LOUISVILLE WILL CONTINUE TO CONTAIN BIG PLAYS
I’m just going to continue to throw out unlikely things until they stop coming to fruition. Louisville gave up some big runs to Pitt but they were able to hold them under their average and they only gave up one touchdown. They contained things for the most part and they only gave up two big plays in the second half.
I think that trend will continue this week against Wake Forest. Louisville has the potential to make running the ball very hard for Wake which should make it easier to defend the pass. While this offense is still very explosive, they have been much better at building drives and scoring in the redzone. I think there’s a strong possibility that Louisville will put them into obvious passing situations and they will keep everything in front of them.
MALIK CUNNINGHAM WILL BOUNCE BACK
Malik Cunningham hasn’t been his best this year but he also hasn’t played poorly. He came back from his injury last week and really struggled against a good Pitt defense. However, Malik did make the plays when he needed to and he ended up with two very big plays with his legs and two touchdown passes that were schemed open.
I think this week will be a good week for him as Wake has improved on defense but not to a level that they should shut down this offense. Wake is very good in the secondary and they play sticky in coverage. What they haven’t done very well is limiting big plays in the passing game.
Malik has struggled to run the ball against teams that have very athletic linebackers. Wake isn’t as gifted in that area which should allow Malik some lanes to run the football. That could unlock the passing game down the field and I think that hitting one or two throws in the deep passing game will get him on track. I see that happening this weekend.
SCOTT SATTERFIELD SHOULD LET IT ALL HANG OUT
Scott Satterfield has run a trick play twice this season. It worked both times and led to a touchdown this past weekend. Satt should empty the playbook this weekend when it comes to trick plays and other misdirection options.
This team isn’t as talented on offense as they have been in the past. The running backs were supposed to be the group that would make the big plays but that just hasn’t happened. So, Scott needs to let loose and manufacture some big plays. Wake isn’t as aggressive as Pitt was last week, but they do play downhill which should open up some opportunities to use misdirection and screens to their advantage.
At the end of the day, this is a massive opportunity to get a big win at home. Scott has to throw the kitchen sink at Wake.
PENALTIES WILL BE A BIG FACTOR IN THE GAME
Wake Forest is one of the most efficient teams in the country and a big reason for that is how clean they play. For some context, UofL and Wake are nearly identical when it comes to yards per play. Essentially, they are pretty consistent with the yardage they’re gaining when they snap the ball. However, Wake is 1st in the country in yards per punt while UofL is one of the worst in the country. That’s because Wake doesn’t hurt themselves in any way on offense.
Wake doesn’t take a bunch of negative plays and they convert third downs very well. But what really helps them more than anything is their ability to avoid penalties. They don’t make those mental errors that you see in college football and it helps them just chug along with their drives.
Lousiville has to continue its trend of playing cleaner football. It will be a big factor in this game, especially if it turns into a shootout.
CAN LOUISVILLE WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE?
Louisville’s defense has been impressive in a few games this year and the one constant in those games has been forcing turnovers. Wake has been improved on defense with turnovers playing a huge role in their win over Liberty. The Deacs also do a very good job of protecting the ball on offense which is something Lousiville can’t say. The Cards have turned the ball over 12 times this season and some of the turnovers have been big.
UofL has to find a way to force some bad throws or get a fumble on a player running in space. The pressure that they bring up front should help them get Sam Hartman to move his feet and look to extend plays. With the way that Wake allows tight pockets to throw from, one would hope the Cards can get a hand on Hartman’s arm and force a turnover.