Featured Video from Scott Reichel
The Louisville Cardinals play their state rival, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Saturday in a neutral site game. The Hilltoppers gave the Cardinals all they could handle last year, losing 20-17 at Louisville. The Cardinals, who play in the ACC, are 1-1 on the year. They are coming off a 42-0 shutout win over Eastern Kentucky last week. The Hilltoppers, who play in Conference USA, are also 1-1. They are coming off a conference win over Florida International. Kickoff is on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Louisville is a 9 point favorite in the early lines.
Western Kentucky pulls upset at FIU
Western Kentucky played their much more heralded and accomplished state rival, the Louisville Cardinals, last year for the first time in many years. Despite being a huge underdog, they gave the Cardinals everything they could handle before losing 20-17. So here they are, playing the Cardinals for the second straight year, and once again they are underdogs, but not as big as they were last year. They are also playing on a neutral site, Nissan Stadium in Nashville. Do they have a chance?
The Hilltoppers come into this game at 1-1. They lost their opener to Southland Conference foe Central Arkansas in their season opener. It was not a good start for new coach Tyson Helton, who was hired as coach in December. Making matters, WKU blew a 14 point fourth quarter lead as Central Arkansas scored 21 straight points to win 35-28.
The Hilltoppers bounced back last week with a 20-14 win at Florida International University. It was a huge win because FIU is considered to be one of the favorites in Conference USA. It was also big because it was on the road and it was Helton’s first win. “Obviously it’s just one win, but the key is to build off of this success. I’m really proud of our guys,” Helton said, reported Underdog Dynasty.
Quarterback Steven Duncan went 19 for 33 for 241 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Gaej walker racked up 100 yards rushing and a touchdown, while Lucky Jackson had 6 catches for 94 yards. Kyle Fourtenbary had 5 grabs for 74 yards. But the real story was the defense. They shut down FIU and held them to just 66 yards passing and just over 200 total yards. They stopped a potential game winning drive by FIU in the final minutes. “Coach all this week was preaching the last five minutes of the game,” WKU safety Devon Key told the Bowling Green Daily News. “We knew it was going to come down to that and we knew what we had to do.”
Louisville gets first win for Satterfield
Louisville is not expected to be a top tier team in the ACC this year, but they have proven in the early going of the 2019 season that they will be a team to reckoned with. In their season opener, they lost to No. 7 ranked Notre Dame by the score of 35-17, but it was closer than the score would indicate. They jumped out to a 14-7 lead and kept it close until Notre Dame put it away with a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Louisville coach Scott Satterfield named Javian Hawkins the starting running back before game one. Hawkins has responded with back-to-back 100-yard games. https://t.co/nNGpvtxIH6
— Jody Demling (@jdemling) September 10, 2019
Last week, the Cardinals took out their frustrations on another cross-state rival, Eastern Kentucky. They pounded Eastern Kentucky 42-0 as quarterback Jawon Pass was 12 for 19 for 196 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. Pass also ran for 37 yards. Running back Javian Hawkins just ran over Eastern Kentucky for 123 yards on just 11 carries. Malik Cunningham added 74 yards on the ground. Justin Marshall had 59 yards receiving while Chartorius Atwell had 53 yards and a touchdown. Louisville had 542 total yards.
It was the first win for new coach Scott Satterfield, who had a successful run at Appalachian State. “To have a goose egg, as our guys like to call it, it was exciting for them to be able to celebrate that,” Satterfield told Kentucky.com. “That’s a hard feat to do in college football, to shut another team out … they just kept the pressure on them all night … It’s been a long time for them to celebrate in the locker room with a victory. And all the hard work we put into the offseason and summer … to come out here and get a victory like that was tremendous for our guys.”
- Cardinals are 16-4-1 ATS in their last 21 vs. CUSA.
- Hilltoppers are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Hilltoppers are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 non-conference games.
- Hilltoppers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Take Louisville giving up the points. This is by no means and easy game for the Cardinals. Western Kentucky came within a field goal of beating them last year and they are a team that showed it can win on the road against a team it’s not supposed to beat. Their defense was fantastic against FIU, but they have a much tougher task to hold down Louisville, who’s averaged 29 points and 462 yards per game. The key here will be the running game. Louisville has averaged 285 yards per game on the ground, which is 11th, while the Hilltoppers have allowed 235 yards per game on the ground. Louisville will look to run it down WKU’s throat and will be successful doing it. But I still think it will be close for most of the game as in-state rivalry games are always a little more intense. But a late touchdown will put this away for Louisville.
Prediction: Louisville -9
Full-Game Total Pick
Take the under. It’s early and we don’t quite know what these teams are yet, but this game will help define both of them a little bit. Right now, it looks like the defenses aren’t great. Louisville shut out Eastern Kentucky, but I don’t read too much into that as it was a mismatch. If they shut down WKU, it may help validate that shut out. Western Kentucky has not been very effective stopping the run, so I don’t see them offering much resistance. But it will be a ground and pound type game, eating up the clock, so I don’t see the total reaching the pretty high over-under total. The under is 5-0 in Cardinals last 5 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game and 4-1 their last 5 non-conference games. Also, the under is 4-1 in Hilltoppers last 5 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.