Game Day: Murray State

Matt Willinger, Associate Editor
Cardinal Sports

LOUISVILLE REMAINS HOME TO FACE KENT

„ After two consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference games, the University of Louisville football team steps out of conference to host Kent State on Saturday for a noon kickoff.

„ The game will be broadcast on RSN with Wes Durham (play-byplay), James Bates (analyst) and Rebecca Kaple (sideline). Paul Rogers (play-by-play), Alex Kupper (analyst) and Jody Demling (sideline) will call the action on Louisville Sports Properties.

„ Clemson totaled 613 total yards of offense and 297 yards rushing, while holding the potent Louisville offense to season lows in points (21) and total offense (433) in a 47-21 win over the Cardinals.

„ Junior quarterback Lamar Jackson accounted for three touchdowns to move past Dave Ragone and into second place on the school’s all-time list for touchdowns responsible with 85.

„ Jackson, a native of Pompano Beach, Fla., broke the ACC record for rushing yards by a quarterback by totaling 2,834 career yards, breaking Georgia Tech’s Joshua Nesbitt (2007-10) mark of 2,806.

„ Redshirt freshman Dez Fitzpatrick caught his team-leading fourth touchdown pass of the year — an eight-yard score in the fourth quarter.

„ Totaling four sacks in the loss to Clemson, senior outside linebacker James Hearns recorded a pair of sacks, while sophomore outside linebacker Jonathan Greenard increased his sack total to a team-high three with one sack.

SERIES

„ Louisville and Kent State are meeting for the 18th when the two teams face off at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

„ The Golden Flashes own a 9-8 series advantage, with the teams splitting the last four encounters.

„ In a series dating back to 1956, the Golden Flashes are making their first appearance in Louisville since losing 34-0 to the Cardinals in 1972.

„ Kent State’s Paul Haynes, the fifth-year head coach, served as the secondary coach at Louisville in 2002.

THE OPPONENT

„ Kent State dropped a 21-0 decision on the road at Marshall to fall to 1-2 on the season. The Golden Flashes’ offense made three trips inside Marshall’s 25, but could not find the end zone. A 72-yard drive to the Herd’s nine, ended on a fourth-and-one stop at the line of scrimmage. The Flashes also missed a field goal and had a pass intercepted in the end zone.

„ Five Kent State players had a carry of 15 yards or more in the first half as the Flashes outgained Marshall on the ground 139-37 in the first two quarters.

„ Sophomore cornerback Jamal Parker made a career-high 12 tackles, including 10 in the first half.

SCOUTING THE CARDS:

The 17th-ranked Cardinals enter the week at 3-1 after a convincing 42-3 win over Kent State Saturday. Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson set a Louisville record for 88 career touchdowns when he passed for two and ran for another in the win. As a team Louisville, averaged 36.2 points per game, while allowing 28.2. Yardage wise, the Cardinals are racking up 550.0 yards of total offense per game, while limiting their opponents to 377.0 yards per game. Jackson currently leads Louisville in both passing and rushing at 346.8 and 84.2 yards respectively, with 10 passing touchdowns and four rushing. His leading target at receiver this season has been Jaylen Smith who has 379 yards on 22 catches with two touchdowns for 126.3 yards per game. Zykiesis Cannon leads the U of L defense with 28 total tackles on the year, while Jon Greenard has a team-high 5.0 sacks and 7.5 tackles-for-loss.

SERIES NOTES

„ Louisville and Kent will meet for the 18th time when the two schools square off Saturday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

„ Kent leads the overall series 9-8, but Louisville owns a 7-2 advantage in games held in the Derby City. The Golden Flashes are making their first appearance at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, and the first in Louisville since 1972.

„ The series dates back to 1956, and the two schools played every year until 1970. The series resumed in 1972 and 1973.

„ Kent head coach Paul Haynes served as the secondary coach at Louisville in 2002 under former head coach John L. Smith.

