coleryan Posts:11967 Followers:20
On 08/24/2013 08:34 PM in NCAA Football

College Football Preview: Ohio vs. (9)Louisville

BangtheBook.com Week One College Football Preview: Ohio vs. (9)Louisville

The college football season kicks off a week before the National Football League (NFL) and that means the first official Sunday of the football season belongs to college football. This year it is the Ohio Bobcats and the Louisville Cardinals who will take center stage on a rare college football Sunday night.

Ohio vs. Louisville Odds: The Cardinals are ranked in the top ten in the college football rankings and because of this they have been established as big favorites over the Ohio Bobcats. The Cardinals opened up as three touchdown chalk in this game and the line has only wavered slightly. At last look the line can be found at Louisville (-20) at several well established online sportsbooks.

Louisville will be the team to watch as they return quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who will be an automatic Heisman candidate. This signal caller was always under pressure but seldom made a crucial turnover. Bridgewater is the ultimate leader on and off the field for this team and he will also have the luxury of playing on a team that has a very god defense with plenty of returning starters.

This defense returns ten starters back from a unit that allowed 340 yards per game and under 24 points over that same time span. That is exactly what is needed if this team has high aspirations of making some noise in the top of the college football rankings.
The Ohio Bobcats should not be taken lightly. They started the season a year ago with a perfect record through the first seven games and have a very explosive offense. That offense is led by Beau Blankenship who powers a hard to stop running game and Tyler Tettleton who could light up any secondary as a top notch quarterback.

Ohio head coach Frank Solich suffered too many injuries a season ago that derailed this team and therefore he has had a more easy going approach this season during camp.

Louisville runs a very physical camp under head coach Charlie Strong and that will get this team ready for battle early in the season. The college football betting trends indicate that the Cardinals have reasons to be concerned when starting the season off at home against an inferior opponent.

The Cardinals are 7-15 against the spread (ATS) in their last 22 home games and 2-5 ATS in the last seven games that they have played on turf. Luckily for the Cardinals the Bobcats have some ugly trends as well.

The Bobcats are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games; 1-7 ATS in the last eight games on turf and 2-7 ATS in the last nine games overall.

Until Sunday is dominated by the NFL, college football will be more than happy to provide some entertainment.

Cole

coleryan Posts:11967 Followers:20
08/25/2013 03:51 PM

The 2012 season was supposed to be a big year for the Ohio Bobcats. Coming off their first-ever bowl victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the ‘Cats were a media preseason pick to win the 2013 MAC East and compete for a MAC championship.

The Bobcats, however, didn’t live up to those expectations. With injuries taking their toll, Ohio dropped four of its last five conference games. The Bobcats did finish on a positive note as Ohio picked up its second-consecutive bowl victory with a 45-14 victory over Louisiana-Monroe. Ohio comes in to the 2013 season just like it did in 2012 – favored to win the MAC East and play for a MAC title.

Offense
For the last three seasons, redshirt senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton has been the face of the Bobcats offense. He has already put himself into the record books as one of the top quarterbacks to play for Ohio and now looks to cap off his outstanding career with the elusive MAC title.

Tettleton has been named to several award watch lists, such as the Davey O’Brien (Nation’s best QB), the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (Best Senior QB), and the Walter Camp Player of the Year.

The Bobcats QB will have plenty of weapons in 2013, starting with his partner in the backfield, running back Beau Blankenship. The redshirt senior set a single-season Ohio record in 2012 with 1,604 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. Tettleton’s go-to receiver in 2013 will once again be senior Donte Foster. The 6-3 wide out led the team with 59 catches for 659 yards and eight touchdowns last year.

Defense
The Bobcats’ defense was hit hard by injuries last season, especially in the secondary. Senior defensive backs Travis Carrie, Xavier Hughes, and Jamil Shaw missed most or all of the season due to injury. All three are healthy and back with the team in 2013, ready to improve on last season’s inconsistent performance.

