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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Louisville passing game to challenge Utes

By Paige Fieldsted , Sports Editor

The Utes will face a different beast this Saturday as they welcome the Louisville Cardinals to Rice-Eccles Stadium.

For the past several weeks, Utah has struggled against the rushing games of its opponents. This week, however, Utah will have to defend against Louisville’s strong passing game.

In the two games the Cardinals have played thus far this season, they are averaging 244 passing yards per game, a big step up from the 95 passing yards the Oregon Ducks threw last weekend.

The Louisville offense is led by quarterback Justin Burke, who has thrown for 468 yards and two touchdowns on the season. “(Justin Burke) is a big, strong kid,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “He’s got a strong arm and moves around decently in the pocket.”

Burke connects with one of three wide receivers the majority of the time.

Scott Long leads the receivers with nine catches for 157 yards, averaging more than 17 yards per catch. Two other Louisville players are averaging more than 10 yards per catch. Doug Beaumont is averaging 12.8 yards per catch, and Cameron Graham has caught the ball six times for 67 yards this season.

The Cardinal offense also has a capable rushing game8212;even though passing is their strength8212;as they have averaged more than 150 rushing yards in each game this season. Louisville gains an average of 4.4 yards every time they rush.

Leading the rushing game is sophomore running back Victor Anderson, who has carried the ball 33 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Despite his size of only 5’9″ and 185 pounds, Anderson is averaging more than six yards per carry and has caused problems for the defenses Louisville has faced so far.

Louisville will also be looking to use its powerful defense to stop a Ute team that is averaging more than 400 yards of offense per game.

The Cardinals’ defense has held their opponents to a total of 447 yards this season, which is less than Utah gained in both the Utah State and San Jose State games.

Utah is expecting a Louisville defense that looks similar to the defense it faced in Oregon last week. So far this season, the Cardinals have caused three fumbles, broken up three passes and intercepted four balls.

“They are athletic, very fast, very physical up front,” said offensive coordinator Dave Schramm. “They are a good football team, very similar to the team we just played, very similar.”

Senior linebacker Jon Dempsey is leading Louisville with 20 tackles on the season, including 12 solo tackles. Senior defensive end William Savoy is another weapon on the Louisville sideline. Savoy has earned seven tackles, which includes the only two sacks this season, resulting in a loss of 15 yards.

Louisville is including preparations for the hostile environment at Rice-Eccles Stadium as it gets ready to face the Utes.

“We are going to have to play extremely well,” said Louisville head coach Steve Kragthorpe. “It’s a great place to play, it’s a loud place to play, and we’ll practice again with crowd noise this week.”

Louisville has lost its only road game this season as it’s coming into tomorrow’s game after a tough 31-27 road loss to rivals Kentucky.

Just like the Utes, the Cardinals will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing road loss last weekend.

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