In its final season in the Big East in 2012, Louisville
suffered its most lopsided defeat in the Charlie Strong era in
Syracuse. The teams meet for the first time since as ACC rivals
Friday when the Cardinals visit the Orange. Strong went 37-15
in four seasons at Louisville and entered Syracuse with a 9-0
mark two years ago before the Orange rolled to 45-26 win over
the Cardinals, who ended in a four-way tie atop the Big East
before upsetting then-No. 4 Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
First-year Louisville coach Bobby Petrino – in his second tour
of duty with the Cardinals – had no such problem with Syracuse
from 2003-06, winning each of the three meetings by at least 10
points. Louisville, which has won two in a row following last
week’s 20-10 comeback victory over Wake Forest, will look
forward to improving to 5-1 or better for the third straight
season against a Syracuse team that forced five turnovers
against No. 8 Notre Dame, only to lose 31-15. A win is critical
for the possible bowl hopes of the Orange, who host No. 2
Florida State next week before playing four of their final six
games on the road.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The opening line saw the
Cardinals as 3.5-point favorites before dropping as low as -1.5
and then rebounding back to Louisville -3. Bettors have been
hammering the under causing a drop from 48.5 to 46.5 since
INJURY REPORT: Cardinals – RB
L.J. Scott (Ques-Ankle), QB Will Gardner (Out-Knee)
Orange – WR Brisly Estime (Ques-Ankle),
WR Ashton Broyld (Out-Leg)
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Louisville dominated
Wake Forest last week despite only winning by 10 points
(20-10). The Cardinals had a 421-100 total yards edge,
and Wake Forest’s only touchdown came on a fumble recovery in
the end zone. Louisville’s defense has been fantastic
this season, holding opponents to just 14 points per game on
3.7 yards per play. Syracuse comes in off back-to-back losses
to Maryland and Notre Dame. The Orange should hold a big
rushing edge in this game as they are averaging 232.5 yards on
the ground per game. Syracuse has played good on both
sides off the ball despite their 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS record
overall.” Covers Expert Steve Merril
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (4-1, 2-1 ACC): The
Cardinals, who led the nation in rushing defense in 2013 (80.7
yards), are doing it again this season by holding opponents to
58.2 yards through five games after the Demon Deacons recorded
minus-22 yards – the lowest total Louisville has allowed to an
opponent since 2000. The Cardinals have forced 13 turnovers –
the most through five contests since 2005 – nearly half of
which have come courtesy of safety Gerod Holliman, who has at
least one interception in four games and leads the country with
six. Starting quarterback Will Gardner is questionable with a
knee injury that forced him to miss the Wake Forest game.
ABOUT SYRACUSE (2-2, 0-0): With Ashton Broyld
recovering from a lower leg injury that is expected to keep him
out another week or two, Jarrod West stepped up with a
career-high eight catches for 103 yards against the Fighting
Irish – becoming the 11th receiver in school annals with at
least 100 career receptions. Prince Tyson-Gulley, who rushed
for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the 2012 upset of
Louisville, moved into second place in Syracuse history for
career catches by a running back with 63. The Orange collected
three turnovers in the first quarter against Notre Dame, one
more than their season total entering the contest.
*Cardinals are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 road games.
*Under is 5-1 in Orange last 6 games following a ATS loss.
*Under is 16-5 in Cardinals last 21 games overall.
*Underdog is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 70.29% of Covers users are
backing Louisville -3. Total bettors are near split with 52% on