Location: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium
Surface: Field Turf
Forecast: 55 degrees, Partly Cloudy 0% Chance for Rain
Game Time: 12:30 11-14-2015
CARDMARCH: 10:15 a.m. – Central Ave. Overpass
Line: Louisville -13.5
Series History: Virginia leads 2-1, UofL 1-0 in Louisville
Last Time: Virginia 23, UofL 21  (2014)

ATTENDING

A handful of tickets are available and may be purchased here

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.

LISTENING

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.  The Louisville broadcast will also be available on Sirius Channel 157 and XM Channel 204.

WATCHING

The television broadcast of Louisville vs. Virginia will be on the ACC Network (locally on Fox Sports South) Wes Durham will provide play-by-play with James Bates providing color and Jen Hildreth on the sideline.  Fans can also tune in on the WATCHESPN app live and later for replay.

My Prediction

Make no bones about it, this is a MUST WIN game for the Cards.  That’s usually the case at every level of football, but when the Cards started 0-3 with two losses at home every home game remaining because super critical.  After Saturday the Cards will have to finish the year on the road and a loss would send UofL back to .500 still a game away from a bowl with its final two games on the road.

Virginia’s defense is tougher than their statistics suggest but they do not get take-aways like they did last year.  Virginia’s offense might even be more limited than a year ago…..let’s just call it basic. The Cardinal defense should be able to really get after Virginia: BUT BEWARE THE SCREEN.  Virginia will do whatever they can do try and use deception in the screen game and it takes just one slip to break a big one.  I do think there is high potential for a Louisville Defensive Touchdown in this game.

Offensively Louisville should do well, but probably not as well as they fared last week vs. Syracuse.  If the Cards can avoid the turnover (UVA doesn’t really turn people over in 2015) then things should go smoothly.  Punting in this game really isn’t a huge deal because what are the Cavs going to do on offense?

3 TDs & a FG should do the trick here but this game is probably going to end up tougher than it should be.

Louisville 27 Virginia 23  

Stat Comparison

  Louisville Virginia
Strength of Schedule 32nd 11th
Scoring Offense (ppg) 26.2 (88th) 24.0 (98th)
Total Offense (ypg) 400.8 (68th) 367.4 (90th)
Passing Offense (ypg) 252.2 (40th) 229.9 (61st)
Rushing Offense (ypg) 148.56 (93rd) 137.56 (106th)
Scoring Defense (ppg) 21.3 (31st) 32.3 (97th)
Total Defense (ypg) 306.7 (15th) 413.8 (82nd)
Passing Defense (ypg) 196.1 (36th) 252.9 (95th)
Rushing Defense (ypg) 110.56 (11th) 160.89 (58th)
Punt Returns (ypr) 3.38 (117th) 26.00 (1st)
Kickoff Returns (ypr) 21.38 (61st) 18.29 (112th)
Opponent Punt Returns (ypr) 8.22 (68th) 8.47 (70th)
Opponent Kickoff Returns (ypr) 23.77 (108th) 20.75 (55th)
Punting (ypp) 40.08 (94th) 42.51 (43rd)
Field Goal % 68.8% (84th) 82.4% (28th)
Opponent Field Goal % 76.9% (75th) 72.7% (60th)
First Downs (per game) 21.2 (60th) 19.4 (89th)
Opponent First Downs (per game) 15.7 (10th) 20.2 (61st)
Penalties (ypg) 63.9 (95th) 58.6 (78th)
Turnover Margin (season) EVEN (73rd) -10 (116th)
Time of Possession 30:44.22 (52nd) 32:15.11 (25th)
Sacks (per game) 2.89 (15th) 1.78 (82nd)
Sacks Allowed (per game) 3.78 (127th) 1.89 (55th)
Tackles for Loss (per game) 7.33 (25th) 6.22 (57th)
Tackles for Loss Allowed (per game) 7.78 (114th) 5.89 (57th)
Interceptions (season) 15 (3rd) 2 (124th)
Passes Defended (per game) 4.89 (36th) 2.67 (118th)
Fumbles Recovered (season) 6 (52nd) 7 (30th)
Fumbles Forced (season) 9 (34th) 11 (15th)
Fumbles Lost (season) 10 (115th) 4 (26th)
Kicks/Punts Blocked (season) 0 (last) 0 (last)
3rd Down Conversions (%) 38.64% (78th) 42.19 (44th)
Opponent 3rd Down Conversions (%) 32.84% (28th) 37.61% (63rd)
4th Down Conversions (%) 63.64% (32nd) 44.44% (89th)
Opponent 4th Down Conversions (%) 38.46% (29th) 42.86% (39th)
Red Zone Conversions (%) 78.05% (102nd) 92.00% (10th)
Opponent Red Zone Conversions (%) 89.47% (109th) 78.38% (32nd)
RedZone TD Conversions (%) 53.66% (97th) 48.00% (112th)
Opponent Red Zone TD Conversions (%) 52.63% (39th) 45.95% (20th)
Kickoffs (ypk) 62.69 (41st) 63.20 (23rd)
Plays 641 (67th) 614 (93rd)
Yards Per Play 5.63 (60th) 5.39 (92nd)

