Game Day: Louisville at Cincinnati

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (2-3) AT CINCINNATI BEARCATS (4-1)

Game Time: Noon

Location: Paul Brown Stadium: Cincinnati, OH

Television: Big East Network/WHAS-11

Announcers: Mike "Mr. Cardinal" Gleason (play-by-play), John Congemi (analyst), Eamon McAnaney (sideline).

Favorite: Cincinnati by 14

All-Time Series: Cincinnati leads 28-21-1

Last Meeting: Cincinnati won 35-27 in 2010.

Last Ten Meetings

40 October 14, 2000 Louisville, KY Louisville 38 Cincinnati 24 UC 25-14-1
41 October 27, 2001 Cincinnati, OH Louisville 28 Cincinnati 13 UC 25-15-1
42 November 7, 2002 Louisville, KY Cincinnati 24 Louisville 14 UC 26-15-1
43 November 28, 2003 Cincinnati, OH Louisville 43 Cincinnati 40 UC 26-16-1
44 November 27, 2004 Louisville, KY Louisville 70 Cincinnati 7 UC 26-17-1
45 October 22, 2005 Cincinnati, OH Louisville 46 Cincinnati 22 UC 26-18-1
46 October 14, 2006 Louisville, KY Louisville 23 Cincinnati 17 UC 26-19-1
47 October 13, 2007 Cincinnati, OH Louisville 28 Cincinnati 24 UC 26-20-1
48 November 14, 2008 Louisville, KY Cincinnati 28 Louisville 20 UC 27-20-1
49 November 24, 2009 Cincinnati, OH Cincinnati 41 Louisville 10 UC 28-20-1
50 October 15, 2010 Louisville, KY Cincinnati 35 Louisville 27 UC 29-20-1

Notable Cardinal Numbers in the Series

5: interceptions, tied for the most in a single-game 1989-present (1989)
5: second most touchdowns passes in a single game 1989-present (1998, 1990)
5: receiving touchdowns by Anthony Cummings, the most in school history (1990)
9: second highest number of touchdowns scored in a game 1989-present (2004)
12: number of games in which the winning team was victorious by a touchdown or less
15: receptions by Arnold Jackson, tied for the most in all-time school history (1999)
67: passing attempts; the most in a game 1989-present (1997)
70: most points scored by a single team in the series' history; U of L racked up 70 at home (2004)
80: yards of Bilal Powell's touchdown run in 2010, the longest in series history (2010)
98: offensive plays, the most in a single game 1989-present (1997)
136: yards rushing by T.J. Patterson (2001)
147: yards rushing by Calvin Price (1977)
154: punt return yards, the most in a single game from 1989-present (1997)
158: yards rushing by Eric Shelton (2004)
194: yards receiving by Deion Branch, tied for the fourth-most in all-time school history (2000)
209: Number of yards Bilal Powell rushed for in last year's loss (2010)
357: second-highest total of rushing yards in a single game 1989-present (2004)
460: passing yards, the seventh-highest total in a single game 1989-present (1997)
742: total offensive yards, the most in a single game from 1989-present (1997)

About the Keg of Nails

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The Keg of Nails is a traveling trophy in college football, awarded to the winner of the Universities of Louisville and Cincinnati (which are now connected by Interstate 71) since 1929.

Known more for an intense basketball rivalry and tradition, the Universities of Louisville and Cincinnati have a football rivalry that has stretched over the span of 3 conferences from the Missouri Valley Conference, to Conference USA, and more recently in the Big East Conference. It is believed to be the oldest rivalry for the University of Louisville football team and the second oldest for Cincinnati, only behind the annual game with the Miami RedHawks.

The trophy is a replica of a keg used to ship nails. The exchange is believed to have been initiated by fraternity chapters on the UC and UofL campuses, signifying that the winning players in the game were "tough as nails."

The present keg is actually a replacement for the original award, which was misplaced by Louisville, ironically lost during some construction of office facilities. It is adorned with the logos of both schools and the scores of the series games.

Statistics

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Excitement Level: 7.78

I find myself annually surprised at how into this game I get. Maybe, just maybe, it's because there's a friggin' keg of friggin' nails at stake. The only reason this isn't higher because I'm extremely pessimistic about our chances. If we do win, however, the Queen City will be receiving a show.

Pregame Meal: Is 8 a.m. too early for Skyline? It is? OK, then not Skyline. Probably just some breakfast food with chili on top.

Game Attire: Art Carmody jersey

Making its in-game debut inside an NFL stadium...where it belongs. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't terrified.

Bold Prediction: Chris Philpott does not miss a field goal

I've got faith in The Pott. He wasn't our highest rated player on NCAA Football 2011 for nothing.

