Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#157 Western Kentucky 55.5 vs.
#158 Louisville -10.5
Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 4:00pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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#157 Western Kentucky University
#158 University of Louisville
1-1
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23
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It’s a battle for the Bluegrass State when the ACC travels to face Conference USA in week 3 college football action. The Louisville Cardinals are on the road as they travel to face the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Saturday afternoon. Louisville bounced back from their season-opening loss as they trounced Eastern Kentucky 42-0 at home last Saturday. Western Kentucky held on for a 20-14 road win over Florida International in their conference opener last Saturday. The Cardinals won the only previous meeting, taking a 20-17 home win on September 15, 2018.

Louisville Cardinals Seek Second Straight Victory

Louisville got the first win of the Scott Satterfield era as they trounced Eastern Kentucky at home last week to even their record. The Cardinals now look for a second straight win as they face another geographical Bluegrass State program. Louisville took a 14-0 lead after the opening quarter and then buried Eastern Kentucky with four second-half touchdowns. The Cardinals had a massive 542-172 advantage in total offense and racked up 23 first downs while allowing 10: that helped offset committing the game’s lone turnover and losing the time of possession by a 33:27 to 26:33 margin in the contest.

The Cardinals enter this contest averaging 177 yards per contest through the air and 285.5 yards per game on the ground this season. Louisville is 65th in the FBS by averaging 29.5 points per contest while the team is 41st in scoring defense by giving up 17.5 points per game. Jawon Pass has completed 24 of 46 passes for 330 yards with four touchdowns against one interception while adding 104 yards plus two scores on the ground. Malik Cunningham completed his lone pass attempt for 24 yards while adding 73 yards and a score on the ground. Tutu Atwell misfired on his only pass attempt. Javian Hawkins leads the Cardinals with 30 carries for 245 yards while Hassan Hall (26 carries, 127 yards, TD) provides a solid secondary back in the system. Atwell leads the team with seven receptions for 100 yards plus a score while Marshon Ford (five grabs, 69 yards, two TD) and Dez Fitzpatrick (four catches, 42 yards, TD) are next in line. Blanton Creque has hit all eight extra point attempts and one of two on field goal tries with a long of 42 this season.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Try to Climb Above .500

Western Kentucky managed to pick up a road win over Florida International in their conference opener last week to get back to the .500 mark on the year. The Hilltoppers now try to down an in-state rival in non-conference action to pick up a second straight win. Western Kentucky held a 339-217 edge in total offense, picked up 17 first downs while allowing 14 and owned a 33:09 to 26:51 edge in time of possession. The Hilltoppers did turn the ball over twice, including a pick-six, while not forcing a turnover, but came up with the win. Western Kentucky forced Florida International to turn the ball over on downs after the Golden Panthers drove to a first and goal from the two-yard line and then ran the clock out to preserve the win.

The Hilltoppers average 272.5 yards per game through the air while picking up 141 yards per contest on the ground this season. Western Kentucky is 85th in the FBS in scoring offense with 24 points per game while the team stands 68th in scoring defense by allowing 24.5 points per contest. Steven Duncan has completed 45 of 72 passes for 545 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions on the season while he’s second on the team with 17 yards and a score on the ground. Gaej Walker leads the team in rushing with 46 carries for 252 yards and three scores. In the passing game, Jahcour Pearson leads the team with 11 receptions for 93 yards plus a score. Lucky Jackson (nine grabs, 114 yards), Jacquez Sloan (six catches, 88 yards) and Kyle Fountenbary (six grabs, 78 yards) are other targets for Duncan to look to in the aerial assault. Cory Munson has hit all six extra points and two of three field goal tries with a long of 44.

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Louisville was lights out in their win over Eastern Kentucky to get the first win for Scott Satterfield with the program. Of course, beating a team from the Ohio Valley Conference isn’t going to put much in the way of fear in opposing teams. Western Kentucky isn’t a powerhouse but they gave Louisville a fight in their meeting last season when the Cardinals were the host team. We saw that the Hilltoppers’ defense can step up and make plays at critical junctures as they did late against Florida International. Look for Western Kentucky to at worst cover the line, if they don’t prevail outright.

Prediction: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers +9

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Louisville put together a solid showing at home against Eastern Kentucky last week but they still have work to do in order to be successful. The Cardinals are completing only 52.1 percent of their pass attempts this season and their win came over a FCS program. Western Kentucky has thrown more picks (four) than touchdowns (two) this season but the Hilltoppers have relied on their defense to hang in games. Louisville needed a late stop to beat Western Kentucky at home last season: can the Hilltoppers return the favor in this contest?

The under is 5-0 in the Cardinals’ last 5 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game, 5-0 in their last 5 games following a straight up win, 7-1 in their last 8 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game and 6-1-1 in their last 8 neutral site games. Western Kentucky has seen the under go 4-0 in their last four in September and 4-1 in their last 5 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game. We saw a low-scoring affair between the teams last season and there’s little reason to think that this one will be much different. Look for this to fall under the total.

Prediction: Under 55.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.