Louisville Offense vs. Virginia Defense

Louisville’s offense exploded last Saturday vs. a below average defense in Syracuse.  Statistically, Virginia’s defense is in the same stratosphere but with a slightly tougher strength of schedule.

Kyle Bolin will get the start for the Cards, but Quarterbacks Lamar Jackson & Reggie Bonnafon are expected to be available vs. the Cavaliers. How Petrino elects to utilize everyone will be interesting.  Will Reggie be used at Running Back as he has been used throughout the past few weeks?  Will Lamar get situational series? How short is Kyle’s leash?

No matter what happens at the QB position one thing really was easy to see on Saturday:  Louisville’s Running Game can really be a weapon when the Quarterback can get under Center.  Brandon Radcliff, Jeremy Smith, and LJ Scott were all newly found weapons in an offense that needed a spark.  Sure it was against Syracuse and Lamar Jackson probably would have had a big game vs. the Orange as well, but getting the Running Backs involved is a big deal for Louisville.

Moving over to Virginia, Louisville will be going against a defense that is much different than it was a year ago.  A year ago, Virginia was a physical, tough and stubborn defense.  This year the Hoos give up a ton of points and yards…mostly through the air.

So Kyle Bolin will get the nod and you can bet that Petrino will try and keep a balanced attack against UVA to keep that defense on its heels.  Bolin needs to do a better job on 3rd down while passing, he’s converted 0 of 16 attempts while passing on 3rd down in 2015.  The good news is that Virginia is 63rd in allowing opponent 3rd downs.

One thing that stands out comparing last year’s UVA team to this year’s are the interceptions.  Last year Virginia was #23 with 15 INTs, this year Virginia is last in getting INTs having notched just two on the season.

It will be interesting to see if the Cards can run the ball on the Cavs.  UVA hasn’t been awesome stopping the run but they haven’t been poor either.  If Louisville can continue (or even build on) its rushing effort from a week earlier with its running then the Cards may have really developed an entire new phase of its offense, something that can be huge moving into the last 25% of the regular season.

This is a game to get everyone involved.  Virginia’s defense is best attacked by doing multiple things.  Running, Play-Action, Short Passes, Intermediate, Hitting the Backs, Hitting the Tight End, and just basically spreading the ball around.  Because this is also Petrino’s style I expect the Cards to have a successful day.

Last year Louisville was bullied by a tough Virginia Defense, the Cavs batted balls down, they created turnovers and just overall asserted their will over the Louisville Offense.  I don’t expect that type of performance again, if Louisville protects the ball the Cards can have a big day.

Virginia Offense vs. Louisville Defense

Last year Louisville’s Defense really did a great job against Virginia.  The Cardinal D was continually put in a bad position by its offense and the Cavaliers didn’t have to travel far offensively in order to beat UofL.

Virginia’s Offense is really heavily dependent on the screen game and attempting to run the football.  UVA rarely goes downfield or exposes QB Matt Johns very long for him to take a sack or to make a mistake.  And despite that Johns has thrown 14 Interceptions during 2015 and he’ll be going against a Louisville team that is #3 in the country at getting interceptions (#1 a year ago).

