Louisville Football: 5 ways the Cards can beat Wake Forest on Saturday
We take a look at the five way that the Louisville football team can take down the 6-3 Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Saturday.
It’s getting extremely intense in the 2016-2017 College Football Playoff race between the six teams in the poll in week 11. Louisville football is at the backend of the six, but still has a solid chance of making a sneaky move into the top four before the year is over.
Obviously they don’t control their own destiny, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. However, all that chatter would come to an end with a loss to Wake Forest on Saturday.
With that being said, I don’t think that the Demon Deacons will go into Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium and cause complete chaos. They have a few very talented football players, but it would take another Cardinals’ meltdown to cause a loss to happen.
Even though the Demon Deacons have six wins, they haven’t beat an impressive team all year. Their six wins include: Tulane, Duke, Delaware, Indiana, Syracuse, and Virginia. To put that into perspective, the only team that has a winning record among those six are the Hoosiers.
However, there are five ways that Louisville can surely beat Wake Forest on Saturday and get themselves one step closer to the College Football Playoffs.
5. Shut down defensive lineman Duke Ejiofor
Ejiofor is one of the ACC’s best pass rushers by far. He is currently 4th in the conference with 8 sacks and first on the Demon Deacons. Not only will he be looking to continue to 2016 success by taking down Lamar Jackson, he will be looking to end the Cards’ playoff hopes on Saturday.
The good news is that Louisville has been able to neutralize great pass rushers this season because of the read-option attack. The success of the run game has been able to slow down Florida State’s Demarcus Walker and Boston College’s Harold Landry.
Those two players are first and second in the conference in sacks, but Louisville was able to slow them down and get the victory.
If they can do that again this weekend, the Cards should be just fine.
4. Stay away from Freshman cornerback Jessie Bates
Jessie Bates is probably the most dangerous player that the Demon Deacons have on their roster. As only a Freshman, Bates is second in the conference with five interceptions and leads the conference with two picks for a touchdown.
The Cardinals have struggled turning over the football this year and cannot afford Bates to return an interception or fumble on Saturday.
Therefore, Lamar Jackson needs to stay away from this guy. There will be more than anough opportunities in the passing game for Jackson that he will surely have other options.
This isn’t a game where Louisville can play it close, they need to blow Wake Forest out of the water and that starts with staying away from Jessie Bates.
3. Force quarterback John Wolford to throw the football
Wolford is not the guy that is going to have a great game and beat Louisville. However, if he does, it will be because he keeps the chains moving because of his legs. The Junior quarterback has rushed for 456 yards and six touchdowns this season, whereas he has only thrown for 1,313 yards and five touchdowns.
Not to mention, Wolford has also thrown seven interceptions this year.
The Cardinals have to be careful of letting him slip through the pressure. They let Virginia’s quarterback do that and we all saw how much that broke down the defense.
If they can get enough pressure up the middle, Louisville has enough speed on the outside to set the edge.
It’s a simple game-plan: Make Wolford throw the football.
2. Get off to a fast start on the offensive side of the football
Even though Wolford can beat teams with his legs, Wake Forest doesn’t score many points. They are actually second-to-last in the conference in points scored per game with 21.3. If the Cards can start fast, this may be another NC State game.
This may be easier said than done because of how solid their defense is, but we all heard the same thing when the Cards were about to play the NC State Wolfpack. Not to mention, we all remember what happened in that game.
Lamar Jackson will be looking to keep padding his Heisman Trophy resume and Bobby Petrino knows how important each game is going to be.
I expect Louisville to take some deep shots early in the game to try and spread the game wide open.
1. Win the turnover battle
Wake Forest is the best team in the conference in not turning over the football, yet forcing the other team to turn it over. The bad news is that the Cards are one of the worst teams in the conference in doing just that.
The only way I see Wake Forest upsetting the Cards on Saturday is if they make Lamar Jackson turnover the football.
Louisville has mostly struggled with fumbling. However, that hasn’t been Jackson’s fault, but more of the blame is on the running backs. Radcliff and Smith cannot afford to have another game where they are coughing the ball away.
If they do, expect to see a side of Bobby Petrino that we haven’t seen yet this season.
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