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Louisville Looks to Get Back on Track, UCF Takes On Winless UConn

Last week, #18 Louisville (6-1, 2-1) lost some of its luster after its 38-35 loss against #21 UCF (5-1, 2-0). This week, they’ll look to regain it against the lowly USF (2-4, 2-0).

With the blemish on its record, the Cardinals don’t believe their season has come to an end but it’s going to be a little more challenging than expected. Now they’ll look to the teams above them to have some missteps (see Houston and UCF) to get to the American Athletic Conference championship and an automatic BCS bowl berth.

Louisville head coach Charlie Strong said of the season via the Associated Press, “We still have a chance to end up with an outstanding season and end up the way you want it.”

Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater

Fortunately, Louisville’s schedule continues to be on its side as they’ll play South Florida this week, followed by Connecticut (0-6,0-2)  on Nov. 8. But there can’t be any additional surprise losses. And for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, his Heisman dreams may be gone as he’s no longer in Bovada’s five-player odds race but he’ll still try to protect his draft stock.

This week against USF, the Cardinals will face a team returning from its bye week. In its last game, they defeated UConn, 13-10 and earlier in the season, they defeated Cincinnati (5-2, 2-1). This came without an offensive touchdown but instead returning fumbles all the way to the end zone to get points.

It’s been a rebuilding year for USF as they have new coach Willie Taggert. The defense has fared better than the offense (only six touchdowns to date) as it is ranked No. 4 for the conference (360.5 yards each game). Fortunately the team has a good kicker, Marvin Kloss, who is nine for 10 in field goals with a long of 52 yards. He is No. 6 in the AAC with 37 points scored.

Louisville should be able to capitalize on this transitioning team but they’ll need its defense to show up. Last week in the second half, the team watched UCF rally from behind by 21 points but on weak defensive play.

Louisville had been ranked No. 3 in the nation for sacks, but versus UCF they had none and they watched them convert 5 of 11 for third downs.

In 2012, the Cardinals won ugly against USF, 27-25, but for this year, it will be a decisive victory (-20.5, 46.5 o/u).

UCF vs. UConn

In other AAC action on Saturday, UCF will take on Connecticut–nothing like going from the top of the conference to the bottom in just one week.

Blake Bortles

Blake Bortles

But for UCF, expectations have now risen for them with their new AP (No. 21) and USA Today (No. 25) rankings. This represents the team’s first one since 2010’s final polls.

With its 5-1, 2-0 AAC record, UCF sits at the top of the conference for the at-large BCS berth and looking at its schedule, it bodes well to capture it after getting past Houston (5-1, 2-0) on Nov. 9. Then, it could be smooth sailing (Temple, Rutgers, South Florida and SMU).

The Knights are a young team (No. 2 in the country) as they only have eight senior players but their junior class leadership has shown up including quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Storm Johnson. Both were integral parts in last week’s win against Louisville.

For UConn, last Saturday was less memorable for them in its 41-16 loss to Cincinnati. For the game, they only had 156 yards and quicky lagged behind at 34-3.

Not helping matters is green freshman quarterback Tim Boyle. Playing under start No. 2, Boyle was constantly pressured and threw a first-half pick that really assisted Cincinnati in taking control. For the game, Boyle went 22 of 39 for 310 yards with three picks.

Yep, in his two games, he’s yet to throw a touchdown.

This is the first meeting between these two teams and UCF will get a big win (-24, 52.5 o/u).


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