Johns mobility really hurts him against this Louisville defense who has shown the ability to flush quarterbacks out of the pocket and disrupt an offenses’ flow.  Louisville’s front 7 really should set the tone here and turnovers will be ripe for the picking.  Trumaine Washington has created two defensive touchdowns (forced fumble returned by Sheldon Rankins vs. BC & his pick 6 vs. Syracuse) and that sort of thing can certainly happen again in this match-up for the Cards.

Louisville Football is the #11 rush defense in the country.  Virginia is 106th running the football.  That’s a bad recipe.  Taquan Mizzell is the main back here and he’s having just as much trouble finding room to run in this UVA offense as a great back like Kevin Parks did a year ago.  There just isn’t much there.  So Virginia has been trying to get something going by throwing to Mizzell out of the backfield.  Taquan is 1st on the team in receptions and 2nd in reception yards.  So the entire offense really focuses on Mizzell…….and you can expect for Keith Kelsey & James Burgess to have a big day.  If Virginia decides to stretch Mizzell wider then Trumaine Washington and Shaq Wiggins will feel the pressure.

Canaan Severin is a 6’2, 205 lbs wide receiver who leads the team in receiving yards with 583 and 2nd in catches with 42.  But the next player other than Severin or Mizzell in receptions?  TJ Thorpe with 14 hauls on the season.  So there isn’t a lot of balance here at UVA in their offense.

No balance and it’s really an immobile QB a running back that is forced the ball on the ground and through the air, and one main threat at Wide Receiver. Louisville has been a Top 25 Louisville Defense for the last 6 seasons and thus, this is a recipe for disaster for Virginia.

I expect for the Louisville Defense to GO OFF in this game.  No less than 3 turnovers and another sub 300 yard offensive performance for a Louisville opponent.

Pre-Game Videos

2014 Louisville vs. Virginia Full Game

THANK YOU SENIORS!

I thought it was appropriate that a special ‘Thank You” section be made for the University of Louisville’s departing seniors that we will say good bye to prior to Saturday’s game vs. Virginia.  There is plenty left in the season, but this will be the final time we get to see this group play at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

This group has 3 regular season games remaining in their career (and hopefully a bowl), but here are their accolades:

11-2, 12-1, 9-4, 5-4

37-11 Overall (77.1%) with 3 games, potentially 4 to go. 

3 Governor’s Cups (1 to go)

3 Bowl Appearances (4th is upcoming?)

2 Bowl Wins (1 bowl to go?)

3 Top AP Top 25 Finishes (1 to go?)

James Burgess

From Homestead Senior High School (Homestead, FL) and enrolled during January 2012 James Burgess has been OUTSTANDING.  Hard hitter on the field and a soft heart off the field. Burgess has made time for various community organizations during his career at UofL volunteering his time and speaking to youth organizations.  Fans will remember his hard-hitting & reliable style to go along with outstanding coverage skills.

James as a true freshman intercepted Gary Nova to set up a John Wallace field goal that was the final margin to win the Big East Title and send the Cards to the Sugar Bowl in 2012.  He’s finished 3rd on the team in tackles as a sophomore and junior and currently is 2nd on the squad.  With Burgess at Linebacker the Cards have enjoyed great success and we wish him the very best to close the 2015 and onward.

Sheldon Rankins

From Eastside High School in Covington, GA signed with the 2012 class Sheldon Rankins might be Louisville’s most technically great football player.  He can play inside and outside, but no matter where he lines up he’s been extremely disruptive.  Sheldon struggled with injuries as a freshman and sophomore which limited his contribution in those seasons, but he still managed a sack in the Sugar Bowl vs. Florida.  Rankins broke out and became one of Louisville’s most dominant players as a junior in 2014.

Sheldon is possibly Louisville’s best pro prospect in this senior class and his versatility on the defensive line will be a huge asset to an NFL team.  Rankins has been a huge asset to the Cards on and off the field as well and is a great example of a person who leads by example, has the respect of his teammates and has been a wonderful ambassador of the Louisville Football program.

John Wallace

From Central Hardin HS John Wallace is now Louisville’s ALL-Time Career Leader in Made Field Goals having passed Lou Groza Award winner Art Carmody last Saturday vs. Syracuse.  Wallace has been extremely consistent and brings a strong leg as well.

