Lyle McCombs and the Connecticut Huskies (4-5) square off against the Louisville Cardinals (5-5) as both teams continue their search for the all-important sixth bowl-clinching win on Saturday at Rentscheler Field in East Hartford, CT.
(Sports Network) - Louisville will travel to East Hartford to take on Connecticut in Big East action.
The Cardinals' three-game win streak was snapped last week as they fell to Pittsburgh 21-14 in front of the Louisville Faithful. Head coach Charlie Strong is now 12-11 as he nears the end of his second season at the helm of the program. Strong was the 2010 Big East Coach of the Year in his rookie season as a head coach after leading Louisville to a bowl game victory.
Connecticut is now 4-5 after defeating the Orange of Syracuse 28-21 on November 5th. A win over Louisville would bring the Huskies their first winning streak of the season as they have been unable to string together consecutive wins together this season. The Huskies had a bye last week so they should be well rested for this one.
The Cardinals and Huskies are meeting for the eighth time with Louisville winning four of the seven. Louisville recorded its first ever Big East shutout in its victory over Connecticut last year. The Huskies have won three of the last four in the series, including the last two contests in East Hartford. Louisville is 1-2 all-time at Connecticut.
The Cardinals have struggled offensively as their offense is ranked 104th in the nation with 326.6 yards per game. Louisville has averaged just 19.3 points per game this year. The Panthers shut down the Cardinals attack holding Louisville to just 280 yards and 14 points.
Teddy Bridgewater has had an up-and-down rookie year as quarterback. The freshman has thrown for 1440 yards, nine touchdowns, and eight interceptions in his rookie campaign. Bridgewater had his best game of the season in the 38-35 upset win over West Virginia as he completed 21-of-27 attempts for 246 yards and a touchdown. Last week Bridgewater had 219 total yards and one touchdown in the loss to Pittsburgh.
Louisville had a three-headed rushing attack as Vic Anderson, Dominique Brown, and Jeremy Wright have all been involved in the offense. The trio has total of 1051 yards this season.
Louisville's defense is very talented as it is ranked 23rd in the nation with 329.4 yards allowed per game. The Cardinals are holding opponents to just 18.6 points per game. The 7.4 tackles for per game and 14th ranking nationally in sacks per game by the Cardinals exhibits their aggressive nature on the defensive side of the ball. Dexter Heyman and Preston Brown are tied for the team-lead in tackles with 70 a piece. Hakeem Smith tied his career-high with 13 tackles against Pitt. Deiontrez Mount recorded a sack in his first career start last week against the Panthers.
Connecticut has struggled offensively all season as it has scored more than 21 points just three times. The Huskies 318.78 yards per game ranks 107th in the nation. The offense revolves heavily around its star running back Lyle McCombs. The freshman tailback has rushed for over 100 yards in his last three appearances. McCombs enters the Louisville game just 19 shy of 1000 yards for the year.
The Huskies' aerial attack has struggled recently as Johnny McEntee has not eclipsed 200 yards passing in his last five outings. McEntee had a streak of five straight without an interception before throwing two picks against the Orange. The junior signal caller now has 1515 yards this year with nine touchdowns and six interceptions.
The Connecticut defense is allowing 372.4 yards per game. The rushing defense that has been suffocating opposing tailbacks, is ranked sixth best in the nation. Jory Johnson leads the Huskies defense with 74 tackles and Trevardo Williams is ranked third in the Big East with 6.5 sacks.
These squads are very similar in that they both have struggled offensively but are very sound defensively. If Louisville can contain McCombs, it should be able to pull out a victory. However, that is much easier said than done.
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 19th, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rentschler Stadium (40,000) -- East Hartford, Connecticut .Television: ESPN. Home Record: UL 3-3, UConn 2-3. Away Record: UL 2-2, UConn 1-3. Neutral Record: UL 0-0, UConn 0-0. Conference Record: UL 3-2, UConn 2-2. Series Record: UL leads, 4-3.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Connecticut 27, Louisville 24.