Louisville vs. Rutgers always seems like a tight game.  The Scarlet Knights lead the All-Time Series 5-7 dating back to 1976 and the last two meetings have been decided by a total of 5 points.  The Cards have won the last 4 contests between the two schools and the Cards are 3-0 against Rutgers under Charlie Strong.

Card fans are still lamenting the loss to Rutgers in November 2006.  Some call it the William Gay offsides game.  Others call it the Brohm meltdown.  But we all remember Jeremy Ito’s point to the camera after hitting the game winner and the ensuing field rush locking up a 28-25 victory and putting a nail in the coffin of Louisville’s National Title hopes.  The Cards settled for an Orange Bowl in 2006, but that season remains the closest the Cardinals have come to having a shot at College Football’s grandest prize.

DJ K Dogg Rutgers Tailgate Mix

Last Year

You can read my FULL Review from last year’s game including all of the post-game interviews I conducted by clicking THIS LINK.

But I think VIDEO might be the way to really tell the story and refresh your memory.

Easily this was probably the most emotional night of Louisville Football that I can ever remember.

I left Louisville on Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 around 4:00 a.m. with my dad and InsidetheVille’s (at the time) Chris Hatfield.  The night before we knew the ACC had an announcement coming, around 2:00 a.m. everyone basically knew that the Cards were to receive an invite into the Atlantic Coast Conference.  It was a restless night of sleep with excitement about the conference future, excitement about the trip to New Jersey, worry about Teddy Bridgewater’s wrist & ankle, a BCS bid and a conference championship on the line. On the road.

Sharing this with my father & Chris, being there in person & having the perspective we had was priceless. I’ll never forget it.  I’m so happy to have had the chance to share these videos with you, as I am with all of our presentations.  But this night was truly special.  Let’s revisit.

CrumsRevenge: Cards Beat Rutgers, BCS Bound

Some of his finest work. @CrumsRevenge recaps last year’s 20-17 win over Rutgers in Piscataway, NJ. The Cards won the Big East Conference (and will forever reign as the Big East Champion) and clinched the BCS Bid.  It was an emotional game, Teddy Bridgewater did not go through a full warm-up, Will Stein started the game, two missed tackles led to long scores for the Scarlet Knights and the Cards trailed 14-3 at halftime.

Louisville prevailed, and @CrumsRevenge does an incredible job of telling the story and capturing the enthusiasm in post-game.

FB: Cards defeat Rutgers, BCS Bound from @CrumsRevenge on Vimeo.

Teddy Bridgewater & Shawn Watson EMBRACE: “That Was So Awesome!”

This video was actually filmed by Chris Hatfield.  It was his first experience using a camera covering football. So I’d say he has a pretty good average.  I’ll have to tell the entire story one day.

Raw VIDEO Post-Game Celebration

We ran two different cameras during the post-game scene. We split up and tried to get as much of the emotion as we could.  The only thing I really regret is that there isn’t any video inside the locker room. Our access didn’t permit us in those areas, but man, we had enough.  What a great night.

