LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (8-3, 5-3) vs. KENTUCKY WILDCATS (5-6, 2-6)
Game Time: 12:01 p.m.
Location: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium: Louisville, Ky.
Announcers: Beth Mowins (play-by-play), Joey Galloway (analyst) and Paul Carcaterra (sidelines)
Favorite: Louisville by 13
All-Time Series: Kentucky leads 14-12
Modern Series: Louisville leads 12-8
Last Meeting: Louisville won 27-13 on Sept. 14, 2013 in Lexington
Complete Series History:
|Date||Site||Winning team||Losing team||Series|
|2002-09-01||Louisville||Kentucky||22||Louisville (17)||17||UK 10-5|
|2005-09-04||Lexington||Louisville (12)||31||Kentucky||24||UK 10-8|
|2006-09-03||Louisville||Louisville (13)||59||Kentucky||28||UK 10-9|
|2007-09-15||Lexington||Kentucky||40||Louisville (9)||34||UK 11-9|
|2012-09-02||Louisville||Louisville (25)||32||Kentucky||14||UK 14-11|
|2013-09-14||Lexington||Louisville (7)||27||Kentucky||13||UK 14-12
About The Governor's Cup
The Governor's Cup was created in 1994 as the trophy for the winner of the Kentucky-Louisville game.
Donated by The Kroger Company at a cost of $23,000, the Governor's Cup stands 33 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds. The trophy's base and upright columns are hand-milled black marble. The glass components are optic-grade crystal. All metal parts are 23-karat, gold-plated brass. The cup itself is made of pewter with a 23-karat gold-plated finish.
The cup was designed by Kendall Costner and sculpted by James Corcoran of Bruce Fox, Inc. The Kroger Company also is involved in sup- porting academic pursuits at the schools. Kroger is donating $10,000 to each school for each year the game is played. Kroger's donations now total $360,000 - $180,000 to each school.
It currently resides in Louisville.
Schedule of Events:
Louisville Depth Chart:
Patrick Towles stepped into the starting role this season and he immediately showed that he was an upgrade from the Jalen Whitlow/Max Smith combination from last year. Towles is a big quarterback that can get the ball downfield when needed and he can also run the ball well enough that Neal Brown can run read option pretty regularly. Towles isn't a completely polished quarterback but he does do a good job of not making bad passes and hitting open receivers. If needed, he can deliver the deep ball pretty well with good touch. What is somewhat surprising is the fact that he doesn't get a ton of zip on his short passes. His arm is plenty strong, but maybe he doesn't have the best accuracy if he tries to uncork it. Towles is a talented player, but he is being woefully misused by Neal Brown. He has run the ball twice as much as the team's leading rusher and instead of speeding up the offense to try to create mismatches and blown coverages, Brown wastes the talent and speed Towles has around him. He's a very good talent at the quarterback position, but what's the point if he doesn't get to put the ball in the hands of the playmakers.
The Wildcats have four viable running backs that are all completely wasted by Neal Brown. Braylon Heard scored two long touchdowns on his first two carries of the season, but hasn't been the focal point of the running game. JoJo Kemp ran the ball down the throat of the South Carolina defense in a big upset then saw his carries immediately get cut the next game. Mikel Horton has been a consistent big back averaging more than 5 yards per carry, but he is rarely used before the fourth quarter. And then there's Stanley Boom Williams. Boom is the most explosive player UK has on their roster and he only gets 7 offensive touches a game. Towles averages 14 carries per game. None of the four backs for UK even averages 7 carries a game. You can't expect an offense to reach its potential when you don't put the ball in the hands of its best players. Boom is that for this UK offense. Heard and Kemp are more traditional backs that can take a beating running inside the tackles if need be. Kemp prove that when he ran the same "Wildcat" play over and over again to close out USC. But Brown continues to run read option plays with Towles routinely keeping the ball and getting marginal gains. If that continues this week, Louisville's run defense will be able to avoid having to deal with the edge runs that Notre Dame killed them with.
