Location: Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN
Game Time: 4 PM ET on September 14th, 2019
How To Watch: WatchStadium
Series History: Louisville leads the all-time series 20-12. In last year’s meeting, the Cardinals hung on for a 20-17 victory despite a late push from the Hilltoppers, who were led by Davis Shanley at quarterback.
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers managed an upset victory over FIU last week for the first win of Tyson Helton’s head coaching career. Steven Duncan threw for 241 yards and a touchdown despite throwing two interceptions. Converted defensive back Gaej Walker ran for over 100 yards for the second straight game at running back. Part of the Tops’ defensive success in that game can be attributed to James Morgan sitting for most of the game with an injury, but strong performances by Devon Key, Juwuan Jones, and DeAngelo Malone also helped things along.
That performance was in relatively stark contrast to WKU’s first game of the year where they lost 35-28 to the University of Central Arkansas. In that game, the secondary looked lost, particularly in the fourth quarter where the Bears scored 21 unanswered points. Luckily for them, they seem to be improving in that department after allowing just 66 yards passing against FIU.
On the other side, the Cardinals are 1-1 to start the season. They opened the season with a 35-17 home loss to #9 Notre Dame where they didn’t seem to have an answer for the Irish run game. On the flip side, the Cardinals demonstrated a clear ability to run the ball despite fumbling it five times. Running backs Javian Hawkins and Hassan Hall and quarterback Jawon Pass combined for 249 yards. That trend carried over into the next week, where they ran for 322 yards in a 42-0 win over Eastern Kentucky.
As ironic as it is that a guy named Pass is a run specialist, he may be in his element this week. WKU’s defensive line will likely get quite a bit of penetration to try and flush Pass out of the pocket. As a result, Pass will be scampering around quite a bit, which seems to work out for him.
Last season, it Davis Shanley’s legs that allowed the Hilltoppers to hang around as long as they did. Duncan just isn’t that type of quarterback and this Louisville defense is a lot better than last year.
Louisville wins 28-13