Louisville football vs. Syracuse game day preview

Micale Cunningham #3 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Micale Cunningham #3 of the Louisville Cardinals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Previewing Louisville football’s game against Syracuse.

The Louisville football team is getting set to play a rare Friday night primetime game against the Orange tonight.

Syracuse was not expected to be very good as they were picked in the preseason to finish second to last in the ACC. Louisville, however, was picked to finish fourth. They are currently 12th in the conference while Syracuse is last at 15th.

Louisville will be playing their first game since star running back Javian Hawkins officially opted out of the 2020 season. Both teams have been hit by opt outs as Syracuse has had four very important pieces lost on the season.

Their two top running backs in Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard opted out in the preseason. Meanwhile, defensive backs Andre Cisco and Trill Williams made the decision to sit out the remainder of 2020 midway through the season to enter the 2021 NFL Draft. Both of them are likely to be picked.

Meanwhile, starting quarterback Tommy Devito suffered a season-ending injury earlier this season and will not play again in 2020.

Syracuse most recently lost to Boston College 16-13 and has lost five straight games.

Louisville most recently lost to Virginia 31-17 and have dropped two straight.

Let’s get into previewing this matchup.

Who: Syracuse Orange (1-7) at Louisville Cardinals (2-6)

Where: Cardinal Stadium; Louisville, Kentucky

When: Friday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. Eastern time

Spread: Louisville -19.5


Weather: 60 degrees and cloudy; Wind SSW 3 at mph

Game day uniforms:

These are tremendous. Bravo to Adidas for these awesome uniforms in what has generally been a not-so-tremendous 2020 football season.

Important game day links:

Players to watch for Louisville:

 RB Hassan Hall – The speedy running back is likely to make his return after missing four straight games for the Cardinals. It’s likely that Hall will garner the bulk of the touches and be listed as the starting back with Hawkins out. I am very intrigued to see Hall finally get a large workload in this offense.

LB Monty Montgomery – Montgomery did not have his best game last week against Virginia. He looked rusty after missing one week of action. Hopefully he can return to his usual form in this matchup.

DE Yaya Diaby Scott Satterfield confirmed that Diaby and Tabarius Peterson are back after (presumably) missing the last two games because of Covid reasons. The defense sorely missed Diaby over the last two games. We will see if the duo of Diaby and Peterson can get the pass rush going from the defensive end position.

QB Malik Cunningham – Cunningham needs to learn to value the football. In the Cardinals’ last game against Virginia, Cunningham ran for almost 200 yards on the ground. It sounds simple, but if Cunningham was turning the ball over at a lesser rate this year, his season would look actually pretty good for an ACC quarterback. He has had a huge issue with ball security. We will see if he can turn that around here.

Final thoughts:

This is a game that Louisville is very heavily favored. The Cardinals are returning to close to full strength even though Tutu Atwell is questionable and Hawkins has opted out. If Atwell plays, this team is looking very healthy coming into a game against a depleted Syracuse team.

With that said, Louisville needs to win this football game to show the public eye that they have signs of life. Syracuse is bad on offense (Ranked 123rd in yards per game). Louisville needs to dominate this team and their freshman quarterback when the Cards are on defense.

Louisville needs to get out and show they can still run the football with Hawkins gone and (if Atwell is out) find other options to throw the ball to.

Once again, Braden Smith seems like a reasonable option to get a lot of targets in this game if Atwell is out.

If Louisville does not dominate on both sides of the football, there is reason to be worried that this team has lost all of their confidence as the season winds down.

Score prediction:

Louisville 31, Syracuse 14

I get the feeling that this game will hover right around the projected spread. Syracuse still has a solid defense despite some opt outs. I do not think Syracuse’s offense will be able to score the way that Dino Babers and company will want to despite playing Louisville’s average defense.

Cards fans should be able to rest easy throughout this game. A Louisville loss would be disastrous and an extreme disservice to the amazing uniforms they are rocking under the lights.

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