Two years ago there was a solid argument over who was the best offensive player in the state of Kentucky. Most felt that James Quick was the obvious choice for that distinction, but Ryan Timmons wasn't a bad argument either. Timmons immediately became a focal point of UK's offense and his speed and quickness were a welcome addition to an offense that was lacking in both areas. Timmons has still not made the big plays some expected from him, but he does give Brown an option to be exotic with. Javess Blue is UK's deep threat and he has had a solid year in that role for the offense. Blue has solid size and good speed but his route running and body control are what set him apart. He has the ability to make the spectacular play and Towles has shown that he trust him to bring the ball down if he puts it up there. Demarco Robinson is the veteran of the group and has the ability to take a short pass and turn it into a big gain if given the space. The rest of the guys at receiver are also plenty capable of having a big game. The question, as always, is will Brown call a game that allows for that to happen.
The offensive line is the weak spot of this offense. They have a mix of veterans and young players and none have done much to deserve much fanfare. Darian Miller has been a mainstay at left tackle for years and I'm not sure if he's any better than he was four years ago. Zach West was a highly touted recruit like Miller but the two of them make up an "ok" left side of the line when they should probably be pretty dominant by now. Jordan Swindle is regarded at the best of the group at right tackle but he has missed some time due to injury. With Todd Grantham's exotic blitzes, offensive line play will be a big factor in the game. If the line can give Towles time, he could have some success getting big plays against a defense that has been gashed lately.
KEY PLAYERS: QB Patrick Towles, RB Boom Williams, WR Ryan Timmons, WR Javess Blue
There's not a lot of positive to say about a defense that has given up 113 points in their last two games. They've also given up at least 40 points in four of the last five games. They have one of the worst redzone defenses in the country, only stopping the opposing team from scoring twice all year. Their third down defense is in the bottom third of the nation, also. They aren't particularly good at anything specific and they've folded against good competition. However, they do have some players that could cause problems for Louisville's offense.
Bud Dupree and Zadarius Smith are two solid pass rushers that use their speed and length to get around the corner and get to the quarterback. Dupree has even been mentioned lately as a potential first round pick. Stoops doesn't blitz very much, so he asks a lot out of his line and Dupree has delivered pretty well this year with 6.5 sacks. Smith has been alright on the opposite side, but I'm sure Stoops would like to see more consistency. Former Trinity star Jason Hatcher replaces Dupree as a down linemen in certain sets. He has a good skill set but lacks the size to really hold his ground against the run. The defensive tackles for UK have been an improvement from the starters from previous years, but none have done much to make plays in the backfield. They have done a good job of holding up blockers and letting linebackers run free.
If you would have told me two years ago that Josh Forrest would have over 100 tackles in a season I would've laughed in your face. Forrest was a wide receiver when he arrived at UK and he has turned himself into a viable linebacker in this defense. Forrest is a big time hitter and he can run very well in space. His issues show up when he's asked to do things that it takes experience to master. He bites on playaction way too often. He gets lost in the wash because he doesn't do well with using his hands. He also, gets over aggressive and overruns plays at times. The positive for Forrest against UofL is that aggressive, speedy linebackers have had big games all year. Louisville's offensive line has trouble getting to the second level and guys have been left to run free and make plays. Forrest could have a big game if that continues.
The other linebackers for UK haven't done too much this season. Khalid Henderson andRyan Flannigan have split time and they've combined for almost 100 tackles, and that's about it. They haven't made many impact plays and they are both liabilities in coverage. With slant routes and crosses being a staple of the offense, Bobby Petrino will likely focus on attacking this spot.
