Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-3 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. Louisville Cardinals (4-7 SU, 4-6 ATS), 11:00 a.m. EST, Friday, November 27, 2009, Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky. TV: ESPN2
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Rutgers -4/Louisville +4
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Louisville tries to end its season at home on a good note, while Rutgers tries to bounce back from a disappointing loss, as the Cardinals host the Scarlet Knights on Black Friday.
Rutgers got a huge win over South Florida, 31-0, two weeks ago. It got the Scarlet Knights their straight win to improve to 7-2 and they were on the verge of breaking into the top 25. But then they had the ultimate let-down game at Syracuse last week, losing the game 31-13. Now, the Scarlet Knights will try to bounce back from that disappointing loss and get some momentum going into next week’s clash against West Virginia.
Louisville’s season will end on Friday, as the Cardinals are just 4-7 after a disappointing season and will not go to a bowl game. The Cardinals’ only Big East win was a 10-9 win at home over Syracuse. To their credit, the Cardinals have played better over the past three weeks, getting the win over Syracuse and losing by eight points to West Virginia and by 12 points to South Florida. But the Cardinals haven’t scored more than 25 points in any of their last nine games. The only way they can stay in games is by playing solid defense because their offense doesn’t give them much.
In the win over Syracuse, Louisville only had 151 total yards of offense. Cardinals quarterback Adam Froman, who threw the game-winning touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to Josh Chichester, was 9-for-18 for 117 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Running back Darius Ashley had 14 carries for 46 yards.
Ashley has 416 rushing yards this season and three touchdowns, while Victor Anderson leads the Cardinals in rushing with 473 yards and five touchdowns. Louisville has been threw three different quarterbacks this season, but Froman, the current starting QB, has 1,100 passing yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions.
In Rutgers’ loss to Syracuse, freshman quarterback Tom Savage had his worst performance of the year, going 7-for-17 for 66 yards and two interceptions. Even worse than those numbers, he was sacked nine times. Rutgers ran for only 26 yards on the ground. If the Scarlet Knights are going to win at Louisville and next week against West Virginia, their offensive line will have to play much better than their terrible performance against Syracuse.
Savage has thrown for 1,601 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. Running back Joe Martinek has 794 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. About two thirds of the passes for Rutgers have gone to either Tim Brown or Mohamed Sanu. Brown has 44 receptions for 927 yards and seven touchdowns, while Sanu has 40 catches for 427 yards and one touchdown.
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Last season, Rutgers won 63-14 over Louisville. The Louisville defense had no answer for the Rutgers passing attack, as then-quarterback Mike Teel threw for 447 yards and seven touchdowns while completing 21 of 26 pass attempts. In that game, Brown had four receptions for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
The total has gone under in six of Louisville’s last nine games. The Cardinals are 4-1 SU this season at home. The total has gone under in four of Rutgers’ last five games. The Scarlet Knights are 5-1 SU in their last six road games and 7-1 ATS in their last eight road games.
Ryno’s Pick: Rutgers won this game 63-14 last season and the Scarlet Knights are close to as good as they were last season. Louisville isn’t any better than it was last season. Sure, this game is at Louisville and not at Rutgers, but that shouldn’t matter too much. Teel absolutely destroyed the Louisville defense last season. Savage isn’t as good as a freshman as Teel was as a senior last year, but he still should be able to pick apart the Louisville secondary and put up some impressive numbers, as long as the offensive line performs better than it did against Syracuse. Louisville hasn’t scored more than 22 points in any of its last four games, and Rutgers hadn’t scored less than 27 points in any of its last three games prior to the loss to Syracuse. Savage should dominate this game, as should Martinek, and Rutgers will bounce back from its loss to Syracuse with an easy win over Louisville. Take Rutgers -4.