Piscataway, NJ --- Louisville and Rutgers kick off at 7:30 tonight, with the Big East's automatic bid to a BCS Bowl game on the line. Here are some pre-game notes:
Teddy Bridgewater's Status
-Rumors of Teddy Bridgewater not playing do not have merit at the time this article was written. I spoke with a team official who told me Bridgewater will play with that cast on his left non-throwing wrist. Any type of setback in pre-game warm-ups could obviously affect that.
-Since Bridgewater is unable to take snaps under center with the cast, everything will be run tonight out of the shotgun or pistol formation. Both Charlie Strong and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said Bridgewater will have no problem handing the ball off in those formations and the plays are the same (just in different formation). Watson went as far as to say Louisville is more of a pistol team than under center team anyway.
-Strong and Watson said different things this week in regards to back-up QB Will Stein playing tonight. Strong said Stein would play and could come in near the goal line to run plays that require the quarterback under center. However, Watson said the pistol formation renders Stein coming into the game for certain plays unnecessary. We'll see. I have a feeling Teddy's pain tolerance will be critical tonight.
- The forecast calls for temperatures in the mid 30s at kickoff, with a low in Piscataway tonight in the 20s. Louisville's roster is full of Florida players, including Bridgewater. They do not particularly enjoy the cold, and Bridgewater's spot on the bench at home is always in front of the giant heater. Wide-receiver and longtime friend of Teddy's Eli Rogers had this to say about the cold Monday: "It bothers us, but it's all mind over matter."
- A sold-out crowd is expected at High Point Solutions Stadium, with each fan getting a white rally towel on the way in through the gates. Capacity is 52,454. It will not be friendly. I repeat. It will not be friendly. This is a crowd and student-section infamous for obscene behavior, most notably for deplorable behavior in a game against Navy in 2007. Chants of 'You got f---'d up!' and 'F--- you, Navy' came pouring down on the players who would later serve in the armed forces. And the tailgaters were already at the stadium when I arrived at 1pm. As Tom Brady would say, plenty of time to get 'lubed up'.
Rutgers opened as a 3-point favorite, the standard spread for the home team. It dropped earlier this week to 2, but around 4pm Thursday, shot back up to favor Rutgers by 3 1/2 points in Las Vegas. Frankly though, I don't think Cardinal fans will care if Louisville were to only win by a single point.
Enjoy the game. If and when Charlie Strong address the media after the game, I will get that interview posted to WDRB.com as soon as possible.
You can also follow me on Twitter (@steveandress) for live updates from the stadium, (if the wifi and cell service are cooperating here).