KENT LAST TIME OUT

„ Kent State kept itself within striking distance of Marshall through three-and-a-half quarters, but the Thundering Herd pulled away late for a 21-0 home victory.

„ The Golden Flashes’ offense made three trips inside Marshall’s 25, but could not find the end zone. A 72-yard drive to the Herd’s nine, ended on a fourth-and-one stop at the line of scrimmage. The Flashes also missed a field goal and had a pass intercepted in the end zone.

„ The defense’s strong secondary play was highlighted by senior Demetrius Monday, who made his ninth career interception and second in as many games.

„ Sophomore cornerback Jamal Parker made a career-high 12 tackles, including 10 in the first half. Parker also broke up four passes.

„ Five Kent State players had a carry of 15 yards or more in the first half as the Flashes outgained Marshall on the ground 139-37 in the first two quarters.

„ After Marshall extended its lead to 14-0 in the fourth quarter, freshman Dustin Crum made his collegiate debut at quarterback and connected on a 40-yard pass to Trey Harrell on his second attempt.

LAST TIME MEETING VERSUS KENT

Kent State made a touchdown and a field goal stand up for a 10-3 victory over the University of Louisville in the privacy of 29,000-seat Dix Stadium.

The defense performed well, holding Kent to 165 yards rushing and 177 passing and forcing the winners out of the option game that had been so effective against it at Memphis. In fact, Kent ran only two options around end in the second half.

U of L, meanwhile, moved the ball between the 30s almost at will. But the closest to the Kent goal it managed to come was 17 yards away, when its best drive of the day stalled. Wilbur Summers kicked a 33-yard field goal and it was 7-3 at the half. Kent never let U of L inside its 25 in the final two periods.

U of L made two interceptions with Lonnie Schuler and Joe Lee Phillips getting one each. Neither led to a score, though.

CREQUE-MATIC

„ Blanton Creque is back for his sophomore season as one of the most accurate kickers in college football last season. Creque, who ranked 21st nationally last year for field goal percentage (84.2), is 21-of-24 on field goal attempts over his career (88 percent). He ranks first in career field goal percentage. The Shelbyville, Ky., native booted 16-of-19 field goals last season, which was tied for the third-most on the school’s single-season list.

„ Creque is a perfect 5-for-5 this season, going a perfect 3-for3 from 30-39 yards, including a season-long of 37 yards in 2017. His next successful field goal this season will tie Jon Hilbert and Klaus Wilmsmeyer for 10th all-time in the Louisville career record book. He could potentially tie Wilbur Summers for seventh place as well as he sits just two successful tries back after the first three games of 2017.

„ Creque has made each of his last 10 field goals, dating back to last season, including a career-long 47-yarder in the Citrus Bowl loss to LSU. Creque, is 20-of-21 on field-goal attempts from 19-39 yards, with two of his misses coming on attempts of over 40 yards.

TRUE FRESHMEN SEE ACTION

„ Louisville coach Bobby Petrino has never shied away from playing true freshmen. In his eight years with the Cardinals, a total of 51 true freshmen have seen action for Louisville, including a high of nine in 2015. Louisville has played nine true freshmen so far this season.

„ In the season-opening win over Purdue, seven rookies saw their first collegiate action, including a trio of starters in linebacker Dorian Etheridge, offensive tackle Mekhi Becton and long snapper Mitch Hall. Etheridge started at linebacker, becoming the first true freshman to start at linebacker since James Burgess was a starter in three games during the 2012 campaign.

„ Corey Reed, TreSean Smith, Russ Yeast, and C.J. Avery also saw action in their first collegiate game. Josh Johnson cracked the lineup versus North Carolina, while running back Colin Willson played versus Clemson.

„ Of the 50 true freshmen who have played under Petrino, 19 have started at least once during their freshman season. Louisville had six freshmen starters in 2015.

„ Only three true freshmen saw action last season: Malik Staples, Lamarques Thomas and Seth Dawkins.

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