Statistical Comparison

Louisville Rutgers
Scoring Offense (ppg) 44.4 (11th) 40.0 (22nd)
Total Offense (ypg) 514.2 (18th) 422.8 (56th)
Passing Offense (ypg) 333.0 (13th) 243.2 (60th)
Rushing Offense (ypg) 181.2 (58th) 179.6 (60th)
Scoring Defense (ppg) 6.8 (1st) 27.6 (72nd)
Total Defense (ypg) 227.4 (3rd) 376.8 (51st)
Passing Defense (ypg) 147.8 (4th) 306.2 (118th)
Rushing Defense (ypg) 79.6 (4th) 70.60 (3rd)
First Downs (per game) 23.0 (44th) 19.8 (83rd)
Opponent First Downs (per game) 11.4 (1st) 19.4 (51st)
Turnover Margin (season) +7 (7th) -1 (79th)
Time of Possession 32:33.2 (22nd) 30:10.2 (57th)
Sacks (per game) 3.0 (14th) 3.0 (14th)
Sacks Allowed (per game) 1.0 (18th) 2.8 (103rd)
Tackles for Loss (per game) 9.2 (4th) 7.40 (20th)
Tackles for Loss Allowed (per game) 4.0 (10th) 5.8 (64th)
Interceptions (season) 4 (79th) 3 (97th)
Passes Defended (per game) 5.0 (43rd) 5.8 (26th)
Fumbles Recovered (season) 5 (26th) 4 (36th)
Fumbles Forced (season) 8 (7th) 6 (27th)
Fumbles Lost (season) 1 (1st) 4 (69th)
3rd Down Conversions (%) 62.50% (1st) 36.00% (88th)
Opponent 3rd Down Conversions (%) 24.24% (4th) 28.74% (15th)
Red Zone Conversions (%) 96.15% (7th) 86.36% (49th)
Opponent Red Zone Conversions (%) 54.55% (3rd) 86.67% (84th)
Field Goal % 90% (23rd) 50% (108th)
Opponent Field Goal % 40% (7th) 66.7% (41st)
Punt Returns (ypr) 12.54 (28th) 5.44 (91st)
Kickoff Returns (ypr) 25.89 (15th) 32.45 (3rd)
Opponent Punt Returns (ypr) 2.80 (14th) 7.44 (65th)
Opponent Kickoff Returns (ypr) 24.15 (103rd) 17.96 (14th)
Punting (ypp) 42.46 (39th) 39.90 (93rd)
Kicks/Punts Blocked (season) 1 (28th) 1 (28th)
Penalties (ypg) 50.4 (68th) 63.6 (107th)

Louisville Offense vs. Rutgers Defense

To date, Rutgers would be the 2nd best defense (statistically) that the Cardinals will face in 2013.  Ohio allows 6 fewer yards per game than Rutgers and we’ll see if that holds over the course of the season.  UofL was its most productive against the Bobcats amassing 615 yards, and has totaled more yards than each of their opponents’ averages throughout the season.  Rutgers, however, is a bit back and forth having allowed over 500 yards twice to Fresno State & SMU.  The SMU totals are somewhat skewed because it was a 3 OT game, and the Mustangs added 56 yards to their total.

Rutgers is EXCELLENT against the run, led by freshman linebacker Steve Longa (6-1, 220) who leads the Scarlet Knights in Tackles with 50, including 4 TFLs, 3 sacks, and two forced fumbles.  RU is 3rd in the nation against the run allowing just 70.60 yards per game (3rd in the nation) and also have 6 players with 3+ TFLs on the season.

Rutgers is vulnerable through the air and are one of the Bottom 10 teams in the nation defending the pass allowing 306.2 yards per game ranking 118th (of 125) in pass defense.  Rutgers was a Top 10 defense last year and lost some key personnel to graduation and the NFL that has resulted in their dip to 51st currently in Total Defense.

Louisville should be primed to pounce on Rutgers struggling secondary.  Louisville’s deliberate style still has the Cards sitting inside the Top 25 in nearly every offensive category.  I don’t expect UofL to run the ball much against Rutgers, but they also shouldn’t have to with Teddy Bridgewater finding plenty of space for his receivers.

Even if DeVante Parker doesn’t play (as expected) the Louisville receiving corps is full of talent.  The biggest challenge will be on 3rd Down.  Louisville has been AWESOME on “money downs”, but so has Rutgers.  Allowing just 28.74% of 3rd down attempts. Who wins on 3rd down will have a HUGE impact on this game.

Louisville Offense Trends

Total Defense Louisville Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg Allowed
Ohio 370.2 615 244.8 166.13%
Kentucky 391.2 492 100.8 125.77%
FIU 418.6 464 45.4 110.85%
Temple 518 525 7 101.35%

Rutgers Defense Trends

Total Offense Rutgers Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg Allowed
Fresno St. 538 537 -1 99.81%
Eastern Mich 336.2 373 36.8 110.95%
Arkansas 391.3 283 -108.3 72.32%
SMU 447 558 111 124.83%

Rutgers Offense vs. Louisville Defense

In 2012 Rutgers was a BAD offensive team finishing 107th in Total Offense with just 329.9 yards per game.  This year RU is 56th with 422.8 yards per game.  The difference is QB Gary Nova (6-2, 220, Jr.) who has blossomed over the off-season.