Where Ohio could struggle this season is along the defensive line. The Bobcats have to replace all four starters who were all lost to graduation. Senior DE Nic Barber and junior DT Antwan Crutcher have the most experience and will anchor a line looking to improve its pass rush. The Bobcats “X-factor” on defense will be jack-of-all-trades Nathan Carpenter. The redshirt junior is mainly the nickleback on Ohio’s defense, but he always seems to be in the right place at the right time to make the big play. Carpenter finished seventh on the team in tackles last season, registering six tackles-for-loss, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. One recovery set up the game-winning field goal against Marshall. Overall, even with the experience lost along the defensive line, the gained experience in the secondary will serve the Bobcats well.

Special Teams
Where Ohio could feel its biggest loss from the previous season is on special teams, specifically at the kicker position.
For the last four seasons, Matt Weller was the go-to guy at kicker, becoming Ohio’s all-time scoring leader.

This season, Ohio doesn’t have their guy – just yet. Fall camp battles included a three-way competition between redshirt sophomore Josiah Yazdani, redshirt freshman Matt Amicone, and Oklahoma State transfer Matt Green.

Ohio has a huge test in Week One as it travels to Louisville to take on the ninth-ranked Cardinals. An upset win on national television – similar to last season’s win at Penn State – would start the Ohio campaign off with a bang. But as OU learned last year, a successful season depends on much more than one out-of-conference matchup.

coleryan Posts:11967 Followers:20
08/26/2013 07:26 PM

Louisville coach Charlie Strong has been pleased with his team's mental focus this month and expects it in Sunday's season opener against Ohio. Facing a Bobcats team that upset Penn State in last year's opener and has won consecutive bowl games should keep the attention of the ninth-ranked Cardinals. Strong enters his fourth season with high expectations after an 11-2 finish and a Sugar Bowl upset of Florida.

Louisville's preseason ranking is the highest ever. The Cardinals have been picked to win the new American Athletic Conference — formerly the Big East, which they've won the past two seasons. Living up to those lofty hopes means taking every opponent seriously, especially an Ohio team capable of pulling off another opening-game surprise. "You have to approach everybody the same," said Cardinals junior center Jake Smith, adding that the coaching staff has reminded players of Ohio's big win. You can't think that just because they went and beat a big team that they're going to come beat us. We want to go win every game. They're a good football team, and we have to prepare as such."

The coach said he feels good about Louisville's prospects. The Cardinals seemed intent on building off last season's success almost immediately after their 33-23 victory against the Gators became final. However, Strong added, "We've got our work cut out for us."

Louisville's veteran roster features 19 starters back including 12 on defense. Leading the offense is junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a potential Heisman Trophy candidate after passing for 3,718 yards and 27 touchdowns last season.

The Cardinals' backfield will include a familiar face in senior Senorise Perry, whom Strong picked as the starter in a three-way competition including transfer Michael Dyer and Dominique Brown. Dyer rushed for 1,000 yards in both seasons with Auburn while leading the Tigers to the 2010 national championship. "When we trot out there with the first play, Senorise will trot out there with the first offense," said Strong, crediting Louisville's training staff and Perry's dedication for helping him return nine months after a season-ending knee injury. Though Perry will start, Strong said all of the Cardinals' backs including sophomore Corvin Lamb would be involved against Ohio and that he hopes to find his main ball carrier from that group.

Louisville's defense meanwhile will try to stop an Ohio offense that ranked 27th last season in rushing at 203.3 yards per game thanks to senior Beau Blankenship, who rushed for a school-record 1,604 yards and 15 TDs. He's among 16 returning starters on a Bobcats squad favored to repeat as the Mid-American Conference's East division champion. The Cardinals also will have to contain Bobcats senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who passed for 2,844 yards and 18 touchdowns. Ohio was also good with takeaways, ranking seventh in turnover margin at +1.15 in 2012.

In many respects, Ohio might be the opponent the Cardinals need to remind them not to dwell on last year's success. In a new league that has added Central Florida, Houston, Memphis, Temple to the schedule, Louisville faces some unknowns in its lone AAC season before heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014.

