Louisville Cardinals at Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Thursday, November 29, 2012, 4:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
High Point Solutions Stadium – Piscataway, New Jersey
Opening Line: Rutgers -2 1/2
Current Line: Rutgers -3
Opening Total: 43 1/2
Current Total: 43 1/2
Opening Money Line: Rutgers -140 / Louisville +120
Current Money Line: Rutgers -140 / Louisville +120
Both Louisville and Rutgers are 9-2, but are coming off disappointing losses last week. The Cardinals lost in triple overtime 23-20 at home to Connecticut, and Rutgers lost 27-6 at Pitt. Despite this, Rutgers and Louisville will play Thursday night with the Big East title on the line. Rutgers is 5-1 in conference and will win the Big East title outright with a win Thursday and clinch a BCS bowl berth. Louisville is 4-2 and must beat Rutgers to force a 3 or 4 way tie depending on who wins between Connecticut and Cincinnati Saturday. Syracuse is finished with a 5-2 conference record, and Cincinnati is 4-2. The tiebreaker will be whichever team finishes highest in the BCS standings, but none of the 4 teams are currently in the top 25. However, the winner of Louisville-Rutgers will likely be in the final BCS standings next week.
Rutgers leads the series 7-4 against Louisville, including 4-1 in Piscataway. The Cardinals have won the last two meetings including 16-14 in Louisville last year.
After a 9-0 start Louisville has lost two straight games under coach Charlie Strong. Aside from the UConn loss, the Cardinals also lost at Syracuse 45-26. Louisville has home wins over Kentucky 32-14, Missouri St 35-7, North Carolina 39-34, South Florida 27-25, Cincinnati 34-31 in overtime, and Temple 45-17, along with road wins at Florida International 28-21, Southern Miss 21-17, and Pitt 45-35. The Cardinals are 4-7 ATS and the total is 6-4 this season. Louisville was a 10 point favorite in the UConn game and the total was 46.
Louisville is averaging 431.3 yards per game on offense, including 296.5 passing and 134.8 rushing yards. The Cardinals are outscoring opponents 32-25 this season. Louisville is +7 in turnovers with 11 giveaways. The Cardinals are averaging 56.9 penalty yards per game and have allowed 23 sacks. Louisville is 83/163 on third and fourth down conversions, and 44/46 scoring in the red zone with 32 touchdowns. The Cardinals are allowing 345.5 yards per game on defense, including 185.5 passing (#14 nationally) and 159.9 rushing yards. Louisville has forced 18 turnovers and 19 sacks. Cardinal opponents are 69/166 on third and fourth down conversions and 33/38 scoring in the red zone with 26 touchdowns.
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has completed 247 of 359 passes (68.8%) for 3,189 yards with 23 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, along with a rushing touchdown. He has been sacked 20 times. He is probable with a fractured wrist on his non-throwing hand and a sprained ankle. If Bridgewater can’t go, Will Stein will get the start. Stein has only thrown 23 passes this season but he and Bridgewater platooned last year at quarterback.
Running back Jeremy Wright has 164 carries, 723 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 33 catches for 265 yards. Senorise Perry ha5 136 carries, 705 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 18 catches for 181 yards. He is out for the season with a leg injury. Bridgewater has 68 carries, but no other Cardinal has more than 5 carries. Receiver DeVante Parker has 35 catches, 683 yards and 8 touchdowns. Damian Copeland has 42 catches, 539 yards and a touchdown. Andrell Smith has 27 catches, 417 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Eli Rogers has 38 catches, 387 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Rutgers is coached by Kyle Flood, in his first year. The other loss for Rutgers came at home to current #17 Kent St 35-23. The Scarlet Knights have home wins over Howard 26-0, Connecticut 19-3, Syracuse 23-15, and Army 28-7, along with road wins at Tulane 24-12, South Florida 23-13, Arkansas 35-26, Temple 35-10, and Cincinnati 10-3. Rutgers is 7-4 ATS and the total is 3-7.
Rutgers is averaging 341.4 yards per game on offense, including 208.9 passing yards and 132.5 rushing yards. The Knights are outscoring teams 23-14 this season. Rutgers is 90th or worse in all offensive categories out of 124 teams. The Scarlet Knights are +11 in turnovers with 17 turnovers. Rutgers averages 64.5 penalty yards per game and has allowed 8 sacks this season. The Knights are 59/159 on third and fourth down conversions and 22/31 scoring in the red zone with 16 touchdowns. On defense, Rutgers is allowing 317.4 yards per game, including 206.6 passing yards and 110.7 rushing yards. The Knights are in the top 15 nationally in total defense and against the run, and #4 in scoring defense. Rutgers has forced 28 turnovers and 19 sacks. Scarlet Knight opponents are 63/175 on third and fourth down conversions and 20/32 scoring in the red zone with 13 touchdowns. Rutgers has 6 defensive/special teams touchdowns this season.
Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova has completed 191 of 320 passes (59.7%) for 2,282 yards with 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He has been sacked 8 times. Nova is questionable with a back injury. If Nova can’t go it will be junior Chas Dodd who has attempted one pass this year. Dodd and Nova platooned last year at quarterback.
Running back Jawan Jamison has 227 carries, 1,004 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 26 catches, 308 yards and 2 touchdowns. Savon Huggins has 101 carries, 362 yards, and 2 touchdowns, along with 5 catches for 21 yards. Receiver Brandon Coleman has 37 catches, 563 yards and 9 touchdowns. Mark Harrison has 37 catches, 429 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tim Wright has 35 catches, 422 yards and 2 touchdowns. Quron Pratt and D.C. Jefferson each have 18 catches. Three Rutgers defensive linemen are out for the season. Kicker Kyle Federico is doubtful with a hip injury but he and Nick Borgese split the kicking duties.
Louisville is 5-0 ATS after allowing less than 275 yards, 6-1 after a straight up loss, 5-1 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 4-1 after rushing for 100 yards or less, 12-4 in road games against teams against teams with winning home records, 6-2 against teams with winning records, 1-4 in Big East games, in road games, and overall, and 1-5 on fieldturf. Five of the last six games in this series have gone over the total.
Rutgers is 4-0 after rushing for less than 100 yards and after passing for less than 170 yards, 5-1 in Big East games, after a straight up loss of 20 points or more, after gaining less than 275 total yards, and on fieldturf, 4-1-1 after a straight up loss, 4-1 in Thursday games, after failing to cover, and against teams with winning records, 7-2 overall, 5-2 at home, and in November. The home team is 5-2 ATS in this series recently and the favorite has covered the last 5.
Louisville is 3-18 all-time in road games against ranked opponents straight up. Rutgers has allowed only 71 points in Big East games this season. The Knights are trying to get only their third 10 win season in the program’s 110 year history. I think they get it, despite the injuries to quarterbacks on both sides. Rutgers has a very good defense and i think that will be the difference in a close low scoring game.
Our college football handicappers are the best in the business. Our experts are heating up as the bowl season fast approaches.