Who: Louisville Cardinals
When: Noon, Saturday November 5, 2011
Where: High Milan Puskar Stadium
What to Watch For When The ‘Eers Have the Ball: Drives. I’m sure WVU will score. Heck, I KNOW WVU can score. What I’m still not convinced of is whether or not they can put together scoring drives. Right now, WVU has issues on defense, so simply holding onto the football and picking up first downs is extremely beneficial. The Mountaineers have had trouble moving the chains on third down, and that will be what the Cards focus on. Louisville has only allowed sixteen points per contest so far this season, and they’ve done that by getting off the field on third down. Whoever wins the WVU third down battle, will win this game.
What to Watch For When The Cardinals Have the Ball: The continuing development of Teddy Bridgewater. The freshman QB has shown improvement in his short time at Louisville, and if he’s looking to showcase his skill, the WVU defense is the place to do it. The Mountaineers have struggled to get any pressure on the quarterback this season, which has cost them dearly. The longer Cardinal receivers are running wild, the more likely it seems that Bridgewater will find them for big yardage. WVU will have to get in his face, or he could keep the Cards in it much longer than most Mountaineer fans feel comfortable.
The Mountaineers Will Roll If: They can play to their skill level. On paper, Geno Smith should shred this defense, and the Mountaineer D should have no problem flummoxing a freshman quarterback. If things happen the way they’re supposed to happen, this won’t be close. Problem is, college football rarely turns out the way it’s "supposed" to.
The Mountaineers Will Have Trouble If: They can’t get off of the field on third down, and can’t pressure the quarterback. The Big East has been so topsy turvy this season, there are no surprises left in conference. If Louisville picks up their third downs, and WVU fails to convert on theirs, it will be a closely contested ballgame.
Thing That Makes My Blood Boil: If the Mountaineers continue to fail to put together a complete football game. Look, I’m sure WVU can roll over the Cards while only playing one or two quarters of decent football. Despite manhandling Syracuse last weekend, Louisville is just not that good. That said, the Mountaineers inability to put together four quarters of decent football is disconcerting. It will be hard to WVU win out if they keep playing as sloppy as they have thus far this season. Next year’s presumptive move to the Big 12 could be a rude awakening for WVU if these young Mountaineers don’t learn consistency, and quickly.