Currently Louisville owns the most recent win over every school playing FBS football in the state of Florida.  On Friday Night the Cards put that honor on the line against Central Florida.

The Cards have played UCF just once:  November 2, 1985 when UofL beat the Knights (then 1-AA, now the FCS division) 42-21 at Old Cardinal Stadium in front of 21,391 fans.

Now UCF is a bit of a noveau riche program within College Football and the Knights really remind me of what Louisville Football looked like in the early 2000s.  Lots of potential, little history, and a chip on their shoulder.  It’s a dangerous combination.  Central Florida is loaded with talent and their offense is extremely experienced.

George O’Leary is a good coach who was hired by Notre Dame after a successful tenure at Georgia Tech.  Inaccuracies in his bio were allowed to remain during his ascent up the coaching rankings, claiming he had a master’s degree from a school that didn’t (& never did) exist.  False resume or not, George O’Leary is a good football coach and the fact that he didn’t have to endure the winters in South Bend, IN in favor of those in Orlando, FL are truly a blessing for him.  Still, I imagine Coach O’Leary could have done without the embarrassment.

VIDEO Interviews Previewing the Game: 

Statistical Comparison

Louisville UCF
Scoring Offense (ppg) 41.0 (16th) 31.8 (50th)
Total Offense (ypg) 505.3 (16th) 414.0 (66th)
Passing Offense (ypg) 329.2 (14th) 270.0 (37th)
Rushing Offense (ypg) 176.17 (59th) 144.00 (90th)
Scoring Defense (ppg) 7.3 (1st) 16.6 (11th)
Total Defense (ypg) 229.5 (2nd) 353.0 (32nd)
Passing Defense (ypg) 161.2 (5th) 212.8 (42nd)
Rushing Defense (ypg) 68.33 (2nd) 140.20 (39th)
First Downs (per game) 23.3 (40th) 19.0 (93rd)
Opponent First Downs (per game) 12.0 (1st) 19.4 (48th)
Turnover Margin (season) +8 (8th) +7 (11th)
Time of Possession 32:39.67 (18th) 30:59.00 (44th)
Sacks (per game) 3.83 (3rd) 2.00 (53rd)
Sacks Allowed (per game) 1.17 (23rd) 1.6 (53rd)
Tackles for Loss (per game) 9.5 (3rd) 7.0 (22nd)
Tackles for Loss Allowed (per game) 4.0 (10th) 4.4 (21st)
Interceptions (season) 8 (21st) 5 (77th)
Passes Defended (per game) 5.17 (36th) 4.2 (77th)
Fumbles Recovered (season) 5 (34th) 7 (11th)
Fumbles Forced (season) 8 (13th) 5 (55th)
Fumbles Lost (season) 3 (30th) 1 (1st)
3rd Down Conversions (%) 63.64% (1st) 50.79% (14th)
Opponent 3rd Down Conversions (%) 24.05% (3rd) 38.36% (56th)
Red Zone Conversions (%) 90.32% (24th) 95.24% (10th)
Opponent Red Zone Conversions (%) 57.14% (2nd) 66.67% (7th)
Field Goal % 76.9 (53rd) 85.7% (26th)
Opponent Field Goal % 50.0% (11th) 50.0% (11th)
Punt Returns (ypr) 5.44 (90th) 14.80 (14th)
Kickoff Returns (ypr) 26.36 (13th) 19.83 (93rd)
Opponent Punt Returns (ypr) 2.80 (12th) 3.78 (21st)
Opponent Kickoff Returns (ypr) 21.70 (74th) 22.06 (78th)
Punting (ypp) 41.71 (55th) 42.05 (50th)
Kicks/Punts Blocked (season) 1 (37th) 0
Penalties (ypg) 53.7 (76th) 40.6 (31st)

Offense vs. Defense Match-Ups

This off-season much of the hype was surrounding the Cardinal offense.  But the story of 2013 has been the Louisville DEFENSE.  The Cards absolutely SHUTDOWN Rutgers on Thursday night as they have throughout the season.  UofL is currently the #1 Scoring Defense & #2 Total Defense in the nation.

The Cards worst defense performance of the season was against Kentucky when the Cats were able to gain 376 yards.  Other than that performance the Cards have held every other opponent well below their average.  UCF has three separate 400+ yard performances on the season, but there really isn’t a statistical trend against opponents.  UCF is a mid-pack offensive team that has played really well in big games against Penn State & South Carolina.

The real thing to watch here will be 3rd down & the Redzone.  Louisville is 3rd in the nation at preventing 3rd down, while the Knights are 14th in the country at converting on the ‘money down’.  The same is true in the Red Zone as Central Florida is 10th in the nation, while the Cards are 2nd in the nation at preventing scores.  UCF does not turn the ball over at a high rate at all so if the Cards can improve their +8 turnover margin that would be a major feat.

Louisville Defensive Trends

Total Offense Louisville Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg Allowed
Ohio 390.8 273 -117.8 69.86%
Kentucky 352.3 376 23.7 106.73%
FIU 222.8 30 -192.8 13.46%
Temple 348 255 -93 73.28%
Rutgers 392.3 240 -152.3 61.18%

UCF Offensive Trends

Total Defense UCF Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg Allowed
Akron 430.9 476 45.1 110.47%
FIU 416.3 390 -26.3 93.68%
Penn St 335.8 507 171.2 150.98%
South Carolina 345.5 427 81.5 123.59%
Memphis 305.2 270 -35.2 88.47%

Offensively the Cards also extremely effective at Scoring, Gaining Yards, and Through the Air. But UofL has not been overly effective on the ground. The Knights are VERY solid on defense and are 11th in Scoring & 32nd in Total Defense. The Knights though have allowed about what their opponent typically gains in their last 3 games.