The secondaries of Boston College and Notre Dame were both very suspect going into the last two games but UK's might be worse than both. A.J. Stamps, Ashley Lowery, and Marcus McWilliams have been fairly good at safety for the Wildcats but the cornerbacks have been beaten constantly all season. Cody Quinn and Fred Tiller haven't been very good since they got to UK and they still aren't the types of talent that can matchup against top level wide receivers. The run defense has been so bad this year that the secondary hasn't been tested very much. But when they have they have bombed those tests. Tennesse threw for nearly 300 yards with an inexperienced quarterback. Georgia only had 3 incompletions even though they run the ball 42 times a game. Even Jeff Driskel threw for 295 yards and three TDs. The Cats don't have much of a pass rush, but I don't think it would matter much if they did. Their corners are undersized and their safeties don't cover ground very well. Louisville should have success this week even thoughReggie Bonnafon didn't do to well progressing through his reads against Notre Dame.
KEY PLAYERS: DE/LB Bud Dupree, MLB Josh Forrest, FS A.J. Stamps
Excitement Level: 9.5
Louisville vs. Kentucky, senior day and the dream of an Orange Bowl bid all at play in one afternoon. All you have to say.
Game Attire: Red Cardinal bird shoes, black Louisville track jacket under red Cards rain jacket, red Titleist Cardinal bird hat.
Don't think it's going to be cold enough to go with the crazy hat from last weekend, but we'll see. Keeping several of the other sartorial elements from the South Bend trip though.
Pregame Meal: Donuts, chicken biscuits, alcohol.
Bold Prediction: Louisville successfully fakes a punt
I know Gerod was probably a little nervous, but no need to worry, my man. I would never put the INT record up against my 0-fer streak.
Griffin Uhl Playing Alert Level: Cornflower (still not lookin' good)
Predicted Star of the Game: DeVante Parker
Vante made his first real splash as a Cardinal in his first game against Kentucky, and he's going to go out as the best player on the field after his fourth straight win over the Cats.
The love I have for this city is unbearable, thanks to all of you for making me feel at home! I love you Card Nation— LoZo Mauldin IV (@Lozo_Mauldin_IV) November 29, 2014
They say on senior day you supposed to walk out with your family.. Well I need the whole card March to walk out with me #CardNation1Family— Andrew Johnson (@AJonefive) November 25, 2014
Last Time Playing At PJCS Ever— DeVante Parker (@TalentedYoung9) November 28, 2014
Last Time playing in PJCS tomorrow. I appreciate all the love Cardnation I'm going to miss it. http://t.co/kLAUYnEkkZ— Gerald Christian Jr (@hungry4gr8tness) November 29, 2014
--Louisville will recognize its 2014 senior class during a ceremony before the game.
--Cardinal fans are being asked to wear red to the game.
--The team that has rushed for more yards has won the last 18 meetings between Louisville and Kentucky.
--In 11 of the last 14 years, the leading rusher on the victorious team has outrushed the entire losing squad.
--The team that has scored first has gone on to win 12 of the last 13 times these two have met. The lone exception is the 2011 game, when Louisville overcame an early 3-0 deficit to win 24-17.
--The team that has produced the least turnovers has won 13 of the last 15 meetings in this series.
--The favorite is just 12-8 straight up in the modern era of the series.
--Home teams are just 9-11 in the modern era of the series.
--Saturday will mark the seventh time that Louisville has carried a national ranking into the Battle for the Governor's Cup. The Cards are 4-2 in those games.
--Kentucky has never been ranked in the top 25 when playing Louisville.
--Kentucky has not rushed for more yards than an opponent since Oct. 11 (Louisiana-Monroe) and has been held to 103 yards or less on the ground in four of its past five games, all losses.
--The Louisville defense is holding opponents to 88.5 yards rushing a game, third-best in the country, and just seven rushing TDs, second-best nationally. Cardinals foes are averaging only 2.9 yards per rush this season, and Louisville has held seven of its 11 opponents to fewer than 100 yards of total rushing.
--In three of Kentucky's last five losses, the Cats have surrendered 300 or more yards on the ground. In the last five games, opponents are averaging 5.5 yards per carry against UK.
