HOW DOES UOFL'S OFFENSIVE LINE PLAY AGAINST AN OVER-MATCHED OPPONENT?
The key to the offense this year and the season as a whole if we're being honest is the play of the offensive line. The line was abysmal at times last year but improved late in the season as the schedule got easier. The bowl game was a good example of what could be with this offense and the line was key to that. Lamar Jackson was only sacked one time and even though TAMU was able to make some plays behind the line, a defensive front of that caliber would've have dominated earlier in the year. My expectation for this game is open running holes for the running backs as well as a clean pocket for Lamar to step up in.
CAN UOFL REPLACE SHELDON RANKIN'S PRODUCTION?
We won't get a clear answer on this question in the first week but we should at least get a feel for how Louisville's defensive line plays without the first round pick. Rankins made a lot of plays that don't show up on the stat sheet and I don't think those plays will be made too often this year. However, I think that it will be important for them to find a way to get to the quarterback and make plays behind the line because those types of plays really change the complexion of the game. The offense can't get into a rhythm, the coaches can't call all of the plays they want, and quarterbacks and running backs can't get comfortable. It might have to come by committee, but somehow Louisville has to replace the numbers that Rankins put up.
CAN LOUISVILLE PITCH A SHUTOUT?
It's really hard to hold another FBS team scoreless this day in age. Typically teams pull their starters and their second stringers late in the game when they get a big lead. The team trailing might try to save their starters from potential injury by pulling those guys early, also. So how does UofL hold Charlotte from getting in the endzone? By keeping their foot on the pedal with the second and (potentially) third teams. Louisville has a lot of talent and experience in their backup groups and it would be nice to see those guys get to run the normal offense and to see the defense continue to pressure the quarterback and play within the system. I typically don't care much for running up the score but only when it comes to FCS teams. Charlotte is in Conference USA and they really need a competitive game to set the tone for their season, to be honest.