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College Football Season
Game Of The Week

Is It In The Cards?

By Douglas Kroll

When the schedule-makers worked up this year’s version, everyone turned their eyes on a couple of key matchups across the nation. One of those is tonight. West Virginia (No. 3 BCS, No. 4 CCR Top 119) takes on Louisville (No. 5 BCS, No. 3 CCR Top 119), in a game that has so much riding on the line, it would take up until kickoff to write about it all.

Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville will be rockin’ and rollin’ in front of a national television audience, for what is the biggest game they have played. Many wanted to call the Miami game earlier this season their biggest, but this has so many more implications.

First let’s talk Big East. The winner will remain undefeated, at 8-0, and have an inside track on a BCS bowl berth (National Championship talk to follow). A win against Rutgers for either team a couple of weeks down the road, would wrap that championship up.

Now, the National Championship talk. With USC losing last week to Oregon State, it opened the door for the Big East duo to move on up the BCS rankings. Since Ohio State and Michigan are 1 and 2 in the rankings right now, and they still need to play each other, that opens the door for a team to slide right into that number two spot, and play for a title.

They have each had tremendous seasons, Louisville perhaps a little surprising considering they lost one of the best running backs in the nation, Michael Bush, to a devastating injury. They were also without their starting quarterback Brian Brohm for a stretch, yet they still continued to win games.

The Cardinals have put up 38.7 points per game, including outscoring opponents 63-7 in the third quarter- an astonishing point differential. With Bush being out, the work has been split between a host of different guys, with Kolby Smith leading the team with six rushing touchdowns and 64.4 ypg. George Stripling and Anthony Allen have also each scored five touchdowns, with Louisville averaging 216.0 rushing yards per contest.

The passing game has struggled, which shouldn’t be surprising with Brohm missing some time. Both Brohm and Hunter Cantwell have played in five games to this point, with Brohm throwing four touchdowns, but also three interceptions. Cantwell stepped in nicely after Brohm was hurt in the Miami game, and has thrown five TD’s while completing nearly 64-percent of his throws. Wide receiver Mario Urrutia has been the favorite receiver, hauling in four touchdown catches.

West Virginia meanwhile has one of the best 1-2 punches of any offense in the nation. Their scrambling QB Pat White, has wrecked havoc on every defense they have faced this season. The Mountaineers hang an average of nearly 41 points per game on their opponents, and 459 yards of offense. White has accounted for 205 yards of that, 88 of them on the ground. He has also found the end zone 15 times, nine of which have come on the ground. The thunder to his lightning is running back Steve Slaton, who has stepped into the spotlight and shined, averaging seven yards per carry, and finding the end zone nine times on the ground.

Last year’s contest between these two powers went three overtimes, before West Virginia stopped Louisville on a two-point conversion, and won 48-46. This has all of the makings of another high-octane performance, that’s if Louisville can keep up with that Mountaineers offense. The speed of which, hasn’t been seen in quite some time.

Dougl Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football


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