald Christian (Palm Beach Gardens, FL- William T. Dwyer)

Came to Louisville from William T. Dwyer H.S. by way of the University of Florida as the #3 Tight End in the country in the 2010 recruiting class.  Gerald was a 4-star prospect and really has steadied a very thin tight end position for the Cardinals the past two seasons.

When Christian is able to get the ball into his hands he has made some tremendous plays as a Cardinal.  Gerald is also an outstanding blocker which has allowed for some deception in play-calling.  Christian has made plenty of big gains in his career and NFL Scouts always inquire about him.

I expect that Gerald will have a chance this summer to make an NFL roster, as a Cardinal Christian has 765 yards & 8 Touchdowns in two seasons with 2 games to go.

Offensive Line 

John Miller (Miami, FL-Central)

He’s quiet. We don’t talk about him a lot and you don’t hear a lot about him……..and that’s because he’s one of the best offensive lineman this school has seen in a decade.  John Miller came to Louisville from Miami Central High School as a 3-star prospect and has started 46 (of 50) games for the Cards. John chose Louisville over Kansas State, Rutgers, West Virginia, and Marshall.

John will represent the Cards in the East-West Shrine Bowl this January and will have an opportunity to showcase his talents in a post-season environment to scouts.  But Miller has done more than enough to get drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft having blocked for the 5th (2013) & 8th (2012) best offenses in school history.

“Big Boosie”, as he dubs himself in his Twitter profile, has been a part of some of one of the most winning classes in Louisville football history and started 92% of the games during that time.  John is a bullish blocker, doesn’t get moved off his man, and has grown even more technical in the last two years.  It is hard to find a stronger Guard who can move in space and pull in the run game like Miller.

For as quiet as he has been vocally in the press during his career, he deserves a ROAR when he walks out of the tunnel for Senior Day.

Jake Smith (Jacksonville, AL- Jacksonville)

Mr. Utility.  He’s played center, he’s played guard.  A great run blocker and a good personality & ambassador of the program.  Jake was the 10th player to commit to Charlie Strong just over a month after his arrival.  It wasn’t a popular time to come to Louisville, but Jake Smith did anyway as a 2-star prospect from Jacksonville, AL with his only listed offer as UAB.

Jake Smith’s ONLY missed start was the 2013 Sugar Bowl (illness) but he did play a key role in the game.  Jake has started 49 of 50 games since arriving at Louisville.  Entering Saturday, Smith has 3 Governor’s Cup wins, 4 Bowl Appearances (already secured), 2 Keg of Nails, 2 Bowl Wins, including a Sugar Bowl, and a conference title.

Guys like Jake Smith are the glue to a program.  He’s a smart player, respected in the locker room, reliable, and level-headed.  Jake Smith is everything a coach could want in a player.  I think Jake’s versatility and run blocking will certainly have Scouts take a strong look at Jake and if he isn’t selected I definitely believe he’ll get invited to some camps, but I do believe he’ll be drafted this May.

Jamon Brown (Louisville, KY- Fern Creek)

The Voice.  Jamon also did not need to travel far to Louisville’s Belknap Campus as he was a local prospect from Louisville’s Fern Creek High School.  Brown began his career as a Defensive Tackle for the first few games, and then in an instant he was a true freshman offensive tackle trying to block West Virginia’s Senior (and 1st Round pick) Defensive End Bruce Irivin.  Baptism by fire.

Brown was a 3-star defensive tackle prospect, #52 in the nation, and chose Louisville over Illinois, Kentucky, and Purdue.

Jamon has great vocal skills and often sings at team functions, but his large frame and quickness have made him an ASSET for the past 4 seasons along the offensive line.  It’s been fun watching Jamon learn the position after beginning his career as a raw talent.  Brown has next level strength and has really worked on his technique drawing the eyes of many NFL Scouts.

Brown was invited to several All Star games and will represent the Cards in the East-West Shrine Game this January.  I fully expect for an NFL to draft Jamon, but no matter what he does he will be a fabulous ambassador of the program, this city, and the University of Louisville.  Great guy, great player.  It’s going to be a sad day when he no longer puts the pads on for the Cards.

Chris Acosta (Miami, FL -Hileah)

Came to Louisville in the 2010 class as a 2-star prospect from Hileah Senior H.S. in Miami and chose Louisville over Florida Atlantic.  Acosta is a graduate of the University of Louisville and started 5 games last season at guard including last season’s win over Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl.   Returned to the program despite earning his degree last December.

Acosta has been a wonderful asset for the Cardinal offensive line in his career and has really played well when the coaches have called upon him.

David Noltemeyer (Louisville, KY- St. Xavier)

Walk-ons always get big-time respect.  They rarely see the field, they don’t get the perks of being on scholarship, and yet they show up to work every day.  Any walk-on that walks out of the tunnel to see his family and coaches on Senior Day gets a major tip of the cap.  That’s dedication of the highest order.

Defensive Line

B.J. Dubose (Oakland Park, FL- Notheast)

B.J. made an instant impact as a freshman coming from the 2011 class as the #35 Defensive End in the nation from Oakland Park, FL’s Northeast H.S.   Dubose chose Louisville over Miami (FL) and Syracuse.

