Despite the losses of quarterback Brian Brohm and running back Michael Bush, Louisville has still managed a 4-0 start, but it’s apparent that the offense has taken a major hit. Louisville remains the top offensive team in the country because of early season pushovers, but in its last game against K-State, which was the first game without both Bush and Brohm, the offense was not a smooth sailing ship. I’m not going to try to make you believe that Middle Tennessee State has a chance in this one, but the Blue Raiders have been impressive at times this season. They played Maryland tough in a 24-10 loss on the road in week two and they shutout North Texas 35-0 last week.
Louisville’s defense has helped carry the Cardinals in the absence of its two preseason Heisman trophy candidates. The Cardinals’ defense has allowed just 13 points in their last three games and it is very capable of pitching a shutout in this one. However, there are two big factors to consider. The game will be played in front of the Blue Raiders home crowd and Louisville has a huge target on its back. Those are two huge motivational factors that should have the Blue Raiders laying it all out on the line in a nothing-to-lose situation.
Another thing to consider is how Middle Tennessee State will decide to play in this one? If they play to win and take lots of chances on offense with trick plays and plays down the field, we could see several costly turnovers out of the Raiders which could lead to easy scoring opportunities for the Cards. If they play not to lose with conservative play calling, they should be able to keep the clock rolling and keep the score somewhat close in the first half. One area where trick plays could be very effective in Friday night’s game is in special teams situations. Trick plays are very difficult to prepare for. A well planned fake punt could give the Blue Raiders a big play and a huge momentum booster in this one and I believe that Middles Tennessee State will have at least one good trick up its sleeve.
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Jimmy Boyd is a documented member of the Professional Handicappers League. Read all of his articles at http://www.procappers.com/Jimmy_Boyd.htm