Dominant Louisville defense to stump a familiar foe

09/30/2014 04:49 PM

By Rachel Harris:

From the Big East to the ACC, Syracuse and Louisville are familiar opponents. But since last meeting in 2012, both have undergone many changes, most of which have come in the coaching department.

The two teams have met 12 times, splitting the series evenly at 6-6. So if history is any indicator, a battle between the Cards and Orange should be fairly even, making the game’s outcome tough to predict.

Similar to the struggling Louisville offense, Syracuse is stalling out. The team is picking up yards and putting up good numbers, but they’re not finishing drives and are failing to put points on the board.

Both the Cards and Orange are in the middle of the pack nationally in terms of offensive efficiency. But unlike UofL who ranks 12th in the country in third down conversion rate, SU is near the bottom of the barrel, placing 105th out of 124 FBS teams.

Also on offense, the Cards have surrendered 11 turnovers (9 fumbles, 2 interceptions), compared to just three giveaways for the Orange. That stat obviously favors Syracuse, but that’s about the only advantage the ACC foe holds.

The real strength for Louisville is on defense. The buzz nationally has surrounded the Cards playmaking, which is ranked third overall in total defense. Syracuse has the nation’s 51st ranked defense, and they’ve given up points in bunches to just about every opponent this season.

Defensive dominance has been a theme at UofL, dating back to the previous coaching staff under Charlie Strong. The Louisville football program has been holding opponents to an astonishing 13 points-per-game over the last 11 games. Judging by the results through five games under current defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, the trend will likely continue.

Louisville’s domineering defense is forcing turnovers, making plays, and halting opponents. This could be a dangerous match up for the already troubled Syracuse offense.

Head coach Bobby Petrino will enter the game with an overall record of 73-14 against unranked opponents. That record will be put to the test against the Orange, and it will be interesting to see how the game plays out.

Will the UofL defense continue to dictate the flow of games, or will Syracuse’s offense finally find the end zone instead of racking up yards to no avail? Only time will tell, and fans will get to see for themselves this Friday at 7 p.m. ET when the teams kickoff at the unfriendly/unwelcoming confines of the Carrier Dome.


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