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Game Day: Louisville vs. Indiana State

Louisville looks to bounce back from a tough opening loss to Alabama and open the new Cardinal Stadium in style Saturday night.

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (0-1) vs. INDIANA STATE SYCAMORES (1-0)

Game Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Cardinal Stadium

Television: ACC Network Extra

Announcers: Jim Barbar (play-by-play) and John Gregory (analyst)

Favorite: No Line

All-Time Series: Louisville leads, 6-3-1

Last Meeting: Louisville won 30-10 on Sept. 5, 2009 in Louisville

Series History:

Louisville Depth Chart:

Relevant Videos:

About Indiana State:

via Keith Wynne

OFFENSE

Louisville will get a much needed cupcake game when the Indiana State Sycamores come to Cardinal Stadium this week. The Sycamores got a big win over a lower division team last week after not winning a game last year.

The Sycamores are excited about their new quarterback, Jalil Kirkpatrick. He has the size you want at 6-3/210 and has the ability to run the ball pretty well. That running ability has expanded the playbook and made the offense more unpredictable. However, Kirkpatrick struggled throwing the ball last week. He didn’t do a good job of finding the open guy and took off running more than you’d like against a bad defense.

The running game for the Sycamores looked very good last week as the top three rushers all averaged over six yards per carry. Ja’Quan Keys is the top back on the depth chart. He’s a big back at 220 pounds but he has the speed to get around the corner. I think we’ll see a good amount of him this weekend along with the smaller and faster Titus McCoy. The Sycamores will mix in some read option stuff at times also.

Kirkpatrick’s struggles in the passing game makes it a little hard to know how good the receivers are. They do have some good size outside and run more of a traditional system so we could see them look to push the ball down the field some off of their run game. Rontrez Morgan is the guy that stood out to me as a guy that could make a big play. He has good speed and the offense used him on some misdirection plays.

The offensive line for the Sycamores is very big, but they’re also very slow. They ran the ball outside a good amount last week but the line had a ton of trouble getting to their blocks when they had to move their feet. They held their own in pass protection, but I would expect for Louisville’s front to give them a ton of trouble off of the edge in passing plays and up the middle when they’re running.

DEFENSE

Indiana State was able to pitch a shutout last week against Quincy University. They didn’t stop anyone last season, so they have to feel pretty good about how they’ve started the season even if the game was against a lower division opponent. The Sycamores like to stick to their base 4-3 look and they will bring some pressure from the linebacker spot.

The defensive line is led by Inoke Moala at defensive end. He got to the quarterback twice last weekend and really showed nice closing speed once he got through the line. The line and the front seven overall showed a good ability to flow to the football and run down plays. I think this will be a good opportunity for the Louisville offensive line to show the ability to get push in the running game. The ISU defensive line lacks size and should be easy to move.

The linebacker group looked the best to me for this defense. Katrell Moss and Jonas Griffith made a lot of plays inside while Clayton Glasco looked good coming off the edge. They like to keep all three of these guys on the field with Glasco being the guy that usually flexes out to cover a wide receiver. It will be interesting to see how Louisville’s running backs do against these guys when they get to the second level. It’s a solid test to see if the backs can make guys miss and/or shed tacklers.

The secondary didn’t get to show very much last week as Quincy’s passing attack was pretty terrible. I was impressed by their size and how they closed on the football. The effort level alone was impressive for a group that hadn’t had a win in over a year and was playing an overmatched opponent. Indiana State will be the ovrmatched opponent this week, and I’ll be looking to see if they bring that same effort and make things harder than expected for Louisville’s passing game.

Excitement Level: 4.8

About 4.3 of that is to see the expanded Cardinal Stadium in all its glory for the first time. It’s great that home football is back and I’m all about the late kick, but between the weather, the opponent, and what happened last weekend, it’s a tough ask to be through the roof right now. Props to those of you who are.

Schedule of Events:

Game Attire: Grey Cardinal football bird t-shirt, dark grey cardinal bird hat, Louisville rain jacket

We’re gonna get wet.

Pregame Meal: Whatever they have at the Petrino tailgate, beer

We’re doing the 790 pregame show from the PFF tailgate, and the Card Chronicle tailgate is shaping up to be scarce at best, so it’s looking like I’ll grub there before heading back to the parking lot.