Louisville has outpaced their opponents average allowed yardage in every game.  But Louisville will need to be very sharp in the RedZone against the #7 Red Zone team in the nation.

Teddy Bridgewater must play at a high level, but the Cards will need balance in this game to maintain space on the ground and through the air.  South Carolina had no luck in the 1st half against UCF, but broke the game open with big gains on the ground in the 2nd half.

UCF Defensive Trends

Total Offense UCF Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg Allowed
Akron 329.1 250 -79.1 75.96%
FIU 222.8 173 -49.8 77.65%
Penn St 440.8 455 14.2 103.22%
South Carolina 486.5 490 3.5 100.72%
Memphis 367.6 397 29.4 108.00%

Louisville Offensive Trends

Total Defense Louisville Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg Allowed
Ohio 380.5 615 234.5 161.63%
Kentucky 437.3 492 54.7 112.51%
FIU 416.3 464 47.7 111.46%
Temple 510.8 525 14.2 102.78%
Rutgers 390.8 461 70.2 117.96%

My Prediction

I think this is a bad match-up for Louisville.  There are certain teams that Louisville made to beat. And there are certain types of teams that will give the Cards trouble.  Central Florida has a very good QB in Blake Bortles and this team seems to rise up to big occasions.  Louisville has risen to the challenge when given the opportunity as well so I expect this game to be very well-matched.

The atmosphere last Thursday vs. Rutgers was fantastic.  This week it should be even better.  I’m not sure the entire fanbase fully understands the gravity of the UCF game or understands how good of a football team the Knight have, BUT, Friday Night on ESPN, a great weather forecast, and this top ten team should be a recipe for a great crowd.  But don’t expect that to rattle Central Florida who went into Beaver Stadium at State College, PA and beat Penn State in front of nearly 100,000 people.

If one team turns the ball over in this game or fails to execute in the Red Zone this game could get away.  But in the end I think Louisville is more equipped to get consistent stops that UCF and that would be the difference in the game.  Central Florida has had a week off, but the Cards got an extra day to get healthy.  There are some personnel questions for the Cards, but in the end I think Teddy Bridgewater and the Louisville offense is locked in, and the Cardinal Defense continues to play lights out.

Louisville 30 UCF 17

Attending, Listening, Watching 

-The game is SOLD OUT, but there are some tickets available on the secondary market at a decent price.

-On 840 WHAS here in Louisville (if power is restored, ha!) the game will be broadcast by Paul Rogers, Craig Swabek and Doug Ormay.

-Sirius & XM Radio Channels 91

-On Television ESPN will broadcast the game with Carter Blackburn, Danny Kannell, and Allison Williams.

-CardMarch is at 5:45


To improve traffic flow into parking areas near Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, adjustments will go into effect beginning with the University of Louisville’s football game against UCF on Friday, Oct. 18.

Card March, where fans greet the UofL team when it walks from its busses to the stadium, will occur at approximately 5:45 p.m.  Following Card March, traffic on Floyd Street will become three lanes of one-way traffic only, south bound from Warnock Street to Boxley Avenue.

Only traffic going to Bronze, Platinum and pay football lots will proceed south on Floyd Street past Warnock Street.  Parking passes to the bronze and platinum lots must be displayed before approaching Floyd Street at Warnock.  Vehicles using pay lots across Floyd Street from the stadium must access those areas from the north and use the designated far left lane.

Officers will be in place to enforce restrictions and aid the flow of traffic.  Once barricades are established at the intersection of Floyd and Central Avenue, only vehicles with Bronze or Platinum S Parking passes are allowed on Central Avenue west.

The exit traffic plan for Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium will remain the same.

Louisville to #WearRed for 100th Game at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium

The Cardinals will mark the stadium milestone by encouraging fans to #WearRED Friday night versus UCF.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville football team is celebrating a milestone in a fashionable way – and it wants fans to help.

Fans are encouraged to match the players by wearing all red for the Cardinals’ homecoming game against UCF at 8 p.m. on Friday night. The color should stand out, too, in front of a national audience on ESPN as Louisville’s Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium marks its 100th game since opening in 1998.

Louisville junior defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin made the announcement via video message to fans on Monday afternoon, igniting the #WearRED social media campaign.

Fans are encouraged to pick up the latest red Louisville gear from Cardinal Authentic, the official adidas team store of the Cardinals, located near Gate 2 of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

More than 55,000 fans are expected to fill the stadium for the national broadcast on ESPN. Friday night’s game will be the fifth home sell out in five home games this season.

With their sixth victory last on Oct. 10 against Rutgers, the undefeated Cardinals became bowl eligible for the fourth-consecutive season under head coach Charlie Strong. Fans who pre-order four or more bowl tickets by the priority deadline on Oct. 27 will receive a limited edition incentive package, including team gear and free tickets. Complete your pre-order for bowl tickets only at

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

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