Opponent: Louisville Cardinals
2022 Record: 1-2
Head Coach: Scott Satterfield (19-21, 4th year; 70-45 overall)
Date/Time/Location: Saturday, September 24, 12 p.m., Cardinal Stadium (60,000), Louisville, KY
How To Watch/Listen: ACC Network, 102.5FM, Bulls Unlimited
Series History: Louisville leads series 6-5. Last time: UofL won 34-3 in 2013 in Tampa.
The USF Bulls and Louisville Cardinals both come into this game at 1-2. Now, not every 1-2 team is created equal. For the most part, if you asked USF fans how they feel coming into this game, they’d likely be fairly optimistic about the outlook for the rest of the season. Louisville fans on the other hand? Well...less than happy.
The Cardinals are fresh off losing to the apparently rejuvenated Florida State Seminoles last Friday in a game that Noles starting QB Jordan Travis left the game early in the second quarter, but the Cards couldn’t take advantage, and it cost them dearly in the loss.
It appears like Louisville’s head coach Scott Satterfield is one (or two) bad losses away from getting fired, but that process could be sped up on Saturday if the Bulls are able to replicate what they did to the Florida Gators for 59 minutes, and 10 seconds last week. Much like UF, the Cardinals have a very talent QB in Malik Cunningham, and a horrendous defense—except they don’t have the SEC talent Florida has.
Cunningham has shown flashes of brilliance during his college career, and is closing in out breaking most, if not all, of Lamar Jackson’s Louisville records (Cunningham has played in more games). He has nine career 100+ yard rushing performances, including two this season versus Central Florida, and Florida State. He’s averaging 6.0 yards on the ground through three games. On the flip side, he hasn’t thrown the ball especially well so far this year. He’s thrown three interceptions, and just a lone touchdown. His average yards per attempt are down nearly two full yards from last season, and outside of him no one the offense really presents much of a threat.
For USF to have success, and possibly pull of the upset—which seemed bleak a week ago—they’ll have to do basically the exact thing that kept them in the game at Florida. Convert on third down, and keep Cunningham off the field. Oh, and make good snaps, and handle holding duties.
The Cardinals’ defense is allowing a paltry 6.2 YPP, and the USF defense is allowing 6.8 YPP. It’s likely to get pointsy on Saturday, but if USF can cut down the mistakes that cost them a win last week, they’ll set themselves up for a win.
Now, to the matter at hand. Can USF use last week’s close loss as a springboard into the future? The outlook of the season doesn’t change much if the Bulls lose, but if they get the doors blown off them, then all the good from the Florida game is wasted, and it was more fluke than anything substantial to build off of the rest of the season. Head coach Jeff Scott must figure out a way to get over the hump after a close loss. He hasn’t figured it out yet, and until he does, it’s going to be hard to believe he actually can.
It starts tomorrow. Just don’t poop the bed, USF.
Prediction: Louisville 42, USF 20