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    Kentucky vs Louisville: A look at the Cardinals

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    Overall, the Cardinals return 15 starters from last year's co-Big East champion team. Louisville surprised many last year with a 5-2 conference record, a Belk Bowl appearance, and an overall winning record of 7-6, with a lot of young players.

    The Cardinals are led by sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who had a stellar freshman season with 2,129 passing yards and 14 touchdowns, with 12 interceptions. Bridgewater may be the best quarterback in the Big East, and he came off the bench to lead the Cardinals to an upset win over Kentucky at Commonwealth last year. Fellow sophomore Eli Rogers may be the main guy at receiver for Bridgewater, and he had an excellent freshman season with 41 receptions and more than 450 yards receiving. If not Rogers, the Cardinals will look to DeVante Parker, a 6'3 WR who only caught 18 passes last season, but six for touchdowns.

    Louisville has a complicated rushing attack, with a wildcat package, and returns Dominique Brown, who divided time last season with Vic Anderson in the backfield. Brown is a big back (6'2, 226) who rushed for more than 500 yards last year and four touchdowns, and was U of L's leading rusher against Kentucky last season with 91 yards on 14 carries. Jeremy Wright (5'11, 205) and Senorise Perry (6'0, 198) are also expected to contribute to the Cards' rushing attack. The rushing game has been uber-important in the Kentucky - Louisville series, with the team winning the rushing battle winning the last 16 games.

    Kentucky's offense will face a Louisville Cardinal defense that returns nine starters from last year's nationally ranked defense (# 23), including an excellent secondary returning four starters. One of those is junior strong safety and potential All-American Hakeen Smith, a first team All-Big East selection last season. Smith's presence will have his namesake at Kentucky--quarterback Maxwell Smith--paying close attention.

    The Cardinals tout their defensive line as easily the deepest part of their roster, and reports are, they are very confident in their ability to put pressure on Kentucky quarterback Maxwell Smith. Marcus Smith and B.J. Dubose will present challenges to the Kentucky offensive line to protect Smith and give him time to find open Kentucky receiver.

    If there's a large Achille's heel for Louisville, from practice reports, it appears to be their kicking game, which has struggled. Head coach Charlie Strong said "we're missing a lot of field goals in practice; there's no consistency at all." This week's depth chart showed John Wallace (6-0 188 r-Fr.) or Matthew Nakatani (5-8 175 So.) assuming the kicking duties, with no designated starter yet.
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