Game winner in Overtime vs. Cincinnati in the rain to win the 2012 Keg of Nails, made a clutch 4th quarter kick vs. Rutgers for the final margin to win the Big East and secure the Sugar Bowl bid.  Made multiple field goals in the Sugar Bowl….ALL AS A FRESHMAN.  From there John has been a reliable asset to the Cardinal’s kicking game.  It’ll be a long time until someone breaks John Wallace’s Field Goal record.

Joshua Appleby

Appleby for Heisman was a thing this year.  It’s his first full-time punting season and he’s been worth the wait.   Appleby from East Limestone High School in Athens, AL has a HUGE leg, but he’s also shown some touch here in 2015.  Once Josh found some consistency he’s been a major weapon defensively for the Cards.

Pio Vatuvei

From Patterson High School in San Mateo, CA Pio Vatuvei came to Louisville by way of the Washington Huskies and then San Mateo Community College.

Pio has played with an extremely high motor during his 2 year career for the Cards and has greatly contributed to Louisville’s defensive efforts over the past two years.  Currently with 18 tackles, Pio has hopefully 4 games left to make his mark with the Cards.  It was too fast Pio.

Aaron Epps

From Tucker HS in Georgia, Aaron Epps has been in the Louisville Football program for a long time.  Epps came in always with the intention to play offensive line but his size (he was 6’7, 245) forced Charlie Strong to place him at tight end and wait for him to put on weight.

Aaron played mostly on just special teams until last season when the coaching staff turned to him at Tackle and Epps’ presence stabilized an offensive line in the latter half of the season and was subsequently named a captain for 2015.  This season, Aaron was a starter to begin the season before finding himself in a reserve role.  But his attitude and leadership allowed him to play outstanding last week vs. Syracuse.

Epps has been a fantastic addition to the Cardinal football program

Corvin Lamb

From Northwestern High School, Corvin Lamb’s last impression from Cardinal fans will be his kickoff return for a Touchdown.  Corvin’s speed has always been tantalizing for UofL fans but unfortunately Lamb was just never healthy for a long period of time.

One thing from Lamb’s career that has been overlooked was his clutch play in the Sugar Bowl. Hopefully Lambo can get a break away in Louisville’s last 4 games of 2015.  No one deserves it more.

Jermaine Reve

From Miami Northwestern, Jermaine Reve has been an extremely steady player for the Cards.  Reve has played a great deal of nickel during his time at UofL but has also logged a great deal of time at the safety position as well.

Perhaps his best play came as a freshman in the Sugar Bowl with an endzone pass break-up Florida Tight End Jordan Reed who would become a 1st round pick later that same April.  Reve has been a key component over the last 4 years, he’s made some big plays for the Cards.

TC Klusman

T.C. is walking on Saturday as a RS-Junior.  Klusman came to Louisville from Cincinnati Elder H.S.  and after redshirting as a freshman appeared in all 13 games during the 2013 season, mainly on special teams.  Klusman started a few games this season at Center and has been Louisville’s #1 Depth Chart Center at various points during his career.

Kelby Johnson

Actually played his first two seasons at Virginia and came to the Cards by way of ASA College after his stint at UVA and attended DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland.  Kelby has provided two seasons of depth for the Cards along the offensive line.

Kevin Houchins

From Brush H.S. in South Euclid, OH Kevin is walking as a RS-Junior.  Kevin has primarily been a special teams contributor during his career.

The Walk-Ons

George Clements, Darius Skinner, Aaron Ahner, Royce Donovan and Jon Brown.  

Any walk-on that walks on Senior Day should have fans’ ultimate respect.  Walk-ons are not afford the same level of comforts or opportunities of scholarship players.  Its rare for someone to get through all that comes with college football and exhaust their eligibility.  As such, George Clements is one of the fastest players in the Louisville Football program.  Darius Skinner has looked like a capable back in practice and during Spring Drills.  Royce Donovan is walking Saturday as a redshirt-Junior. Aaron Ahner has cracked the 2-deep during various Springs, and Jon Brown handled some kickoff duties early in 2014.

No team ever did anything worth mentioning without the help from its walk-ons.  Major tip of the cap to these guys.

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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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