--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
The Louisville Cardinals look to defeat the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Saturday. While the Hilltoppers may have struggled so far this season, there are a few things Louisville needs to perform in order to ensure a 2-1 record.
Stay strong on the front
WKU allowed six sacks their last game; against FCS opponent Maine. The Cardinals appear to have a stronger front than the Black Bears, and should give the WKU offensive line some headaches.
Drew Eckels is a game-time decision for this week. He was hit hard on the last drive against Maine, and suffered an upper-body injury. If he can’t play, Louisville will look at freshman Davis Shanley under center.
WKU’s offense has struggled, and being strong up front won’t make it any easier.
Run the ball
When looking at yards and attempts, WKU arguably has a better pass defense. Hilltopper defensive backs have allowed less than 50% through the air, and have a pick to help their case. From scoring, however, the Hilltoppers have allowed five TDs through the air and only two from the ground.
As always, a balanced offense pays dividends. The Cardinals did well rushing last week, scoring two touchdowns from the trenches, as well as 199 yards. Jeremy Smith and Malik Cunningham had the bulk of the rushing yardage last week.
Puma Pass will need to be back
Louisville QB Jawon Pass was benched in the third-quarter of last week’s game. While his replacement, Cunningham, excelled; Pass is still the starting QB.
An off week is not unheard of for anyone on the football field, but the Cardinals can’t afford too many from their starting passer.
The weather should be nice, and Pass should look more like he did against Alabama than against Indiana State, in the longest-game in program history; in the middle of a monsoon.
WKU only averages 15.5 points per game. They allow more than 32. Last week, The Hilltoppers jumped out 21-0, before allowing 14 in the second and third. WKU also has uncertainty at who will pass the ball.
The next few games in this series should be better than this one.
My prediction: Louisville 42, Western Kentucky 10