Louisville Cardinals vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Free Pick 10/10/13

Louisville Cardinals vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Free Pick 10/10/13
2013-10-10 06:30:00 EDT

The 4-1 Rutgers Scarlet Knights visit the undefeated, 8th ranked Louisville Cardinals with first place in the AAC on the line Thursday night at 7:30PM on ESPN.

Rutgers got their first conference win this past weekend in exciting fashion with a 55-52 triple OT thriller at SMU.  The Scarlet Knights let a comfortable lead slip away and found themselves in eerily similar circumstances to their opening season loss at Fresno State.  Rutgers built a 21-0 lead in the second quarter and a 35-14 lead late in the 3rd before the Mustangs rallied back. Garrett Gilbert shredded the Rutgers secondary all through the fourth quarter — the unit yielded 484 yards through the air for the game.  In OT, Gary Nova hit Leonte Carroo from both 4 and 29 yards and for touchdowns before a 17 yard Justin Goodwin run sealed the game.  Nova finished the contest with 283 yards and 4 passing touchdowns on the game.  Goodwin led all rushers with 149 yards and 2 TD’s on the ground and added another via the pass.  Rutgers escaped with the win and their 1st win as a member of the AAC conference — the Scarlet Knights will need to focus all of their game planning around getting better play from their DBs with Teddy Bridgewater and a potent Louisville aerial attack looming.

Louisville made it 5-0 on the season and 1-0 in conference play with an easy win on the road at Temple 30-7 on Saturday.  The Cardinals got to work early on a Teddy Bridgewater TD to Gerald Christian.  The Louisville defense did the rest as the unit forced a first half turnover and routinely gave the O solid field position on their way to a 24-0 lead at the break.  The Owls finished with just 255 total yards of offense and most of that was gained during the 2nd half when the game was out of reach.  Bridgewater continued his strong play with 348 yards and 2 TDs on the day with no picks.  With the Owls focusing their attention on DeVante Parker, Eli Rogers led the Cardinals in recieving with 77 yards and a TD on 5 catches.  The Cardinals added 177 yards on the ground by committee with Dominique Bitemn’s 76 yards leading the way.  With the win, the Cardinals now boast a nation’s best scoring defense (6.8 ppg) and the 12th ranked scoring offense at 44.4 ppg.

Some trends to consider – Rutgers is 11-4-1 against the spread in their last 16 games versus teams with a winning record and Louisville is 5-2 against the spread in their last 7 overall.

While I still believe these two teams are the most complete from top to bottom in the entire AAC conference, Louisville has shown that they are on another level defensively and I expect that to be the difference maker in this one.  Look for Teddy Bridgewater to have all types of opportunities against the struggling Rutgers secondary and the line and linebacking corps of Louisville to be too much for Gary Nova and company to handle as the Cardinals take the cover and control of AAC play with the 21-24 point win.

Mitch Wilson's Free Pick:
Louisville -16
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Mitch Wilson

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