Louisville Cardinals at Arkansas State Red Wolves
Date – Saturday, October 2, 2010
Location- ASU Stadium, Jonesboro, Arkansas
Time – 7:00 pm
TV – none, broadcast on ESPN3.com
Radio – 840 AM WHAS
The Cards return to the field after their bye week and look to notch their second victory of the Charlie Strong era. Last time they took the field, the Cardinals acquitted themselves very well in Corvallis, but ultimately fell a score short. The bye week brought both good news and bad news for UofL. The good news was they got three solid commitments for the 2011 class, which is looking very good. The bad news was receiver Doug Beaumont had to have surgery on his knee and will be out several weeks. The Cards will now need another receiver to step up in while the reliable Beaumont is out.
The Cards faced the Red Wolves last year at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and behind the play of Will Stein, took home a 21-13 win. For the Cards to beat Arkansas State for the second strait year, they will need to play well because the Red Wolves will present a challenge, not to mention this is a huge deal to bring a BCS school into their stadium. It should be an amped up crowd in Jonesboro, as well as an amped up Arkansas State team.
About the Red Wolves
Arkansas State is 1-3 on the season with losses to #22 Auburn, Louisiana-Lafayette, and last week to Troy. Their lone win on the year came against Louisiana-Monroe 34-20. The Red Wolves feature a high powered offense that averages 28.0 points per game and 436.5 yards per game. They do most of their damage through the air as they throw for over 300 yards per game, good for 9th in the nation.
Quarterback Ryan Aplin, who is also their leading rusher, is fifth in the country in total offense averaging over 335 yards per contest. He has thrown 6 TDs on the season and completes 59% of his passes. His top target is receiver Dwayne Frampton, who has caught 23 passes for 262 yards and 2 TDs. The Red Wolves feature experience on the offensive line as they have seven seniors listed on their two deep roster. Louisville will not be able to easily push the Arkansas State front around, especially since nearly everyone up front played against the Cards last season.
Defensively, Arkansas State is just not very good. They have given up an average of 225.2 yards on the ground, and over 260 yards per game passing. In their three losses, the Red Wolves have allowed teams to score 52, 31, and 35 points, good for an average of 34.5 points per game. They rank 116th in the country in total defense. They do not get much pressure on the opposing quarterback as they have only recorded 6 sacks on the year. I could give more numbers, but simply put, the Red Wolves don’t stop anybody.
Louisville offense vs. Arkansas State defense
Louisville should be able to do whatever they want offensively. Arkansas State may line up on defense, but they play none of it. It would make sense for UofL , given how opponents have ran all over the Red Wolves, to give them a healthy dose of Bilal Powell and Victor Anderson. It’s the Cards’ biggest strength versus the Red Wolves’ biggest weakness, and I expect the Cards to exploit it.
I am not saying UofL needs to completely abandon the passing game, particularly since quarterback Adam Froman has really settled in. However, I would run the ball until Arkansas State stops them. Head coach Charlie Strong said on his radio show Thursday night, the Red Wolves play a very vanilla defense and literally said the Cards can handle them offensively. If a coach is saying that, which usually does not happen, then I think it’s safe to say they feel good about their chances.
Louisville defense vs. Arkansas State offense
This is where the game will be won in my opinion. As bad their defense is, Arkansas State’s offense is pretty good. They throw the ball all over the field and will present a challenge to the Cards’ secondary. The best way to stop the passing attack is to get pressure on the quarterback. Arkansas State’s Ryan Aplin is mobile and can make plays when gets out of the pocket, but I think you give up a couple plays with him out of the pocket versus him sitting in their with a ton of time.
Louisville will need their secondary to step up on Saturday, particularly the corners. I expect the Cards to get pretty good pressure up front, but if receivers are wide open, then it won’t matter too much. If Johnny Patrick and Bobby Burns play well, then I think it could be a long day for Arkansas State.
I’m obviously biased as a UofL fan, but I think the Cards take this one handily. Arkansas State should not stop the Cards and while I expect the Red Wolves to make some plays offensively, I don’t think they’re balanced enough to move the ball enough to win. I expect big days for Bilal Powell and Victor Anderson and the Cards to leave Jonesboro with their record even at 2-2. Louisville wins 38-24.