Game Preview: WVU vs. Louisville

After going 1-1 on the road the Mountaineers come home to play Louisville.  Louisville is 1-2 on the road, which means the Mountaineers will look to make them 1-3 after Saturday.

Last week against Rutgers the Mountaineers showed that they are definitely a second half team.  In the second half Geno Smith threw for two touchdowns and ran for one also.  Smith also added 218 yards passing and against the Louisville defense he should have no problem.  Running back Shawne Alston had 14 carries for 110 and two touchdowns.  Tavon Austin also had 2 carries for 96 yards and one touchdown.  This shows that the Mountaineers do in fact have a run game; they just have to use it more.  Austin also led the receivers with 8 receptions for 67 yards and one touchdown.  If Smith can resist the urge to turn the ball over and if the Mountaineers can establish a run game the Mountaineer offense should surge past the Louisville defense.

The Mountaineers' defense played exceptionally well last week by picking off Rutgers' quarterback Gary Nova twice.  The defense also came away with two sacks and one fumble recovery.  They will definitely have to play at this level if they want to make a statement against Louisville's quarterback.  Combined both Louisville quarterbacks have thrown seven interceptions and the Mountaineer secondary will look to take advantage of that.  Still the Mountaineers’ defense has struggled in the sack department this year and this is still one area of concern that they need to work on.  So far this year the Cardinals have allowed nine sacks in total on their quarterbacks which is good news since the Mountaineers will look to expose this weakness in the Louisville offensive line.  If the Mountaineer defense can play like they did against Rutgers then they should have no problem dismantling the Louisville offense.

West Virginia's defensive special teams also played exceptionally well last week by allowing only 98 yards in total return yards.  Punter Michael Molinari had eight punts for 306 yards with four them landing inside the twenty yard line.  Return man Brad Starks had five returns for 83 yards with his longest being 19 yards.  Kicker Tyler Bitancurt did not kick a field goal last week and he went 5/6 on extra point attempts.  It seems like the Mountaineer defensive special teams have finally figured out how to tackle and hopefully this will transition over to this week when it comes time to make a big play. 

If all falls into place the Mountaineers should easily be able to overcome the Cardinals.  This win will also help out the Mountaineers in the Big East standings.

Prediction: WVU-35  Louisville-21

Player of the Game: Geno Smith 25-40  268 yards  3TDs

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