Attending, Listening, Watching

Location: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium
CARDMARCH: 9:30-9:45 a.m.
Game Time: Noon
Line: Louisville -13.5
Series History: Louisville leads 8-7
Last Time: Louisville 20, Houston 13. 11-6-2013


There are a handful (about 50 or less) of tickets still available on Ticketmaster.  The tickets are all in the Houston sections, though we suspect you’ll be around mostly Cardinal fans in the sections that are still available.  Let’s continue the run of sellouts at PJCS.

Fans attending might be smart to check out what is new with Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in 2015.  CardMarch will happen in its usual location from Central through the tunnel & into Gate 4. Gate 4 will remain open but fans who typically use Gate 4 that require ADA entrances will need to utilize Gates 3 or Gate 5 from the South during the 2015 season as the Thornton’s Academic Center for Excellence Construction is under construction and pathways will be a compacted gravel surface. All entrances EXCEPT Gate 4 will be available for patrons who need assistance.

Additionally, PJCS will continue to provide golf carts in the Green & Bronze lots to & from the stadium. Fans who require assistance should make their way to the West drive lane of the Green/Bronze lots to find the Accessibility Shuttle Service. After the game, the Shuttle Service will assist patrons at Gate 5.


The broadcast will be available on Louisville Sports Properties and the Tune In Mobile App.  The legendary voice of the Cards Paul Rogers will provide play-by-play with Craig Swabek providing color and Doug Ormay from the sideline.


On television the game will be broadcast by the ACC’s Regional Sports Network (otherwise known as various Fox Sports affiliates).  Tom Werme will provide the play-by-play, Ovie Mughelli will provide color, and Niki Noto will be on the sideline.

My Prediction

Coming off a tough loss where Louisville really struggled to settle down away from home.  I expect the Cards to come out sharp.  Louisville has prepared for Lamar Jackson to start, the offensive line really settled down in the 2nd half and the running game came alive.  It’s also important to note that Louisville didn’t play poorly vs. Auburn…but small mistakes turned into huge swings in the game.  At home, where Bobby Petrino has lost just twice as Louisville’s head coach The Cards should be a game better with many of these timing, cadence, and decision issues are cleaned up.  More importantly, Louisville will have its own crowd to pick it up.

Defensively I think Houston is slightly different with the same concepts as Auburn with a more limited passing game and a more dangerous runner at QB.  Louisville on defense should be up for the test.  Houston will try and spread out the Cards to give its QB Greg Ward room to run, but the Cards set the tone here early and the Louisville offense gets out to an early lead and maintains that throughout.

Louisville 38, Houston 17

Stat Comparison

  Louisville Houston
Scoring Offense (ppg) 24.0 (80th) 52.0 (19th)
Total Offense (ypg) 405.0 (72nd) 627 (10th)
Passing Offense (ypg) 167.0 (93rd) 355.0 (17th)
Rushing Offense (ypg) 238.0 (32nd) 272.0 (23rd)
Scoring Defense (ppg) 31.0 (84th) 24.0 (71st)
Total Defense (ypg) 327.0 (55th) 341. (61st)
Passing Defense (ypg) 137.0 (26th) 312.0 (100th)
Rushing Defense (ypg) 190.0 (90th) 29.0 (9th)
Punt Returns (ypr) N/A 8.33 (46th)
Kickoff Returns (ypr) N/A 20.40 (65th)
Opponent Punt Returns (ypr) -2.00 (2nd) 1.50 (18th)
Opponent Kickoff Returns (ypr) 21.33 (73rd) 21.00 (64th)
Punting (ypp) 39.33 (84th) 45.25 (39th)
Field Goal % 33.3% (88th) 100% (1st)
Opponent Field Goal % 100% (44th) 100% (44th)
First Downs (per game) 27.0 (27th) 27.0 (27th)
Opponent First Downs (per game) 21.0 (77th) 10.0 (13th)
Penalties (ypg) 35.0 (34th) 59.0 (78th)
Turnover Margin (season) +1 (26th) Even (52nd)
Time of Possession 30:50.0 (52nd) 30:54 (49th)
Sacks (per game) NA 2.00 (48th)
Sacks Allowed (per game) 4.00 (109th) 1.00 (27th)
Tackles for Loss (per game) 3.00 (106th) 8.00 (26th)
Tackles for Loss Allowed (per game) 9.00 (109th) 4.00 (33rd)
Interceptions (season) 3.00 (5th) 1.00 (29th)
Passes Defended (per game) 7.00 (9th) 4.00 (53rd)
Fumbles Recovered (season) NA NA
Fumbles Forced (season) NA NA
Fumbles Lost (season) 1 (64th) 1 (64th)
Kicks/Punts Blocked (season) NA NA
3rd Down Conversions (%) 50.00% (31st) 30.77% (90th)
Opponent 3rd Down Conversions (%) 40.00% (72nd) 33.33% (58th)
4th Down Conversions (%) 100% (1st) 75.00% (37th)
Opponent 4th Down Conversions (%) NA NA
Red Zone Conversions (%) 60.00% (104th) 85.71% (64th)
Opponent Red Zone Conversions (%) 100% (54th) 100% (54th)
RedZone TD Conversions (%) 60.00% (63rd) 71.43% (44th)
Opponent Red Zone TD Conversions (%) 100% (92nd) 50.00% (38th)
Kickoffs (ypk) 64.75 (23rd) 63.89 (52nd)
Plays 81 (29th) 82 (25th)
Yards Per Play 5.00 (90th) 7.65 (21st)

