Louisville Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
The Louisville Cardinals travel to Ohio to tangle the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Big East opener for both schools. The Cardinals dropped a 14-7 at North Carolina in week six action while the Bearcats defeated Miami (Ohio) in week five and come in to this match up off a bye. The Bearcats are -13 point favorites over the Cardinals with an over/under point total set at 61.
Louisville’s offense struggled for the second straight week leading to back to back defeats entering conference play. The Tar Heels defense held the Cardinals offense to just 273 total yards as Louisville didn’t score until only 42 seconds remained in the game. Louisville had an especially difficult time in the trenches with just 100 rushing yards and barely over 2 ½ yards per carry. It wasn’t that the Cardinals didn’t try to establish something on the ground as they ran the ball 38 times but carving out room versus the front seven of North Carolina wasn’t a successful endeavor. The spotlight was on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to move the chains through the air but he was relegated to a rather short passing attack going 19 of 30 for 173 yards with a touchdown and interception. The defense was under pressure to win this game on their efforts alone and the numbers say this unit almost did the job by holding UNC to 264 yards and only eleven first downs.
Cincinnati got all they could handle from Miami (Ohio) for the first 30 minutes with just a 6-0 lead heading in to the break against a team many thought they would dominate. The Bearcats performed as expected with a 21-0 third quarter run before turning things over to the defense. Cincinnati finished just shy of 400 yards in an up and down performance from on the offensive side of the ball. Zack Collaros was almost a one man gang in the air and on the ground. Collaros didn’t have a great day in the air going 16 of 30 for 251 yards for a touchdown and a pair of interceptions. He used his legs to rush for 89 yards on 15 totes but Cincinnati really shot themselves in the foot with two picks and a pair of lost fumbles which played a role in keeping Miami in the game. Enter the Bearcats defense that held the Redhawks offense in check until their own offense got on track. Cincinnati held Miami (OH) to only 264 yards and 3 of 17 on third down while forcing two turnovers with a fumble return for a touchdown.
I see Louisville needing another strong performance on the defensive side of the ball because their offense has yet to hit their stride. Cincinnati is the more balanced team but as we saw against Miami (OH) this team can’t just show up and win. The Bearcats are no slouch on defense and can score but their schedule hasn’t been very tough. I say this team needs an impressive victory against a Big East club to show people they are for real.
Cincinnati Bearcats -13 Louisville Cardinals