Louisville has continued its ascension up the BCS standings and
is the Big East’s last unbeaten team, but it’s made a habit of
living dangerously throughout the season.
The 12th-ranked Cardinals hope things get a little easier
Saturday as they look to move to 9-0 for the first time in school
history with a win over a visiting Temple squad coming off
back-to-back blowout defeats.
Louisville improved to 3-0 in the Big East with last week’s
34-31 overtime win over Cincinnati and jumped from 16th to 10th in
the latest BCS standings.
“It is good for our players,” coach Charlie Strong said. “I tell
them all the time, ‘Anything that happens with this football
program is because of what you have done and, when you let the
outside look in and see how hard you are playing and just what you
are bringing to this university, it is really great.'”
The Cardinals, though, trailed by 10 points on two separate
occasions and allowed the tying touchdown with just over a minute
remaining in their latest close victory. The winning field goal
came after Cincinnati called a timeout before the ensuing snap
sailed over the holder’s head, saving a potential blunder.
Louisville has trailed in five straight games and nearly blew a
29-point lead in a 39-34 win over North Carolina on Sept. 15 – one
of five games it has won by seven points or fewer.
“I would like to see us put together a 60-minute game and we
have not been able to do that,” Strong said. “We have played well
in spurts and, if you watch us offensively. And defensively, we end
up giving up a score. You would like to see us put together a
complete game – offense, defense, and then the kicking game.”
Teddy Bridgewater has been consistently good, finishing 24 of 41
for a career-best 416 yards and two touchdowns last week. The
sophomore’s 163.4 passer rating ranks 12th in FBS.
“It wasn’t easy,” Bridgewater said of the Cardinals’ 8-0 start.
“We have overcome adversity and it’s just a good feeling right
Louisville has never won its first nine games, but Temple has
lost 29 straight versus ranked opponents since beating No. 14
Virginia Tech on Oct. 17, 1998.
The Owls (3-4, 2-2) led then-No. 19 Rutgers 10-0 at halftime
Oct. 20 before allowing 35 unanswered second-half points, then were
routed 47-17 against Pittsburgh last week.
Leading rusher Montel Harris, who ran 18 times for 72 yards and
a 14-yard touchdown, said the latest defeat was especially damaging
to the team’s hopes of competing for the Big East crown. Temple
fell two games back of first-place Rutgers, which has a bye this
“Yes, this game was a must-win,” Harris said. “We weren’t able
to come out with the win and are just looking to come back for next
Temple coach Steve Addazio was the offensive coordinator when
Strong ran the defense at Florida, each helping the Gators to
national titles in 2007 and 2009 under current Ohio State coach
Heading into a contest versus his former colleague, Addazio is
keeping the team’s goal of becoming bowl eligible for the second
straight season in perspective with four games remaining.
“I think where we are as a team right now is that we have to
look directly into the next week and we just have to play as hard
as we can,” Addazio said. “Our goal was to win the (season) opener
and get bowl eligible and that goal is still in front of us.”
Louisville has won each of the last two meetings, with the
13th-ranked Cardinals beating the Owls 62-0 on Sept. 6, 2006, in
the most recent.