Temple-Louisville Preview

The Associated Press

Louisville has continued its ascension up the BCS standings and is the Big East's last unbeaten team, but it's made a habit of living dangerously throughout the season.

The 12th-ranked Cardinals hope things get a little easier Saturday as they look to move to 9-0 for the first time in school history with a win over a visiting Temple squad coming off back-to-back blowout defeats.

Louisville improved to 3-0 in the Big East with last week's 34-31 overtime win over Cincinnati and jumped from 16th to 10th in the latest BCS standings.

"It is good for our players," coach Charlie Strong said. "I tell them all the time, 'Anything that happens with this football program is because of what you have done and, when you let the outside look in and see how hard you are playing and just what you are bringing to this university, it is really great.'"

The Cardinals, though, trailed by 10 points on two separate occasions and allowed the tying touchdown with just over a minute remaining in their latest close victory. The winning field goal came after Cincinnati called a timeout before the ensuing snap sailed over the holder's head, saving a potential blunder.

Louisville has trailed in five straight games and nearly blew a 29-point lead in a 39-34 win over North Carolina on Sept. 15 - one of five games it has won by seven points or fewer.

"I would like to see us put together a 60-minute game and we have not been able to do that," Strong said. "We have played well in spurts and, if you watch us offensively. And defensively, we end up giving up a score. You would like to see us put together a complete game - offense, defense, and then the kicking game."

Teddy Bridgewater has been consistently good, finishing 24 of 41 for a career-best 416 yards and two touchdowns last week. The sophomore's 163.4 passer rating ranks 12th in FBS.

"It wasn't easy," Bridgewater said of the Cardinals' 8-0 start. "We have overcome adversity and it's just a good feeling right now."

Louisville has never won its first nine games, but Temple has lost 29 straight versus ranked opponents since beating No. 14 Virginia Tech on Oct. 17, 1998.

The Owls (3-4, 2-2) led then-No. 19 Rutgers 10-0 at halftime Oct. 20 before allowing 35 unanswered second-half points, then were routed 47-17 against Pittsburgh last week.

Leading rusher Montel Harris, who ran 18 times for 72 yards and a 14-yard touchdown, said the latest defeat was especially damaging to the team's hopes of competing for the Big East crown. Temple fell two games back of first-place Rutgers, which has a bye this week.

"Yes, this game was a must-win," Harris said. "We weren't able to come out with the win and are just looking to come back for next week."

Temple coach Steve Addazio was the offensive coordinator when Strong ran the defense at Florida, each helping the Gators to national titles in 2007 and 2009 under current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.

Heading into a contest versus his former colleague, Addazio is keeping the team's goal of becoming bowl eligible for the second straight season in perspective with four games remaining.

"I think where we are as a team right now is that we have to look directly into the next week and we just have to play as hard as we can," Addazio said. "Our goal was to win the (season) opener and get bowl eligible and that goal is still in front of us."

Louisville has won each of the last two meetings, with the 13th-ranked Cardinals beating the Owls 62-0 on Sept. 6, 2006, in the most recent.