Bold Prediction: Louisville has a 100-yard rusher

I went with “Louisville scores” first last week, so if someone gets within, say, 50 yards of 100, I’m going to consider that a step forward.

Rodjay Burns Kick/Punt Touchdown Return Alert Level: Cerise (average)

Definitely wasn’t blown away with what I saw last weekend, but opponent has to be considered here.

Predicted Star of the Game: Dez Fitzpatrick

Jawon Pass is too obvious, so I’ll roll with Dez, who finds the endzone on three separate occasions.

Notable:

—Louisville opens its 100th home season inside a renovated (and bearing a new/old name) Cardinal Stadium on Saturday. A $63.25 million dollar renovation was completed this week, adding approximately 6,000 seats, including 12 field suites and over 800 club seats.

—Louisville has won five of its last seven openers at home, but have also lost two of the last three. The Cards are 13-7 all-time in home openers at Cardinal Stadium, including 6-2 under Bobby Petrino.

—Louisville is 40-7 all-time at home under Petrino.

—Louisville hasn’t posted a perfect home record since Petrino led the Cards to a Big East Championship and an Orange Bowl victory in 2006.

—Indiana State snapped a 14-game losing streak with its 49-0 win over Quincy last week. The FCS Sycamores went 0-11 last season.

—The Sycamores finished their opener with 423 yards of total offense but a vast majority of those yards came from the ground game where ISU recorded 339 yards and all six touchdowns. Eight Sycamores ran the ball, led by sophomore Titus McCoy who had 81 yards and a score, edging out senior Ja’Quan Keys who finished with 80 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Jalil Kilpatrick added 69 yards and a touchdown while freshman Christian Covington had 10 carries for 64 yards and two scores. The Sycamores rank sixth in the country in total rushing yards after week one.

—Louisville is 15-2 in non-conference home games under Bobby Petrino.

—Louisville has won 19 straight games against FCS opponents, a streak that dates back to a 1987 loss to Marshall.

—The Missouri Valley Conference has produced at least one win over an FBS opponent in each of the last eight seasons. The league was 2-5 against the FBS in 2017.

—Louisville is 6-1 all-time against Missouri Valley teams.

—Louisville is 20-3 under Bobby Petrino when scoring first, and just 14-16 when scoring second.

—Louisville is 54-1 all-time and 18-0 under Bobby Petrino when rushing for at least 300 yards.

—Louisville is currently riding a consecutive game scoring streak that spans 226 games dating back to the 2000 season. The streak ranks as the third longest in the ACC behind only Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.

—Louisville is 183-12 all-time when scoring 35 or more points in a game. The Cards are also 5-107 all-time when allowing opponents to score 40 or more points.

Quotable:

—“We are looking forward to getting back out there and playing better football. We know we are better than that, and just want to go out there and prove it.” —Khane Pass

—“This is the best team that we’ll face since I’ve been here, maybe the best team that Indiana State’s ever faced. It’ll be a heck of a challenge and we’re excited about the opportunity.” —Indiana State head coach Curt Mallory

—“There’s tons still to play for. It would have been huge to get that game (against Alabama) but this game is just as big. We want to come out, execute and get a W.” —Lonnie Galloway

—”A lot of my friends will be there and there’s a whole lot of support. It’s going to be a fun and happy environment. We’re up for the challenge. We never back down. We’re going to be ready.” —Indiana State DE Stephon Mayes

—“We went to games every year and my uncles were season ticket holders. I grew up a Louisville fan admiring those guys. It’s going to be an honor to be on the same field.” —Indiana State LB Jonas Griffith

—“I can’t wait to see myself on that screen in the end zone.” —Kemari Averett

—“Louisville will try to establish the run. If we stop to the run and keep everything inside and in front? We’ll be good.” —Indiana State DE Stephon Mayes

—“We are all excited, and we know our fans are. Our fans just want to see the stadium, and we do as well. I just can’t wait to see it. Every time we go to a different part of the building, we see something new.” —Dorian Etheridge

Card Chronicle Prediction: Louisville 56, Indiana State 7