Beginning the season as one of the top teams in the nation from a weak conference, the Louisville Cardinals were expected to run the table and finish the 2013 campaign with a perfect record. However, they have already dropped to the UCF Knights in improbable fashion and are in danger of not winning the AAC.
On the other side of the field, the Houston Cougars will give the Cardinals some fits in a late-season matchup between two of the best teams in the conference. If there is any team left on the Cardinals’ schedule that can beat them, it’s the 7-2 Cougars and maybe one other team. This will be a battle for second place — depending on what UCF does — in the conference standings.
Louisville is led by Heisman-hopeful quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who was considered a top pick in next year’s draft at the beginning of the season, but some struggles have led to a slight drop in his stock — even if it’s just a couple picks lower. He has passed for 2,845 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season, connecting with Damian Copeland the most out of any receiver. Copeland leads the team with 39 catches to go along with 569 yards and four scores while DeVante Parker is close behind with 32 catches for 528 yards and eight touchdowns. Nine different receivers have over 100 yards on the season.
Houston has always been known for having one of the best passing offenses in the nation. Freshman quarterback John O’Korn is continuing that tradition as the Cougars rank 17th in the nation in passing yards per game. O’Korn has passed for 2,352 yards and 23 touchdowns to go along with just six interceptions and a 63.1 completion percentage. His favorite wide out, by far, has been Deontay Greenberry who has caught 70 passes for 1,042 yards and nine touchdowns. The run game isn’t as productive, but Ryan Jackson leads the way with 543 yards and five touchdowns.
Defensively, Houston has been improved its scoring defense from years past, ranking 30th in points against per game. However, the yards allowed per game has not been pretty, ranking 85th in the nation. Louisville is one of the top defensive units in the nation, ranking first in points allowed and second in yards allowed per game.
Houston will travel to Louisville to take on the Cardinals at 7 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 16. The game will be broadcasted on ESPNU.
PREDICTION: Houston 21, Louisville 34