I know recently, for me at least, it's been easy to kid ourselves and think that it's basketball season already. It's not, and the WVU football team still has three key matchups left on the schedule. Shockingly enough, the Big East title could still end up in Morgantown if the 'Eers can win out and get some help from some others in the conference.
Last weekend, WVU dispatched the Cincinnatti Bearcats with ease, and it seemed like all was right again in the House of Stewart. Today, versus the Louisville Cardinals, the Mountaineers need to build on that momentum and continue to do the things they did well last week. That means turning Geno Smith loose to throw the football, and keep throwing. We may be at the point in the season where each team knows who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how to best utilize them. I hope the Mountaineers understand that that means moving the ball in the air and playing stout defense. At this point, I'm not convinced that the offensive line can knock people off of their blocks enough to spring the Mountaineer running backs, so I think if the coaches let Geno throw quick short pass routes then that weakness won't be completely exposed.
Louisville, under new head coach Charlie Strong, is a team on the rise. The Kragthorpe era at Louisville was absolutely dreadful, and what was a national program under Bobby Petrino had faded away into obscurity. When Strong got to campus this year, Louisville stormed back. The Cardinals are led by dynamic senior running back Bilal Powell. Anthony Leonard and the rest of the Mountaineer linebackers will have their hands full trying to keep the Louisville run-game in check. Luckily for fans of the gold n' blue, stopping the run has been one of their strong suits this season. If the WVU D can control the game, it should be a long afternoon for the Louisville offense.
I expect this game to be tight throughout. Louisville hasn't been blown away by anyone this season, and this Cardinal team is just a few plays away from having a much better record than the 5-5 they currently possess. As for the Mountaineers, I would like to think that all of their offensive woes were healed and forgotten last week, but we all know how unlikely that is. The best case scenario for the 'Eers is to score early and build enough of a lead to let the defense take control of the tempo of the game. If that doesn't happen, and the Cardinals are allowed to hang around, then this one could go either way.
Check back mid-game for updates and as always..... Let's Go Mountaineers!