Date/Time: October 10, 2013 7:30 pm EST
College Football Betting Favorite: Louisville -17
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are coming off a triple overtime win at SMU last week. Rutgers comes into this game at 4-1. Louisville enters with a top ten ranking and a perfect 5-0 record. The Cardinals haven’t been tested all year. They have won each of their five games by a minimum of two touchdowns. Can Rutgers give the Cardinals a test on Thursday night?
Rutgers came out on top in triple overtime last week. The Scarlet Knights only loss of the season was in their season opener against Fresno State. The Bulldogs beat Rutgers 52-51 in overtime after Rutgers went for two and failed at the end of the first overtime. Rutgers ranks 60th in the nation in both rushing offense and passing offense. Basically, the Scarlet Knights are a mediocre offense in every aspect. Gary Nova has thrown for 1,171 yards and 13 touchdowns so far this year. Savon Huggins has been a disappointment at running back again this year, and Paul James has turned into the team’s starting running back.
Defensively, Rutgers is extremely strong up front. The Scarlet Knights are giving up only 70.6 yards per game on the ground. The defensive front does a very good job getting a strong push into the backfield. The run defense is great, but the same can’t be said for the Rutgers secondary. Rutgers is allowing 306.2 yards per game through the air so far this season. The Louisville coaching staff have to know this weakness, and the Cardinals have the perfect quarterback to torch this secondary.
Louisville is one of those teams that could easily go undefeated, but not get to the BCS Championship game. The Cardinals play such a soft schedule that they aren’t likely to be in the good graces of the BCS rankings system. Still, Louisville has to take care of their own business first, and then see where the chips fall around them. The Cardinals are winning by an average of almost 40 points through their first five games of the season. The Louisville defense is giving up just 6.8 points per game, which is the single best mark of any team in the country. Charlie Strong has really focused on improving this defense, and it seems to be working well.
Teddy Bridgewater is a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender, and he has been terrific so far this year. Bridgewater is completing 72% of his passes, and he has thrown 16 touchdowns and only one interception. Six receivers have at least 12 catches so far this year for Louisville, so Bridgewater does a great job spreading the football around. Louisville has three running backs who see a lot of action, and the Cardinals are a much more balanced team than they were last season. That should help them when they get up against quality defenses.
Free Pick: Louisville -17
Louisville has to impress the voters all season long, and they’ll be on national television in the spotlight here. The Cardinals should come out ready to play against a Rutgers team with plenty of flaws.
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