Louisville Offense vs. Houston Defense

Bobby Petrino & Garrick McGee vs. Todd Orlando

Houston Defensive Coordinator Todd Orlando spent the last two seasons at Utah State where he posted two Top 30 defenses. Last year, Houston without Todd Orlando had the #20 Defense in the country, finished 8-5 and didn’t have a single player drafted. You might remember Orlando from his time at Florida International in 2011 & 2012 as Defensive Coordinator. In 2011, FIU came into Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and held the Cards to 17 points and gave Louisville a stunning loss. In 2012, Florida International frustrated the Cards again (this time in Miami) and a Teddy Bridgewater led squad was held to 323 yards but was able to win the game 28-21. In short, Todd Orlando knows what he’s doing on defense, he’s inherited a good unit, and he’s given the Cards problems before. Orlando also spent 6 seasons with UCONN from 1999-2010, which means that Orlando was present during the famous Larry Taylor ‘Fair Catch Game’ in 2007.

Houston has a CULTURE of defense and adding Todd Orlando is just going to continue that culture, but have changed to a 3-4 scheme in 2015. Last year, Houston was 37th against the run, 27th against the run and 20th in Total Defense. Also Houston (like Auburn) was EXCELLENT at creating Interceptions a year ago ranking 8th.

One thing to watch for is whether or not Houston attempts to play man coverage or if the Cougars exclusively play zone against Lamar Jackson.  There are advantages to both, but against a running QB like Lamar Jackson UH may elect to go with more of a zone coverage look.  If that happens, Louisville must protect the QB as Houston will attempt to corral Lamar and keep him within the pocket, all defenses get tired eventually but that fatigue can set in earlier than normal if Houston has to chase Lamar around the field early in the game.  If Louisville gives its QB time receivers should be able to find open spaces with all of the defenders keeping an eye in on Jackson.

Once again Louisville will certainly attempt to run the football with Brandon Radcliff.  Expect that Jeremy Smith also gets mixed in more than a week ago, but how the Cards attack Houston on the ground is a big question.  Does Petrino go with more of a zone read look or does Petrino continue to run his more traditional approach.  Against Auburn, Louisville did some zone read and really went after the edges and did not attempt too much up the middle.

If Houston can stifle the Cards on offense they have a shot to get the win in PJCS.  With true freshman expected to be all over the place for Louisville it’s important for UofL to get off to a hot start, set the tone and gain some confidence to build on early.  The 1st quarter of this game is very important.

Houston Offense vs. Louisville Defense

Major Applewhite & Tom Herman vs. Todd Grantham

Like Louisville, Houston has an incredible dual-threat talent in Greg Ward.  The same principles for the Louisville Offense vs. Houston Defense also apply in this match-up.  Ward formerly played WR and earned the starting QB spot for the Cougars after 5 games through 2014.  Ward is only 5’11 but led Houston to win 6 of its final 8 in 2014.  Ward threw for 2,010 yards, 573 on the ground and accounted for 18 Touchdowns in Total.

Kenneth Farrow is a big back for Houston and Ryan Jackson provides a change of pace.  In order for Houston to beat the Cards they will need to run the football and Ward’s elusive nature makes that possible.  The Cougar offensive line is a weak spot and that is something Louisville’s Front 7 looks to exploit after having trouble against a veteran Auburn OL unit a week ago.  Look for Louisville to take out its frustrations from Auburn where the Cards weren’t able to get off the field against the Auburn Running game which shortened the game and limited Louisville’s comeback potential.  Also Louisville didn’t record a sack (officially) against Auburn.  Look for that to change vs. Houston as well.

Josh Harvey-Clemons will likely have another huge game in the secondary as well.  Houston has yet to really find an answer with a young group in its wide receivers.  One will eventually stand out but Houston often uses multiple WR sets and spreads the defense out to give Greg Ward and the Houston backs room to run.  Herman & Applewhite do use some jet sweeps concepts with the WRs as well.  In terms of a change from Auburn, Houston is more about spreading the ball around with space as opposed to Auburn’s power spread….and Houston are not as much of a threat to go downfield.  But there are a lot of similar concepts Grantham must prepare for.

The biggest thing for Louisville’s defense is to just contain Ward.  Like Lamar Jackson, the Cards can’t spend the first 2 quarters chasing Greg Ward and be out of gas in the 2nd half.  The more 3 & OUTs the better (obviously) but especially early.

Pre-Game Interviews

Petrino starts at 29:30

Louisville’s Uniforms vs. Houston

The following two tabs change content below.
@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of

Latest posts by Mark Blankenbaker (see all)

TCZ Comments