Fortunately for Strong, it's not an issue because of an experienced roster that has resulted in players being mentally locked in during practices this month, hungry to back up last season's results. "I'd probably say it's the most focused team I've had because it's also a much older team," said the coach, adding that winning the Sugar Bowl has provided many benefits. "They understand that they really have to work now because the level of expectations has risen. They want to set the standard for the program and know how to manage those expectations."

coleryan Posts:11967 Followers:20
08/27/2013 03:35 PM

Louisville coach Charlie Strong said senior running back Senorise Perry will start Sunday’s season opener against Ohio University while stressing that the ninth-ranked Cardinals will use all of their running backs against the visiting Bobcats.

Perry was Louisville’s second-leading rusher last season with 705 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns. He will see his first action since his 2012 season was ended by a torn right anterior cruciate ligament on Nov. 10 at Syracuse. One of three competing to start — along with junior Dominique Brown, also returning from a knee injury, and former Auburn product Michael Dyer — Perry got the call after an impressive recovery and preseason camp. Cardinals coaches have compared his recovery to that of NFL MVP Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns last season after tearing his ACL in December 2011.





Louisville starting defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin was involved in a hit-and-run moped accident on campus this morning. University spokesman John Drees said that the junior's moped was hit by a car riding in the same lane near the school's Yum! Center training facility and left the scene. Drees added that university police are investigating.

Athletic department spokesman Rocco Gasparro added that Mauldin was "alert and responsive" and was taken to a hospital for tests. Mauldin missed time last season with a sprained knee but posted a career-high 22 tackles including a team-high 4.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. The Cardinals' depth chart lists him as the starter for Sunday's season opener against Ohio.

coleryan Posts:11967 Followers:20
08/28/2013 01:56 PM

University of Louisville defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin remained at Jewish Hospital for observation Tuesday night after he was the victim of a hit-and-run while riding a moped Tuesday morning. The 6-foot-4, 243-pound junior, who was listed in satisfactory condition, had earned a starting spot for Sunday’s season opener against Ohio. Coach Charlie Strong said Mauldin’s status for the game had not been determined yet. Strong did visit and briefly speak with Mauldin and said he “had pain and soreness more than anything.” He said Mauldin was not wearing a helmet, but he could not offer any specifics on possible injuries.

Mauldin tied fellow end Marcus Smith for the team lead with 4½ sacks last season. On Monday Strong praised him for having a drive that stays the same on every play, whether it’s practice or a game. Strong said that if Mauldin is unable to play Sunday, junior B.J. Dubose will start in his place. Dubose started four of the first five games last season. Redshirt freshman Nick Dawson, who converted from linebacker to defensive end in the final days of August camp, also could see time there. “Dawson is still learning; we just moved him back there probably a few days ago,” Strong said. “But B.J. Dubose started there last year, so we feel pretty comfortable with the guy we have in place.”

coleryan Posts:11967 Followers:20
08/29/2013 02:50 PM

Two Ohio University players are suspended indefinitely from the football team after being arrested on drug charges as the Bobcats prepared for Sunday's opener at ninth-ranked Louisville.

Authorities say 21-year-old junior cornerback Larenzo Fisher of Washington and 20-year-old freshman quarterback Greg Windham were arrested Wednesday. The Athens Messenger reports they're accused of trafficking MDMA, the drug commonly called ecstasy.

Fisher was charged with four counts and Windham with one. Both pleaded not guilty to the charges and face court dates in November. The court had no attorneys on record for them.

Fisher was already was sitting out the first two games for unrelated disciplinary reasons. He has played in 23 games, starting 11.

Windham was redshirted last year and was vying to be No. 3 quarterback.

coleryan Posts:11967 Followers:20
08/30/2013 01:32 PM

Last season, Ohio began the year at the legendary Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley and defeated Penn State as the Nittany Lions were in the midst of a cloud of controversy. It was a huge game, maybe the biggest in the history of the program, but the Bobcats have a chance to top it on Sunday. "The challenge will be every bit as great as the Penn State game was, and probably more so in terms of the amount of players that they have coming back that are proven football players," said Ohio head coach Frank Solich.

