We take a look at the five Louisville football players that you need to be watching for whenever the Cards take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Saturday.
As much as the national media wants to hate on Louisville football’s remaining three games, they actually are three pretty solid teams. Okay, maybe other than the Kentucky Wildcats, but that will be settled in just a few weeks Cardinal fans.
Louisville moved up to number six in the country after beating Boston College last weekend. Lamar Jackson’s seven touchdowns changed the way the Eagles approached the game, which ended up being their downfall on offense.
If it wasn’t for a Lamar Jackson fumble, I don’t think that the Eagles would have scored at all.
The Cardinals will now turn their focus towards a 6-3 Wake Forest football team that will be looking to wreck Louisville’s season.
While they haven’t been great against ranked teams, they still have a few players that make us pump the brakes on a Cardinal’s blow-out victory.
However, Louisville has some phenomenal athletes as well and we rank the five players to watch on Saturday in the pages that follow.
Nov 5, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston College Eagles wide receiver Thadd Smith (18) is tackled by Louisville Cardinals line backer Devonte Fields (92) during the first quarter at Boston College at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Linebacker, University of Louisville
I feel like we all keep waiting for Fields to have his breakout game this year, but it has yet to happen. He has been a bit banged up and teams have focused their blocking assignments on him, but he better start producing if he wants to live up to the 1st round pick grade that was given to him before the season.
His breakout game may come on Saturday against Wake Forest. Even though they are 6-3, the Demon Deacons are a lot like Boston College because of their solid defense, but terrible offense.
They don’t have a strong rushing offense, as they are only 8th in the conference, therefore Louisville should put Wake Forest in many 3rd down situations. When that happens, Fields should have numerous opportunities to come off the edge and bring down the quarterback.
With only three regular season games left, look for Fields to turn up the heat on Saturday.
Oct 29, 2016; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Louisville Cardinals cornerback Jaire Alexander (10) runs with the ball after intercepting a pass as Virginia Cavaliers running back Albert Reid (2) chases in the third quarter at Scott Stadium. The Cardinals won 32-25. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Cornerback, University of Louisville
Wake Forest is the best team in the entire ACC in turnover ratio and Louisville is one of the worst, hands down. This is where Alexander can significantly help the Cards on Saturday by forcing a few turnovers of his own. Not to mention, he can also help by not fumbling the punt returns as well.
He has made the big plays when Louisville has needed him the most this season. He had huge games against Clemson, Florida State, and Virginia. If he can have another game with at least one interception, then the Cards should come out on top.
As only a Sophomore, Alexander has five interceptions through nine games in the 2016 season. Wake Forest struggles to move the football and if Alexander be the play-maker we know he is, then Louisville will shut them down.
Look for Alexander to either have a big return of turnover against the Demon Deacons on Saturday.
Oct 22, 2016; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals running back Jeremy Smith (34) runs the ball against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the second half at Papa John
Running Back, University of Louisville
Where in the world has Jeremy Smith been over the past two weeks for the Louisville football team? He has only rushed for three yards in the last two games against Virginia and Wake Forest. This is very concerning for Louisville’s running game going forward.
Don’t get me wrong, Lamar Jackson can carry this rushing attack by himself, but is that really what’s best for the football team? How many hits can he absorb in one season?
Louisville is going to get into a game like Duke where it’s raining and they need to pound the football on the ground. As great as Jackson is, that is a scenario where you have to turn around and hand off the football.
Radcliff hasn’t been getting the job done and neither has Smith, hopefully they both van turn some heads this weekend.
Nov 5, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Louisville Cardinals wide receiver James Quick (17) is picked up by offensive lineman Geron Christian (74) after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Wide Reciever, University of Louisville
We were pretty tough on James Quick going into the game against Boston College. After having a great start to the season, he took a huge U-turn and went into a production-hole. However, he rose to the challenge and had a fantastic game against the Eagles.
James Quick has 3 receptions for 78 yards and two touchdowns in the Cards’ win over the Boston College Eagles last weekend.
With that being said, how will Quick respond in his second-to-last home game at the University of Louisville?
The Demon Deacons have some solid players in their secondary and it would help Lamar Jackson if Quick didn’t get a case of the drops on Saturday.
However, I don’t think he will. Quick should have another solid performance for the Cards.
Oct 29, 2016; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Louisville Cardinals defensive tackle DeAngelo Brown (97) lines up against the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive Lineman, University of Louisville
James Hearns has been leading the Louisville football team in tackles for loss most of the 2016 season. However, Senior DeAngelo Brown had a great game against Boston College and is on Hearns’ heels with 7.5 tackles for loss.
Brown recovered one fumble, had two tackles, and two more tackles for loss against the Eagles last Saturday.
It’s going to be important that Louisville controls the line of scrimmage against Wake Forest on Saturday. We all saw how easily the Cards could be beaten if they don’t dominate the trenches. Let’s hope Wake Forest’s strong front seven doesn’t impact the game.
On the other side of the football, Louisville needs their older guys to step up and dominate the Demon Deacon’s O-line.
Look for DeAngelo Brown to lead the Cardinals’ to a huge win over 6-3 Wake Forest.