Louisville Takes on FIU, SMU to Play the Aggies

For the #7 Louisville Cardinals (3-0), they’ll play their last non-conference game on Saturday against Florida International (0-3)–a team that should not be taken lightly. The Golden Panthers have defeated this team before, as recently as 2011 with a 24-17 win, and they will enter this game with confidence they can do it again.

Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater

Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has struggled against them before and will look to use his running backs to not let this happen for his final meeting against them. In last week’s game in its 27-13 win over Kentucky, 242 yards of rushing encompassed Louisville’s 492 total yards.

This represented its greatest run effort since Oct. 9, 2010’s 299 yards in their 56-0 win against Memphis. Look for running back Senorise Perry to again step it up; last week he had 11 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns while fellow backs Michael Dyer and Dominique Brown amassed 23 carries for 107 yards combined in this game.

Lucky for the Cardinals, the Golden Panthers are undergoing a rebuilding year under new head coach Ron Turner. Yes that Ron Turner of Illinois. He inherited a team with one returning offensive starter. It ranks second to the bottom in the FBS for points per game at 7.7 and so far, they’ve allowed 727 grounds and 38.3 points on average.

Last week in their 34-13 loss to Bethune-Cookman, they gave up 311 rushing yards.

Turner is using this season’s popular two-quarterback system featuring Jake Medlock, the team’s most veteran offensive player, (30 of 55, 303 yards) and E.J. Hilliard (10 for 13, 75 yards). Both can brag about each having one touchdown and one interception.

For this game, Hilliard may be solo as Medlock is recovering from a concussion.

Louisville’s defense will keep an eye on FIU’s wide receiver T.J. Lower, who had six receptions for 125 yards and one touchdown last week.

Bridgewater will look to improve his Heisman odds (13/2) as Louisville gets the win on Saturday (-41.5, 54.5 o/u).

SMU vs. #1o Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel

After last week’s game against #1 Alabama (3-0), the #10 Aggies (2-1) should get a nice break against SMU. For the last two seasons they have owned them. In 2012, quarterback Johnny Manziel threw for 294 yards and ran for 124 while grabbing six touchdowns in a 48-3 victory. In the pre-Manziel era in 2011, team still won, 46-14.

SMU will be rested after its bye week and it will hope its defense shows up as its given up an average of 35.5 points and 419.5 yards in its previous games to Texas Tech and Montana State.

Fortunately its offense is better with quarterback Garrett Gilbert at the helm. They have been averaging 475.5 yards per game and Gilbert, son of former NFLer Gale Gilbert, sits in the fourth FBS spot with his 352.5 passing yards per game. This has come without a pick.

In last year’s game, Gilbert had been sacked four times and went 23 of 49 passes, 203 yards, zero scores and one pick.

Maybe he”ll have some luck this year against Texas A&M’s defense, which has allowed 36.0 points and 489.0 yards per game. In their first two games, some key defensive players had been absent but by last week, they were back in full force but Alabama had 568 yards.

Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said of his defense via the Associated Press, “We’ve got to get some things shored up in our front defensively. We’ll be fine schematically. We’ve got to get our guys playing a little bit better.”

Quarterback Manziel is coming off a record game against Alabama with his school-record 464 yards and 562 total yards for the second-top game in SEC history. He threw five touchdown passes and the Aggies now sit as the first team since 2007’s LSU to score 40 points against Alabama with its 628 total yards as the most ever against the Tide.

Since 1984, the Aggies are 11-0-1 versus SMU and on Saturday, they’ll get another win (-27.5, 78 o/u).

 

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