Awaiting Ohio is one of the highest powered offenses in the country. The Cardinals are returning many key parts, including Heisman hopeful quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and his two favorite targets, Devante Parker and Damian Copeland. The trio combined for 1,372 yards and 12 touchdowns last year, and they look to be even more effective this season. The Cards also added a BCS National Championship MVP to the roster when former Auburn running back Michael Dyer transferred in this summer.

However, the Bobcats aren't letting the prospect of facing a national championship favorite disrupt their mindset. "Our coaches do a great job of keeping us poised," said redshirt senior linebacker Keith Moore. "Our goal is to win a MAC Championship, and to go 1-0 each week. We just do what we do, and react to what they do."

Ohio will need to keep a level head and make smart decisions to start the game. It would be very easy to stumble early on against a team like Louisville in a raucous environment, and Moore realizes that. "Composure is key in this game. We have a bunch of veterans who have been here and played at Penn State, so that's going to help out," Moore said. "We're going to rally our troops. It's going to be a hot game, so we have to do all the little things like stay properly hydrated, eat right, things like that."

The defensive line in particular will play a big part in keeping the Bobcats cool. It is an inexperienced group, and will be working as a platoon this year with many members seeing action, but it's ready for the challenge. And Louisville offers a bit of a trial by fire for the group. "They're going to have a real good running game and our D-Line is going to have to be prepared for that, but the good thing about that is we have a lot more speed on the D-Line (this year)," said redshirt senior defensive end Ty Branz. "We're a little young, but I think we could make some stops up front to set the tone right away."

There will be many emotions swirling around on both sidelines; and each team has a chance to show a nation what they're capable of. "(Louisville) wants to show the world that they're here, and they get a chance to do that on national TV," Solich said. "But we also get a chance to show them what we're about on national TV, so we're excited about that also."

Senior wide receiver and team leader Donte Foster put it in its simplest form. He will play a critical role in attacking for the Bobcats and he knows what it takes to win a big game. "Louisville is a powerhouse; they're going to be a difficult team. It's going to be a huge environment. The biggest thing will be not to be rattled, because it's rare that we see that many people," he said. "If we come out there with some poise and really set the tempo, that will be beneficial for us."

The Penn State experience is beyond significant for Ohio heading into the showdown with Louisville. The fact that the Bobcats were able to go into a hostile environment and get the win last year sparks a flame of encouragement with the team as it prepares to face the highly-touted Cardinals.

coleryan Posts:11967 Followers:20
08/31/2013 09:29 PM

Here are five things to watch Sunday between Ohio and No. 9 Louisville:

PERRY AND CO.: Louisville coach Charlie Strong has said that Senorise Perry would start at running back, completing the senior's remarkable nine-month recovery from a torn right anterior cruciate ligament. But the Cardinals' second-leading rusher in 2012 will split carries with Dominique Brown, former Auburn back Michael Dyer and sophomore Corvin Lamb. The goal is establishing a primary back, but Louisville has benefited from having multiple choices.

B.B. AND T.T.: Ohio's offensive tandem of senior running back Beau Blankenship and senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton gives Louisville's defense something to think about. Blankenship rushed for a school-record 1,604 yards and 15 touchdowns last season while Tettleton completed 62% of his passes for 2,844 yards and 18 TDs.

UN-CIVIL DEFENSE: After swamping Florida with a smashmouth approach, Louisville's defense can't wait to see what more aggression can achieve this season. Linebacker Preston Brown and free safety Calvin Pryor each posted at least 100 tackles while strong safety Hakeem Smith had 73 for a unit that returns 12 starters and became more relentless as the season unfolded. Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford seeks even better results with an emphasis on better tackling.

BEWARE OF THE BOBCATS: Ohio got everybody's attention last September by rallying to upset Penn State 24-14 in Happy Valley, but nobody should have been surprised by the Bobcats. They've gone to four straight bowl games and won their past two, in addition to winning their past four openers under Frank Solich.

RAPID RECOVERY: Louisville defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin escaped major injury after a vehicle struck the Moped he was riding on Tuesday and the junior even practiced late last week, but it's unknown whether he'll start on Sunday. Cardinals coach Charlie Strong said B.J. Dubose was ready just in case.