Louisville-Wake Forest Preview
Louisville isn't exactly happy with its offense, even after a win. Wake Forest is pretty upset about the defensive breakdowns that led to two losses.
The Cardinals (3-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) visit the Demon Deacons (3-5, 1-4) on Friday night in a matchup of Atlantic Division teams trying to claw closer to .500.
Coach Bobby Petrino, a reputed offensive wizard, isn't thrilled with an offense that ranks 91st nationally in scoring, 90th on the ground and is no higher than eighth in the ACC in any stat category.
The Cardinals haven't gained more than 406 total yards in any game against an FBS opponent, and had 370 last week against Boston College's top-ranked defense.
''I don't think we're close at all'' on offense, Petrino said. ''I'm not happy with it at all. I haven't been happy with our ability to concentrate and focus and do things right all the time. We continue to have one guy makes a mistake here, one guy here, one guy here - and that's when you're not very good. And right now, on offense, we're not very good.''
Maybe they can hit a few big plays against Wake Forest.
That plan certainly worked for North Carolina and N.C. State.
The Demon Deacons' defense has allowed seven touchdowns of 30-plus yards in the past two weeks, including four in the first quarter against the Wolfpack. That led to consecutive losses to instate rivals by a combined score of 85-31.
''I'm always proud of their effort. Our execution level, at times, stinks,'' second-year coach Dave Clawson said. ''I would say that was a really, really bad three quarters we had - the second half of North Carolina and the first quarter of N.C. State.''
Some things to know about the Louisville-Wake Forest game:
TWO QBS AGAIN: Clawson says sophomore QB John Wolford will start but freshman Kendall Hinton also will play. The coach says he kept track of the pounding a not-fully-healthy Wolford took against N.C. State - he was hit hard on 10 of his first 17 snaps. Hinton, who hurt his back earlier this month against Florida State, had a 69-yard touchdown run against the Wolfpack.
MORE LAMAR: Louisville freshman QB Lamar Jackson is 3-2 as a starter. He rushed for his sixth touchdown - the most by a Cardinals QB since Dave Ragone in 2000 - against BC and went 15 of 25 for 230 yards in the victory. Petrino says he ''continues to get better and we're excited about'' his run-pass abilities.
SIGNING DAY SPAT: Wake Forest RB Matt Colburn will go face to face with the team that spurned him back in February. Colburn committed to Louisville in June 2014 before a Cardinals assistant told him he wouldn't accept his letter of intent on signing day, instead asking him to ''grayshirt'' - or, delay his enrollment until this coming January. Clawson says Colburn ''can't get focused on who the opponent is'' but instead should lock in on his assignments.
CARDINAL D: Louisville held Boston College to 79 total yards and minus-14 yards on the ground in a 17-14 win last week. The Cardinals have the ACC's fourth-best defense against the run, allowing 122.4 ypg.
THE SERIES: This is the third meeting between the schools and it doesn't have nearly the buzz that the first meeting did - when Louisville beat Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl in January 2007, the final game of Petrino's first stint with the Cardinals. Louisville has won both games by double figures.
AP Sports Writer Aaron Beard in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and AP freelancer Ed Peak in Louisville, Kentucky, contributed to this report.
Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joedyap