Dubose fell out of favor midway through the 2012 season, but came back with a bang with the new defensive staff and is a key part of one of the best defensive lines in the nation.  B.J. has 35 tackles, 4 sacks, and 7.5 Tackles for Loss in 2014 and has been a relentless force for the Cards in 2014.  I’m interested to see how much of an impact Dubose’s play has impacted NFL Scouts opinion of him, but clearly the staff change has done a great deal for the fortunes of B.J. Dubose.

Linebackers

Lorenzo Mauldin (Atlanta, GA – Maynard Jackson)

LOZO or Mr. Sack Your QB was a late addition to the Cardinals 2011 recruiting class and was the face of over-signing after South Carolina rescinded their scholarship offer to Mauldin.  South Carolina’s loss was Louisville’s gain as the Cards picked up the 3-star #133 ranked Defensive End in the country from Atlanta’s Maynard Jackson High School.

Lorenzo is a fan favorite for his willingness to interact with fans, his high motor on the football field, and his heart-wrenching back story.  It is well-documented of Lorenzo Mauldin’s upbringing in numerous foster homes as a ward of the state.  Odds were that Lorenzo Mauldin shouldn’t be the face of Louisville Cardinal Athletics….but here we are.

It’s a testament to LOZO of how well he has endeared himself to the community and his growth as an individual since arriving on campus.  Mauldin was actually struck by a car the week of the 2013 season-opener and still played.

Lorenzo Mauldin currently has 109 tackles, 20.5 sacks, and 32 tackles for loss in his career.  His sack total is currently 9th in school history, and his TFLs are 7th All-Time as a Cardinal.  Lorenzo is easily a Cardinal favorite and a 1st or 2nd round NFL Draft selection in the 2015 Draft this May.

Thanks South Carolina and Thank You Lorenzo.

Deiontrez Mount (Ft. Walton Beach, FL- Fort Walton Beach)

Happiest person on the team.  Anyone that knows Deiontrez will tell you just how genuinely nice he is…..except to offenses.

“Trez” made an impact right away as a freshman and uses his speed and length to make a great number of plays over the course of 4 seasons for the Cards.  Deiontrez has 73 career tackles, 8.5 sacks and 17 Tackles For Loss.

From Ft. Walton Beach, FL & H.S. Mount came to Louisville as a 3-star prospect and the 108th best Defensive End prospect.  Deiontrez chose Louisville over Florida State, Iowa State, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Great guy, great player. Great teammate.  Proud to say that Deiontrez Mount is a Cardinal Forever. Should definitely get some looks in the NFL.

Secondary

Terell Floyd (Fort Pierce, FL – Port St. Lucie) 

T. Floyd will always be most famous for his game-opening Pick 6 vs. Florida in the Sugar Bowl.  There is no telling how many beers & nachos Floyd ruined on that opening play in New Orleans, but Floyd has actually sealed 3 different games with interceptions and has 7 in his career.

Terell has been a big-time player and has made several key plays throughout his career.  Floyd was pressed into action early as a true freshman out of necessity and has come a long way from the true freshman who couldn’t bring down Dwight Jones of North Carolina…now Floyd is one of the most physical and sure tackling corners in college football.

T. Floyd chose the Cards as a 3-star prospect from Fort Pierce, FL via Port St. Lucie H.S.  Terell was the #66 corner in the nation and chose Louisville over Rutgers, South Carolina, and Marshall.  I do expect Floyd to make the NFL.

Andrew Johnson (Miami, FL- Southridge)

Mr. President may best be known for his ‘kisses’ to West Virginia after a blocked FG attempt returned for a Touchdown.  But Andrew’s best play as a Cardinal is still his game-saving pass break-up vs. North Carolina in 2012. But Johnson also made a key interception in the Sugar Bowl as well.

Johnson is a sure-tackler at the corner back position and was tremendous in his first big-time game versus Kentucky in 2011 and is one of the best trash talkers you’ll ever see.

Andrew chose Louisville as a 3-star prospect from Miami’s Southridge H.S. as the #45 Corner in the nation over LSU, Ole Miss, Nebraska, USF, Wake Forest, and West Virginia.

George Clements (Willow Spring, N.C.- West Johnson)

Admittedly I don’t know much about George, except that he has exceptional speed.  But again Walk-ons always get big-time respect.  They rarely see the field, they don’t get the perks of being on scholarship, and yet they show up to work every day.  Any walk-on that walks out of the tunnel to see his family and coaches on Senior Day gets a major tip of the cap.  That’s dedication of the highest order.

Specialists

Grant Donovan (Louisville, KY -Male)

Gotta love your Male Bulldogs.  Grant Donovan has been the University of Louisville’s long snapper for 50 (all) consecutive games starting in 2012.  If fans don’t notice a long-snapper, that is a very good thing.  Grant has been awesome as a long-snapper and even does a nice job in punt coverage when running the field.

Ryan Johnson (Louisville, KY- DeSales)

Punter from Louisville DeSales H.S. was a surprise in 2012 and did very well.  Once he earned the job he didn’t give it away and has been a consistent kicker throughout his career as a Cardinal.

A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE SENIORS FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE HISTORY OF LOUISVILLE FOOTBALL!!!!

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of TheCrunchZone.com

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