Preview: Louisville at West Virginia
By Douglas Kroll
The #19 Louisville Cardinals travel to Morgantown, WV on Saturday to face off against the #25 (coaches and Harris polls) West Virginia Mountaineers. This will mark the first time the teams face each other as Big East rivals, with West Virginia leading the all-time series 5-1. The lone Louisville win was in 1990, in Morgantown, when they won 9-7.
Louisville has gotten back on track after their shocking loss to South Florida a couple of weeks ago. They dismantled both FAU and North Carolina, scoring 61 points and 69 points respectively.
The Cardinals great offensive attack begins with sophomore Brian Brohm. He has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 1522 yards and 10 touchdowns so far. That is about 305 yards per game for the Lexington, KY native.
A redshirt freshman by the name of Mario Urrutia has been receiving a lot of Brohms passes. Urrutia is averaging 104 yards per game and has four touchdown catches on the season.
The Cardinals are led on the ground by junior running back Michael Bush, who has gained 527 yards in the teams first five games. Bush has also tacked on 11 touchdowns which is good enough to lead the nation in scoring.
Even with all of the offensive fire power, perhaps the scariest guy on the team resides on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive end Elvis Dumervil has been a terror for every offense the Cardinals have faced. Dumervil leads the team in tackles with 35, sacks with 15 (leads the nation), and tackles for loss with 16. His gaudy numbers dont stop there. The Miami native has also forced seven fumbles, which is one short of the record for a whole season. These numbers would be impressive for an entire year, let alone in the first five games.
The Mountaineers are fresh off a 27-14 win at Rutgers last weekend. WVUs only loss came at the hands of the #3 team in the nation, the Hokies of Virginia Tech.
As a team, West Virginia likes to move the ball on the ground, with the team averaging 221 yards by handing the ball off to what has been a variety of different players that have run the ball this season. Four running backs have gained 100 yards so far this year, with Steve Slaton leading the way with 271 yards including 139 against Rutgers.
At quarterback, the Mountaineers feature both sophomore Adam Bednarik and freshman Pat White. Bednarik is completing 80 percent of his throws, while White is averaging 5.6 yards per carry when he decides to run. The two could provide a dynamic offensive threat against a very good Louisville defense. Senior wide receiver Brandon Myles has caught 21 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns so far on the campaign.
In the eyes of the Cardinals, this game has become a must-win as West Virginia has started the year 2-0 in Big East play. Since Louisville dropped its first game in conference play to South Florida, they currently trail the Mountaineers by 1.5 games in the standings. A loss Saturday would certainly be a crushing blow to Louisvilles chances of getting to a BCS bowl in the teams first year in their new conference.
Kickoff is set for 3:30 eastern on ABC.
Douglas Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.