Football is back! After a long awaited break and questions of if a football season would happen or not, we finally have our answer. Louisville and Western Kentucky are set to kick off the regular season today at 8:00 p.m.
Western Kentucky is the only non-ACC game on the schedule for the Cards. The Hilltoppers have similar school colors as UofL, repping red and white. Big Red, the school's mascot, gains his name from the school colors and his red outfit.
UofL and WKU played last year in Nashville. The Cards dominated the game 38-21.
Last season, the Hilltoppers finished with a 9-4 record, highlighted by a 23-20 win over Western Michigan in the Servpro First Responder Bowl. They finished tied for second in the Conference USA with a 6-2 record.
Gaej Walker is a preseason Doak Walker Award candidate and will run behind a veteran offensive line. Walker rushed for 1208 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He also had 24 receptions for 140 yards.
The Hilltoppers will have a new quarterback under center with Maryland graduate transfer Tyrrell Pigrome. Pigrome had seven starts over the span of four seasons and passed for 1.777 yards with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He is a dual threat with 630 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
WKU does have the reigning Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in DeAngelo Malone. He was second on the team with 99 tackles. He had 11.5 sacks for a net loss of 97 yards. Malone also had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery to add to the resume. He heads a defensive line that was a major contributor to the #30 defense in the country last year.
Louisville leads the series 21-12, and has won the last nine meetings dating back to 1982. 14 of the last 15 match-ups have been in Louisville, with the only other one being played in Nashville.
Behind second-year coach Scott Satterfield the Cards should have a strong advantage. Micale Cunningham is set to have a breakout season. Javian Hawkins and Hassan Hall are a strong one-two punch at running back that was lethal to opposing defenses last year. Cunningham has a strong corps of receivers highlighted by Tutu Atwell and Dez Fitzpatrick.
On defense, the Cardinals are starting all juniors and seniors. The experienced group on defense will continue to improve and silence opposing offenses. Last year, the Cards surrendered 31 passing touchdowns and 27 rushing touchdowns, but limited WKU to just three passing touchdowns last year.
The biggest question will be the kicking situation. When Blanton Creque went down with an injury, the kicking situation was up in the air and struggled the rest of the year. If the game comes down to the wire this year, Louisville will have better success relying on the offense than the kicking.
Expect Louisville to win by a bigger margin this year. With a year of experience under their belt, the offense should have a better understanding of the playbook.
Put this game down as a win for Louisville with a final score of 42-17.