Louisville vs. Syracuse: Complete Game Preview and Predictions

Jon Hancock@@JonKYSportscoSenior Analyst INovember 6, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 03:  Teddy Bridgewater #7 of the Louisville Cardinals throws a pass during the game against the Temple Owls at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 3, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The University of Louisville Cardinals will take on the Syracuse Orange Saturday in another Big East Conference battle. The Cardinals come into the game  ninth in this week's BCS Standings.

UofL leads the all-time series 6-5 and have won the last three meeting straight.

The Louisville Cardinals come into the game after beating the Temple Owls 45-17. QB Teddy Bridgewater had a career-high five touchdown passes and the Cards defense forced four fumbles.

Louisville head coach Charlie Strong said of the game during his Monday press conference via UofLSports.com:

This is a big game this week against Syracuse. They have a very good quarterback. They do a really good job of running and throwing the football. A lot of times people look at them and think they throw the ball a lot, but the reason why they had to throw the ball is because they were coming from behind. But, they want to establish the run and that is to the philosophy of their head coach because he is an offensive line coach.

The Orange are coming off a 35-24 loss on the road against Cincinnati. QB Ryan Nassib completed 23 of 47 attempts for 286 yards and one touchdown. The Syracuse defense allowed 263 yards on the ground.

Syracuse University coach Doug Marrone said of the game via Nolan Weidner of the Post-Standard:

It’s the best team we will have played so far. Even with the tough out-of-conference schedule, I would say Teddy Bridgewater is the best quarterback that we will face so far this season. He can move around in the pocket. He can make all of the throws. I think he has an excellent touch–putting (passes) into tight windows and doing the things you look for out of that position. He has a very good control and grasp of what’s going on.

Syracuse will be celebrating Senior Day at halftime, they will honor 15 players and three student managers.

When: Saturday, Nov. 10 at noon ET.

Where: Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY.

Watch: ABC

Radio: 840 WHAS in Louisville, KY.

Betting Line: Louisville – 3 per VegasInsider.com.

Players to watch on Temple

Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib has thrown for 2,773 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. He has also thrown eight interceptions and has been sacked 13 times. Nassib is a very talented quarterback with a strong arm, but he is not very accurate completing just 63.3 percent of his passes.

Nassib's favorite target is receiver Alec Lemon. The 6'2” senior currently has 44 catches for 569 yards and three touchdowns this season.

The Orange's rushing attack is led by Jerome Smith who has 731 yards and one touchdown this season. Syracuse uses Smith's speed and strength to open up the passing game. He does have the ability to break for long runs if not contained.

On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Siriki Diabate leads the team in tackles with 58, including five tackles for loss.

Game Notes

  • Syracuse is 20th in the country in passing yards per game with 308.1.

  • Louisville has forced three or more fumbles in the past two games.

  • UofL QB Teddy Bridgewater is fifth in the country in passing efficiency, completing 70.4 percent of his passes.

  • Louisville is 6-3 in the month of November since Charlie Strong became the head coach.

  • Louisville's defense give up just 189.2 yards passing a game.

  • Syracuse is ranked ninth in the country in tackles for loss with 7.44 a game.

Keys to a Louisville victory

  • Protect Bridgewater. Louisville has plenty of weapons at the receiver position. If they get enough time to get open it will be a long day for the Orange secondary.

  • Put pressure on Nassib. The Cards have some injuries on their defensive line but still have plenty of talent. Nassib will give is known for giving up turnovers when he is pressured.

  • Stay focused. Louisville is 9-0 and is ranked in the top 10. The Cardinals are young, they must stay focused on the game and not look ahead.

Game Predictions

Teddy Bridgewater seems to be getting better as the season goes along. He will get to show his ability to use his athletic ability and his arm Saturday. Bridgewater will not throw for five touchdowns like he did last week, but he will have plenty of yards through the air.

Louisville will get most of their yards on the ground. The Cards have had to play with severe weather conditions the past several games that has hindered their speed. Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry will take full advantage of playing indoors. Both running backs will go over 100 yards.

Preston Brown, UofL's middle linebacker, will keep Syracuse's rushing attack under control.

Louisville will win 33-18.

You can follow Jon on Twitter @JonKYSportsCo


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