5. Mario Urrutia
Perhaps the person most affected by the injury and subsequent recovery of Brian Brohm has been Urrutia, who despite being well-known amongst the circle of well versed college football fans, has yet to become the household name many thought he would be before the season started. That could change tonight.
West Virginia's secondary returned just one starter from a year ago (Eric Wicks), and like Louisville starts a freshman (Quinton Andrews) at safety. The 6'6 future NFL draft pick will look to take advantage of the "5" portion of WVU's 3-3-5 defense that goes 5-9, 5-10, 5-11, 6-1, 6-1.
Many, including Uconn's Randy Edsall believe that the Mountaineer defense may be susceptible to the pass.
"They do a great job, but there are some things there you have to take advantage of," Edsall said. "If you can protect and if you can throw the football, then I think you have a chance to move the ball and score some points on West Virginia. That's what I see. It'll be interesting to see, because I think one of Louisville's strengths is their quarterback and their receivers."
Of course Edsall may have seen this advantage because West Virginia put 10 guys in the box, knowing the Huskies don't have a quarterback who can throw the ball 15-yards downfield.
In our eyes Mario Urrutia is the most important key to Louisville's success on Thursday other than Brian Brohm, and in reality the two really go hand-on-hand. He has all the goods, and this is his big shot to show the world what he's all about. We think there's a very solid chance that Mario goes nuts tomorrow night.
If you check the box score Friday morning and read that #7 had less than 100 yards receiving, it means Louisville just fell out of the national championship race.
4. Bobby Petrino is more dangerous when he has extra time
We know this guy who knows this guy who can do math, and he figured out that in regular season games since 2004, Bobby Petrino's boys are 15-1 when he's had more than a week to prepare for an opponent. The total score from these games is 711-295 for an average of 44.4 (Louisville) to 18.4 (Petrino victims).
Both Bobby Petrino and Brian Brohm stated publicly this week that they had been preparing for West Virginia since the Miami game (Petrino stated immediately following the Syracuse win that he's been preparing for the Mounties since last winter). Petrino also told the media earlier this week that he was going to show some things Thursday night that West Virginia wouldn't have seen beforehand.
We've been saying for a month now that Petrino has been holding back in preparation for this game, and we sincerely believe he has. To be honest we wouldn't be surprised if on our first play Brohm appears to throw the ball into the stands, and then it magically appears in the hands of a smiling Harry Douglass standing alone in the endzone.
It'd be cool and we'd cheer.
We believe in you Bobby, bring this one home. Of course there's no way you read this, so in essence we were just talking to ourselves. Still, you're cool.
3. Louisville focused on Adam Bednarik, not Pat White before last year's game
When Adam Bednarik was knocked out of the game in Morgantown last year, the score was 24-7, there was just under 11 minutes to play, and a thoroughly dominated West Virginia team had the ball in its own territory. White makes the huge run on fourth down, the Mountaineers ultimately find the endzone, kick an illegal onside kick, and then run all over an unprepared Louisville defense and finish the game with 46 points and a victory.
If Pat White had started and Louisville had known about it would things have been any different? There's really know way of knowing, but what we do know is that the Cardinal defense (which leads the Big East allowing just under 75 yards a game) will be far more prepared for Mr. White this year.
2. The advantage of The Oven
Louisville has won 15 straight games at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, and has done so without the support of the biggest and loudest crowd in the program's history, which it will likely get tonight.
During the streak, which is the second longest in the country behind only USC, the Cardinals have outscored their opponents by a total of 764 to 241 for an average of 51 points a game to 16. Gaudy numbers for a stadium that has been described this week as "tiny" "a stadium that will be half-full with Mountaineers" "not a real homefield advantage" and was laughed at by the latest ESPN asshole who knows nothing about sports but has a job merely because he knows how to make it sound like he's speaking with conviction, Colin Cowherd.
The athletic department has pulled out all the stops with this "Black Out" gimmick and the ceremonies at halftime. If the Cardinals can't beat the Mountaineers with this atmosphere, then they can't beat them anywhere.
1. Brian Brohm was bred for this
This is what Brian Brohm has been preparing for his entire life. He grew up with Louisville football, and spent his childhood throwing in the backyard with the goal of someday being the best Brohm ever to wear the Cardinal uniform. When he made the announcement that he was going to follow tradition and stay home, he said that he wanted to help the Louisville program as they made the move to the Big East, win a conference title and a national championship. Well sport, it's all here for the taking. Big games are where this kid shines, and this is the biggest game he's ever played in.
Brian Brohm has already made sure that he'll have a place in Louisville football history when all is said and done, but what he's been missing up to this point is a monumental win. Miami was nice, but ultimately it will be viewed as a big win over a big name who fielded an average team. Over the course of two years he's played for a pair of teams that have accomplished many things, but beating a team they weren't supposed to hasn't been one of them.
Brian and the rest of the Brohm family are about history, and this is #12's chance to play the lead role in the biggest moment in the history of the program his family has done so much to help build.
We think this is a good time (actually any time is a good time) to point out that in our only head-to-head quarterack battle with Brian Brohm, we prevailed 18-0. Sure we were a year older, had a better team, it was raining hard making it difficult to throw, and he got hurt and didn't play the second half, but this doesn't change the fact that we are a better quarterback than Brian Brohm.
We own you and you know it
Still, as long as we're not on the field, history tells us that the youngest Brohm is a lock to produce on the biggest of stages. It's a good thing because this is all on his shoulders.
Peace, love, Cards.