Predicted Star of the Game: Andrell Smith

Somebody has got to step up from amongst the receiving corps, and if Andrell doesn't do it today then it's not going to happen. If we can't move the ball through the air effectively against these guys then we have absolutely no chance.

Titus Teague Playing Alert Level: Firetruck Red (Probably not likely, but I'm feeling oddly confident)

NOTABLE

--Cincinnati is 15-12 all-time against Louisville at home, but the two have never played at Paul Brown Stadium.

--UC enters the week leading the BIG EAST in scoring offense (45.0), rushing defense (70.6), net punting (41.6) and tackles for a loss (8.8). They are second in the league in rushing offense (220.0), punt returns (8.9), turnover margin (2.4), passing efficiency (147.54), sacks (3.2) and sacks allowed (1.2).

--Louisville is 10-10 all-time against Cincinnati in October.

--Louisville is 1-1 against UC on Oct. 15, including 1-0 in games played in Cincinnati. The two met on this same date in Louisville last year.

--The Bearcats are +12 overall in turnover margin and are averaging 2.4 tpg which ranks second in the FBS behind Rutgers (2.8).

--UC’s nine interceptions, which surpasses its total number of eight picks in 2010, ranks tied for eighth in the FBS.

--UC is 0-2 all-time at Paul Brown Stadium, dropping a 23-19 decision to then No. 6 Ohio State on Sept. 21, 2002 and a 31-29 thriller to then No. 8 Oklahoma on Sept. 25, 2010.

--Cincinnati players don't know how to properly handle the keg of nails.

--Cincinnati's rush defense (70.6 ypg) ranks fifth in the country.

--Louisville's rush offense (116.6 ypg) ranks 95th in the country.

--Cincinnati is outscoring its opponents 62-14 in the first quarter.

--UC has outscored its opponents 128-35 in the first half of games this season.

--The Bearcats are averaging a BIG EAST best 45.0 ppg, a number that ranks No. 9 in the FBS.

--Louisville is tied for second in the country in tackles for loss at 8.8 per game.

--Louisville is 9-3 when scoring 20 or more points under Charlie Strong, including 2-0 this year.

--Despite dropping three straight, Louisville has taken 9 of the last 13 meetings with Cincinnati.

--Louisville has not won their Big East opener since beating Cincinnati 23-17 in 2006, the same year they claimed their only conference championship.

--Cincinnati native Josh Chichester has caught touchdown passes in each of the last two meetings against the Bearcats.

Quotable

--“They’re outstanding against the run. We still want to be balanced. We still want to establish the run. (But) if they are shutting us down in the run game, we feel confident that we can do what we need to do in the throw game.” --UC offensive coordinator Mike Bajakia

--"It’s very important because I haven’t been part of winning against UC in quite some time. It’s a good thing to bring back to Louisville as a whole, and keep taking the program in the right direction." --Josh Chichester

--“We pick and choose when we take a shot and when we don’t. We still have weapons on the outside and we’re going to take our shots when it’s there. Last year we played from behind a lot and we had to throw the ball 40 or 50 times a game. Any time you do that, when a team knows you’re going to be throwing the ball, it’s difficult to do well.” --Zach Collaros

--"Our main focus is playing our game right now. We let one slip away against Marshall and definitely didn’t play our best, and last week we came up short (at North Carolina). We’ve been playing well since then and that’s our focus: Our game. At the end of the day, that’s who we play against. We need to lessen our mistakes and execute." --Josh Chichester

--“The thing that’s really been our Achilles’ heel is penalties. It’s either a penalty on defense that allows a team to continue to drive the ball, or offensively we’re getting stopped. We’ve got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot.” --Charlie Strong

--“I never get used to it (the penalties), I still have my little freakouts on the field. I’m trying to be calm. As an older guy, I try to work with the younger guys and understand nobody goes out there trying to make mistakes, obviously. But it’s one of those things, if you want to win you just can’t do things like that.” --Mario Benavides

--"It is a little odd (playing the homecoming game off campus). We were surprised when we saw it was the homecoming game. But there's nothing we can do about that. That's the administration. That's our home field now, and we're going to have to go down there and really ignite the crowd." --Collaros

--"Will, for the first time this week, is really back. I think he's probably 90 to 95 percent, from what I've seen of him this week. So I would expect we'll get some time out of Will this week. Both of them will play. How much? Again, we'll just continue to see where Will's at." --Shawn Watson

--"It's definitely a confidence booster being 4-1. Now we have a little momentum moving forward and we're feeling a little better about ourselves, We're definitely looking forward to it." --Collaros

CC Prediction: Cincinnati 38, Louisville 17

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