Marshall 17 ... at Louisville 13
Posted Oct 1, 2011

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Marshall at Louisville

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 5 - Marshall at Louisville

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Oct. 1 Marshall 17 ... at Louisville 13
CFN Analysis: Marshall might be inconsistent and it might still be figuring out what it's doing in several areas, but at 2-3, things aren't that bad. The defense did a good job against a bad Louisville offense, and Rakeem Cato came up with the big drive late to cap off an 18-of-30, 236-yard, two touchdown day. The defense camped out in the Cardinal backfield with 13 tackles for loss, five sacks, and pressure all game long that killed the running attack. The points aren't coming in bunches, and the ground game isn't working, but if the Herd can keep getting good play from the defensive front and if the mistakes can be kept to a minimum, it'll have a shot against UCF.

The Louisville defense did a nice job all game long right up until the end. It bent, but rarely broke against a horrible Marshall attack, but when the big stop was needed, it didn't come. The run defense has been terrific and the line got in the Herd backfield with 12 tackles for loss, but the offense couldn't keep drives going and the 11 penalties were a killer. Teddy Bridgewater is learning on the fly, with his two interceptions overshadowing a nice 20-of-29, 221-yard, one score, one touchdown run performance. Against North Carolina, the Cardinals have to win a turnover battle – a HUGE problem so far – and the penalties have to stop.

(AP) LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Rakeem Cato's 4-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Crawford put Marshall ahead with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter and the Thundering Herd held on to beat Louisville 17-13 on Saturday.

Omar Brown helped seal the victory with an interception of Teddy Bridgewater's pass on the second play of the ensuing drive. The ball was tipped in the air by teammate Darryl Roberts and Brown dove forward along the sideline, cradling the ball against his chest before it reached the ground.

The game-winning touchdown drive was set up by another fourth quarter interception of Bridgewater, making his first collegiate start for Louisville. Bridgewater scrambled on a third-and-9 from his own 20 and fired to Josh Bellamy along the Louisville sideline. Bellamy wrestled with Marshall's Tyson Gale for the ball along the Louisville sideline with Gale emerging with it at the Louisville 30-yard line.

Marshall (1-3) at Louisville (2-1) Oct. 1, 3:30

Here's The Deal … While Louisville made the most of its bye week, it's also eager to get back to work. When the Cardinals were last in action, they were beating rival Kentucky for the Governor's Cup. It was a huge moment for a young program that's trying to build a foundation, while wresting away some local attention from the Wildcats. With upcoming road games at North Carolina and Cincinnati, Louisville needs to hold serve on Saturday in order to bolster its postseason hopes.

Playing a tough early schedule, Marshall had a predictably bleak September that ended with last weekend's 30-10 loss to Virginia Tech. The Thundering Herd split its two winnable games, surprising Southern Miss before getting dumped hard by Ohio. The encouraging news is that its lone win over the Golden Eagles was a Conference USA game that'll provide an early edge in a tight East Division race.

Why Marshall Might Win: While the numbers haven't been there so far, the Herd defense is the stronger of the program's two units. And it'll be facing a Louisville offense that currently ranks last in the Big East in scoring. Marshall is an athletic crew, with the range and the speed to make stops for minus yards. Leading the charge will be linemen Vinny Curry and Delvin Johnson, who are going to like going up against a rebuilt Cardinals O-line that ranks 115th nationally in sacks allowed. Someone in a red jersey might also want to get a helmet on Omar Brown, the active Marshall free safety who has made 31 tackles over the last two games.

Why Louisville Might Win: If the Cardinals offense is average, the Marshall attack is someone south of that spot. The Herd has absolutely no pulse on offense, and no go-to guy to bail it out at critical junctures of the game. Louisville will pounce, especially since head coach Charlie Strong will have had two weeks to prepare his troops. The Cards are generating constant heat in the front seven from the likes of LB Dexter Heyman and ends Greg Scruggs and William Savoy, which spells trouble for a leaky Marshall offensive line. Louisville is yielding slightly more than two yards a carry, so the Herd can forget about its quest to establish the line of scrimmage.

What To Watch Out For: In the win over Kentucky, starting QB Will Stein was injured and only played on one drive. Hot-shot rookie Teddy Bridgewater entered the game, and helped lead the Cardinals to the victory with a pair of touchdown passes. However, don't even think about a controversy developing at Louisville. Strong will have none of it, already nipping that chatter in the bud. Healthy again, Stein is his man, though, Bridgewater will continue to get reps, much the way he did in the first two weeks.

What Will Happen: Focused and well-rested, Louisville will move two games above .500 on the strength of its defense. It'll completely dominate the Herd from start to finish, flushing inexperienced QB Rakeem Cato out of the pocket and into costly mistakes. The Cardinals offense won't be prolific, but it won't have to be in order to capture this game. The combination of the quarterbacks, including third-stringer Dominique Brown, who'll be used in designed runs, will provide enough of a spark to lead Louisville to a double-digit victory.

CFN Prediction: Louisville 24 … Marshall 13
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Louisville -10    O/U: 46.5

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