No. 11 Louisville ready for erratic Syracuse

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 09, 2012
Charlie Strong wants his Louisville Cardinals to enter the Carrier Dome with a big chip on their shoulders when they play Syracuse. ''I want our players to feel like they are being disrespected,'' Strong said. Shouldn't be a problem. Despite being one of only six unbeaten teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Louisville (9-0, 4-0 Big East) is ranked 11th in the AP Top 25 and ninth in the latest BCS standings. In the BCS, the Cardinals trail Georgia and Florida, who each have one loss, and LSU and South Carolina, with two losses apiece. ''What I would hate to see is all of a sudden we're No. 5 in the BCS,'' Strong said. ''Then our guys are going to feel like, `Hey, we have arrived. We're there.' No. Let's just keep working and then at the end see where we are.'' The Cardinals have quietly made a strong statement behind quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and will present all sorts of problems for the Orange (4-5, 3-2). ''This is the best football team that we will have played so far,'' said Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, who watched his team lose 42-29 to Matt Barkley and then-No. 2 Southern California in the second week of the season. ''Even with a tough out-of-conference schedule, I would say Teddy Bridgewater is the best quarterback that we will face so far this season. He's a playmaker.'' Indeed. Coming off a five-touchdown performance in a 45-17 win over Temple, Bridgewater has thrown for 2,434 yards and 18 TDs with only four interceptions, has a 70.4-percent completion rate, and is ranked fifth nationally in passing efficiency (169.98). ''He's a good quarterback on film,'' Syracuse nose tackle Jay Bromley said. ''He delivers the ball on time. He extends plays with his feet. But we've faced some really good quarterbacks over the course of the season, so we're prepared for anything. We can turn this around.'' Syracuse has to win two of its final three games to achieve the six wins needed to play in a bowl game, and the Orange will rely on quarterback Ryan Nassib to lead the way. He has thrown for a school-record 2,773 yards as the Orange has produced three 500-yard receivers in a season for the first time - Marcus Sales with 722, Alec Lemon 569, and Jarrod West 523. ''It's going to be a good test for us, a team that needs to become bowl-eligible,'' Strong said. ''Now, they have to go win.'' Syracuse has excelled against the run under defensive coordinator Scott Shafer. But in a 35-24 loss last week at Cincinnati, it faltered despite a solid effort by safety Shamarko Thomas, who had 14 tackles (10 solos) and forced a fumble. Cincinnati's George Winn was named Big East offensive player of the week on Monday. He rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns - both career highs - and threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to key the win over Syracuse. That came a week after South Florida rushed for 369 yards - a high against a Shafer defense in his 45 games at Syracuse - in a one-point loss to the Orange. Now come Louisville's Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright. Although Bridgewater is the guy who makes the Louisville offense purr, Perry has a league-high 11 touchdown runs, Wright has nine, and the two have combined to average 151 yards rushing per game. Though the hopes of making the postseason for the second time in three years are in jeopardy with two road games remaining, Marrone isn't looking any farther ahead than Saturday. ''I always look at it from week to week,'' he said. ''I've never really looked at it from the overall picture because you can't. I think it distracts you from the task at hand.'' The Syracuse players certainly seem focused, especially because Saturday will be Senior Day for a core group of players that have been key to helping Marrone turn around a program that was a laughingstock not so long ago. ''It's special for me,'' Nassib said. ''It's my last game in the dome. I've been in there for the last five years. I would say there's a little more extra emphasis on being a little bit more prepared, more ready to go. But at the same time I've got to make sure I don't try to do too much.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Top 10 takeaways from Super Bowl 50

Was firing Jeff Hornacek the wrong move for the Suns?

Panthers picked wrong day to play worst game of the season

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50

Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Winners and losers from Super Bowl 50

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

Mike Carey gets another call wrong on incomplete pass in SB

Steph Curry beats Panthers' "Keep Pounding" drum

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker