Governor’s Cup 2013 – UK/UL Football Matchup

by Cody Thomas
When a highly ranked team walks into Commonwealth Stadium there is more buzz than usual. Add to the ranking an in state rival who boasts an undefeated record, has a heisman candidate under center, and plans of winning the national title and you’ve got 50,000 screaming fans with hopes that UK can upset the Cardinals and knock them off their tracks.¬†
Saturday the Cards walk in to Commonwealth as a 14 point favorite and are expected to go undefeated this season. Kentucky who is (1-1) looks to contain Bridgewater and their highly efficient offense with their talented defensive ends and key blitzes. It’s known that the Kentucky secondary is the weakest link on the defensive side of the ball so pressure will be the key to help out the defensive backs. Nate Willis (JuCo transfer and cornerback) needs to have a breakout game to help out the Wildcats’ defense.
Other keys for Kentucky to keep it close are for the offense to stay on the field so the defense can rest. With Neal Brown’s uptempo offense he can wear out his own defense if they go 3 and out too many times. ¬†Kentucky also needs to have a good run game to help out the offenses play action passing. An interesting stat is that in the modern era (last 17 years) the team with the most rushing yards won the game. If Kentucky has success running it also helps keep the clock running and Teddy off the field. Also they need to score touchdowns in the red zone. Field goals are fine but to beat a better team putting the most points on the board can put more pressure on the opposing team to score.
Keys for Louisville to stay undefeated are to protect the football. Turnovers keep less talented teams in games. The next key is to keep Teddy protected. The offensive line will have to pick up the different blitzes and stunts Kentucky will show them. The biggest key is for Louisville to take this game serious.
If Louisville remembers no one gave them a chance against a SEC and 13 point favorite Florida in the Sugar Bowl last year. Louisville came out and smacked Florida in the mouth and used the underdog status to fire them up and beat the brakes off Florida.
Rivalry games are different than an out of conference game due to the energy from the fans all the way down to the players and coaching staff.
Look for a shootout tomorrow at noon or a blowout from the Cardinals. Remember this is only the third game Mark Stoops and his staff have gotten a chance to implement their system to a young Wildcat team. Maxwell Smith will get the start but Jalen Whitlow will get plenty of snaps on offense. Kentucky needs someone to step up and make a big play whether it be on offense or defense.
Kickoff is at noon so hopefully both teams will be awake and focused. Look for a great game to watch and hopefully a thrilling finish.