September 21, 2006

The game up close: Louisville at K-State

Eighth-ranked Louisville (3-0) will travel to Manhattan without its heralded Derby City Duo - quarterback Brian Brohm and running back Michael Bush - but the Cardinals still look like one of college football's elite teams thanks to the play of wide receiver Mario Urrutia and a collection of offensive skill position talent matched by few teams around the country. Can Kansas State's (3-0) 14th-ranked defense slow down Louisville on its way to an upset of the Cardinals?

The Game Up Close: No. 8 Louisville (3-0, 0-0) vs. Kansas State (3-0, 0-0)

Saturday, Sept. 23, 11:10 a.m. kickoff
Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kan.
Fox Sports Net

Louisville rush offense vs. Kansas State rush defense
The numbers:
KSU rush defense: Allowing 67.3 yards per game, No. 12 nationally
UL rush offense: Averaging 256.7 yards per game, No. 6 nationally

The breakdown: Even without Bush on the field Louisville has been one college football's best teams when it comes to running the football. The Cardinals have a tremendous backfield combination of sophomore George Stripling and senior Kolby Smith, who both lack Bush's side but provide more speed and big-play ability. Stripling has ran for 201 yards and four touchdowns while averaging an eye-popping 7.2 yards per rush this season, and the 5-foot-11, 215-pound Smith has added 207 yards and three touchdowns on 36 attempts. The Wildcats were able to contain Marshall running back Ahmad Bradshaw last week and made quarterback Bernard Morris a non-factor in the running game. K-State's defense is flying to the football and playing with a great deal of confidence right now, and the Wildcats will need their defensive front to hold their own against a very talented Louisville offensive line. Linebackers Brandon Archer and Zach Diles and the rest of the front seven have exceeded expectations thus far, but slowing down this running game will be a major chore for even the nation's best defenses.

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