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September 13, 2013

Cards come to town for Governor's Cup clash

Coach: Mark Stoops
Record: 1-1 in first season at UK and overall
Last game:Kentucky 41, Miami (Ohio) 7
Next game: Florida, Sept. 28
Roster | Depth chart
No. 7 LOUISVILLE (2-0)
Coach: Charlie Strong
Record: 27-14 in fourth season at Louisville and overall
Last game: Louisville 44, EKU 7
Next game: FIU, Sept. 21
Roster | Depth chart
Game/Series Information
Game Information
Site: Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington (67,942)
TV: ESPN (Beth Mowins play-by-play, Joey Galloway analysis, Paul Carcaterra sideline)
Radio: UK IMG Sports Network (Tom Leach play-by-play, Jeff Piecoro analysis; Dick Gabriel sideline); Sirius 135/XM 200
Internet: Audio | Video
Favorite: Louisville by 14

Series Information:
Series record: UK leads 14-11
At Lexington: UK leads 8-7
Coaches' records: Stoops 0-0 vs. Louisville; Strong 2-1 vs. UK

Last meeting
Louisville 32, Kentucky 14 (Sept. 2, 2012, in Louisville)
Teddy Bridgewater completed 19 of 21 passes for 232 yards and running backs Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright both toped the 100-yard rushing mark as the Cardinals built a 32-7 lead and cruised to a second straight win in the series. Maxwell Smith was 35 of 50 passing for 280 yards and two touchdowns, but the Wildcats managed only 93 rushing yards in losing their season opener for the first time since 2006.

Keys to the Game
1. Troubled waters: For Kentucky to have any chance, it will have to slow Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and that will be no small feat. Bridgewater has completed 46 of 60 passes through two games for 752 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception through two games. A strong pass rush could be key for the Wildcats, but Bridgewater's been at his best when blitzed, and he throws on the run as well as any quarterback in college football. Said UK coach Mark Stoops: "He could certainly pick you apart if you give him time. So any time you have any great defenses, it's getting some pressure and making him uneasy."

2. Cup envy: The Wildcats haven't had the Governor's Cup since a 2011 loss to Louisville, and Kentucky is motivated to get it back. The UK-U of L game trophy was a hot topic among players this week, and it's clear that Cats would like their turn at keeping the keepsake. Said running back Raymond Sanders: "We got (the Governor's Cup) my freshman year and we let those guys borrow it for a couple years, so we have to work and make sure we work hard to get that back."

3. Getting defensive: Though most of the talk leading up to Saturday's game has been about Louisville's offense, Kentucky offensive coordinator Neal Brown is just as impressed with the Cardinals' defense, which has allowed 14 points through two games. Louisville is 26-6 under head coach Charlie Strong when it scores 20 or more points. "The thing that sticks out about their defense is when you turn it on, they fly to the football," Brown said. "They play with a lot of energy, a lot of passion. They're physical, and they fly to the football. They play like a defense -- like if I was coaching defense, that's how I'd want my guys to play."

Staff Predictions
T.J. Walker, Staff Writer: Louisville 44, Kentucky 27: This may seem like a blowout, and losing by 17 points to a rival is never acceptable, but I think the Cats do a lot of good on Saturday. The offense will move the ball and score, but UK has to play mistake-free football to beat the most talented Louisville team in program history. Offensively the Air Raid will be able to keep up, but with such a young and inexperienced secondary, Bridgewater cruises to a win.

Aaron Smith, staff writer: Louisville 41, Kentucky 24: The offense will able to move the ball, and Neal Brown is sure to show some new looks in this game. It's the defense -- the one that was gashed against Western Kentucky -- that's now going against a Heisman Trophy candidate and solid players surrounding him. The Wildcats won't be able to stop the Cardinals nearly enough to hang in this one through the end.

Justin Rowland, Football Recruiting Analyst, Louisville 37-27. By the end of the game don't be surprised if Kentucky's offensive numbers are very impressive. It's just hard to see the Kentucky back seven holding up against the guy that's going to be the top quarterback taken in next year's draft along with his deep and talented receiving corps.

Brett Dawson, Publisher: Louisville 45, Kentucky 27: In a year, maybe this game gets really interesting. In two years, maybe we have a chance at seeing both programs at a peak. For now, there's still a gap between the Wildcats' talent and the Cardinals'. Las Vegas says it'll be closer than this. The guess here is that Louisville treats this as a rare showcase game on its schedule and cruises despite a solid offensive effort from UK.

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