December 29, 2015 Louisville, KY (AnalyzedSports) :STEPHEN PATRICK
This was a roller coaster year for the Louisville Cardinals football program. The program started off rough losing three straight games to open the season. The Cardinals lost to Auburn (ranked at the time), Clemson and Houston who are playing in the Bowl 6 games; the biggest games of bowl season. The Cardinals stayed focused and bought into head coach Bobby Petrino vision. They ended the season on high note winning 7 of the last 9 and besting arch rival UK in comeback fashion to end the regular season.
Now the Music City Bowl in Nashville awaits both Louisville and Texas A&M. Both teams have quarterback issues but A&M has a dire situation. Heading into the New Year the last month has not been kind to Texas A&M. The Aggies watched their top two quarterbacks—sophomore Kyle Allen and freshman Kyler Murray announce that they’re going to transfer. The loss of two former five-star prospects means sophomore Jake Hubenak (27 pass attempts in ’15) will make his first career start.
The Louisville pass defense has been stellar as of late and this year was no different. Louisville’s ball-hawking defense finished at the top of the ACC with 16 total interceptions. Nine different players recorded picks for coordinator Todd Grantham’s unit in, led by corner Trumaine Washington (four) and Chucky Williams (three). The secondary flows well with a front seven that ranks 19th nationally with 90 tackles for loss. With an inexperienced quarterback for the Aggies the running game usually is used heavily but it may be a tough task with such a stingy defense. Texas A&M can’t run the ball (63rd nationally in rushing offense), so without the talents of Allen or Murray carrying the offense, Louisville looks to have what it takes to limit Sumlin’s offense.
On the offensive side for the Cardinals they have started three quarterbacks. In this situation each has contributed to the team’s success. Kyle Bolin, Lamar Jackson, and Reggie Bonnafon each saw action. In the Music City Bowl freshman Lamar Jackson is expected to start. The dual-threat passer averages 213.4 yards of offense per game.
Texas A&M defense certainly doesn’t want Jackson to run wild. But the task may be hard to achieve. The Aggies rank 97th in rushing defense this season. That seems to open up things for Cardinal running back Brandon Radcliff to have a huge day. It’s a good thing Louisville has a strong rushing attack because the 4th ranked passing defense of Texas A&M will be traveling to Nashville. Leading receiver Jamari Staples is questionable with a shoulder injury. Staples collected 36 balls for 610 yards and 3 touchdowns Louisville. James Quick and Jalen Smith will need to step up they combined for 62 catches for 932 yards, with Quick finding the end zone five teams.
Don’t expect an up-and-down affair. Points will be at a premium, with both teams hoping to capitalize on the other’s mistakes. Both defenses are the dominate aspect of each teams units, so a defensive battle is likely to break-out on the gridiron. Lamar Jackson’s playmaking may be the difference as Jake Hubenak inexperience may hold the Aggies down.Be Sociable, Share! Tweet
December 30, 2015 in Football. Tags: Bobby Petrino, Brandon Radcliff, Jamari Staples, James Quick, Kevin Sumlin, Kyle Allen, Kyle Bolin, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals, Music City Bowl, Reggie Bonnafon, Texas A&M, Todd Grantham
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