--Louisville is 14-3 all-time in the month of November under Bobby Petrino.
--Dating back to last season, Louisville has forced at least one turnover in 14 consecutive games.
--Louisville is 21-1 over the last three seasons when attempting at least 35 rushes in a game. The lone loss came earlier this season at Clemson.
--U of L safety Gerod Holliman leads the FBS with 13 interceptions. He is one pick away from tying the FBS record of 14, which was set in 1968.
--A win Saturday would be Bobby Petrino's 50th as Louisville's head coach. Petrino is 4-0 all-time against Kentucky as U of L's coach.
--Louisville has won six consecutive games in the month of November.
--Kentucky has not won a true road game since winning at Louisville in the first game of the 2010 season, that losing streak spans 21 games.
--Louisville is currently riding a consecutive game scoring streak that spans 184 games dating back to the 2000 season. The streak ranks as the third longest in the ACC behind Virginia Tech (255) and Georgia Tech (221).
--Dating back to 1980, Louisville is 149-16 when scoring 30 or more points in a game. The Cards are also 4-100 all-time when allowing opponents to score 40 or more points.
--"There's no NFL team, so UK athletics is it. The other team doesn't want to hear that, but it's it. We're the show in town, in the state." --Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown
--"I think (our players) understand there's opportunity out there to go to a really good bowl game, but the first thing we have to do is focus hard, play well and win a game." --Bobby Petrino
--"We're sitting here 5-6 with a great opportunity to play in the postseason, which is what we want to do. We don't want to go home. We want to play." --Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles
--"We're just focused on winning now. Whatever the bowl game, that's up to them. We can't really decide that. This week, we'll prepare like this is our bowl game right here. We're trying to finish strong." --Brandon Radcliff
--"It will be a great atmosphere that game. It will be a great time to just take back over the state. And to win, who wouldn't want to beat Louisville to go to a bowl game? So we just gotta make it happen." --Kentucky defensive end Bud Dupree
--"We know Coach Petrino doesn't like Kentucky." --Lorenzo Mauldin
--"We're all going to just come together and try to get the win. We just got to be those defenders. It's either we catch it or no one catches it." --Kentucky wide receiver Javess Blue
--"Now that it's the last game of the season, I think the kids are excited because it's rivalry weekend, we're doing it like everybody else in the country, there's a lot at stake for both universities. So it should be very exciting for our fans, very exciting for their fans. I think it helps the entire state of Kentucky, high school football, so first game, last game, it ends up being a great deal for both of us." --Bobby Petrino
--"No red in this facility this week. We went out there in walk-through and we all kind of decided it wasn't going to happen this week." --Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles
--"I don't know if there's a guy who dislikes Louisville more than Pat Towles. I love that guy, and he definitely fires me up, and I'm behind him on that." --Kentucky offensive lineman Jordan Swindle
--"We're not allowed to wear red around our house either." --Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown
-"I've been a Kentucky fan my whole life, so this is a game that I look forward to every year. Being able to play in it is truly special for me and my family, so I'm excited - we're all excited." --Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles
--"We're trying to create it to be a bigger and better rivalry. I think that comes from us having to play better football and winning more games and putting ourselves in a position where we can get this game on a more national scale. But it's important. It's important to the people in this state. It's important to our fans and our players and coaches." --Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops
--"We just go out and compete. I don't think we worry too much about what they say on radio or TV about the rivalry games. What you try to do is go through your preparation, focus, get ready to go out and play hard, understand that it's going to be a difficult, hard-fought contest and we have to be ready to physically and mentally compete for four quarters." --Bobby Petrino
--"(The seniors) have done an unbelievable job for the program, it is amazing how many wins they have had, the big bowl games that they went to. I have been so impressed with them when we first came in, and you are thinking that these are going to be some guys that will be reluctant or resistant and they were great." --Bobby Petrino
Card Chronicle Prediction: Louisville 31, Kentucky 17