Nova has 5 main targets:  WRs Leonte Carroo (6-1, 200, Soph), Brandon Coleman (6-6, 220, Sr.),  Quron Pratt (6-0, 190, Sr), and Ruhann Peele (6-1, 185, Fr). Tight End Tyler Kroft (6-6, 240, Jr.) is actually the 2nd leading receiver for Rutgers 14 catches, 224 yards, and 2 TDs.  But Leonte Carroo is BY FAR Gary Nova’s most dangerous weapon in the passing game.  Carroo has 14 catches for 291 yards and SEVEN TOUCHDOWNS (DeVante Parker has just 6 TDs on 21 catches by comparison).

The Scarlet Knights are without their #1 Running Back Paul James (6-0, 210, Jr) who has been outstanding in 2013.  James will miss the 2nd game in a row, and the Scarlet Knights will fill the void with Justin Goodwin (6-0, 180, Fr) and Savon Huggins (6-0, 200, Jr.) who are both very capable.  Goodwin should get the heavier load and is fresh off a 24 carry, 149 yard performance vs. SMU.

Louisville’s defense has been OUTSTANDING in 2013 and currently ranks in the Top 5 in Scoring, Total, Passing, and Rushing Defense. Rutgers will be the best offense the Cards have played all season as they average 422.8 yards per game (about 34 yards better than what Kentucky averaged).  Rutgers has struggled on 3rd down, while the Cards have thrived.

I don’t expect Rutgers to be able to run the ball and while Gary Nova is emerging he still has a high rate of incompletions that should help the Cards get RU off schedule and off the field.  One thing we can’t measure with stats…..Nova is CLUTCH.  His numbers are better than a year ago, but they don’t jump off the page.  Gary Nova however, is extremely good when it matters.  Louisville will be tested through the air against the Scarlet Knights.

Right now the Cards are hurting a bit.  Deiontrez Mount is OUT for the game, Keith Brown is doubtful, Jamaine Brooks & DeAngelo Brown are not expected to suit up, Lorenzo Mauldin missed a few snaps vs. Temple, Terrell Floyd has been dealing with a foot injury all season and the short week will not help the Cards in this regard.

Rutgers Offense 

Total Defense Rutgers Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg Allowed
Fresno St. 444.8 543 98.2 122.08%
Eastern Mich 445.4 274 -171.4 61.52%
Arkansas 339.5 400 60.5 117.82%
SMU 445.8 474 28.2 106.33%

Louisville Defense

Total Offense Louisville Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg Allowed
Ohio 381.2 273 -108.2 71.62%
Kentucky 388.8 376 -12.8 96.71%
FIU 188.2 30 -158.2 15.94%
Temple 342.4 255 -87.4 74.47%

My Prediction

Last year I nailed the final score perfectly.  It was an easy to figure game.  Two great defenses, Louisville on the road with a slowed Teddy Bridgewater.  This season……….I honestly can’t figure out exactly how this game will play out.

Louisville should be able to move the ball. But can Rutgers?  If Louisville prevents the big play I do think it will be difficult for the Scarlet Knights to sustain drives making it difficult for RU to keep up with UofL.  But the Cards didn’t exactly set the world on fire in the 2nd half without DeVante Parker.

The weather will be perfect, the crowd will provide an incredible atmosphere and I think the Cards are ready to showcase this program on a national stage with a captive audience.  If Teddy Bridgewater is going to win the Heisman, if the Cards are going to win over the hearts of the nation, if there is any chance at all of a national championship, Louisville MUST execute Thursday night at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

I think the Cards are up to the task.  I think they make a statement.

Louisville 38, Rutgers 13

Attending, Listening, Watching

-The Game is Sold Out but Tickets can be found on the secondary market http://www.stubhub.com/louisville-football-tickets/louisville-vs-rutgers-10-10-2013-4252797/

-CardMarch is at 5:15

-You can listen to the game on Nelligan Sports Radio, locally 840 WHAS with Paul Rogers on the play-by-play, Craig Swabek providing color, and Doug Ormay reporting from the sideline.

-XM & Sirius Channels 91

-RU vs. UofL will be broadcast on ESPN with Rece Davis doing the play-by-play, David Pollack & Jesse Palmer providing color, and Samantha Ponder on the sideline.

Game Week Interviews

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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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