BOZICH | Five final questions for Louisville vs. Miami - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Five final questions for Louisville vs. Miami

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – You work on the refreshments for your tailgating party. I'll work on some final numbers for the Miami-Louisville football game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium at 8 p.m.

Here are five statistical targets to ponder:

1. With DeVante Parker out with a broken bone in his left foot, who leads Louisville in receptions against the Hurricanes and how many balls will he catch?

Give me Gerald Christian, the Cards' tight end with five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown.

Bobby Petrino has always tried to punish teams with his tight end. He has been praising Christian's play since spring. He's a large target with dependable hands who can run and break tackles.

Gerald Christian is my pick.

2. Duke Johnson led Miami in rushing last season. He averaged 115 yards per game. He scored six touchdowns, but played in only eight games.

So what kind of numbers will Johnson deliver against the Louisville defense?

The Cards are replacing some primary players in their run defense – tackles Brandon Dunn and Roy Philon, linebacker Preston Brown and safety Calvin Pryor. Miami is starting a true freshman at quarterback.

Translation: I expect Johnson to carry the ball at least 20 times. He's averaged over 6 yards per carry for his career – so I'll give Johnson 125 yards and a touchdown.

3. Michael Dyer's availability is another unknown. He's been battling a bruised thigh that he injured in a scrimmage 15 days ago. Dyer looked like Louisville's best back in the spring game as well as during part of that scrimmage.

Who will lead Louisville in rushing Monday night?

I have to go with Dominique Brown. Senior. Secures the ball. Runs with authority between the tackles. Protects the quarterback as a blocker on passing plays. He's a very solid player.

But Brown only eclipsed 100 yards in two games last season, and Miami limited him to 42 yards on 16 carries. Having a monster night will be difficult.

So give me Brown with 65 yards and one touchdown.

4. How many times will Louisville intercept Miami freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya?

You know the problem with freshmen quarterbacks, right? They don't always protect the ball. They need time to understand that the throws they could sneak between defensive backs in high school won't always get through the same seams in college. Miami coach Al Golden must really love this kid or else the Hurricanes have major issues at quarterback.

With Miami starting Kaaya, a guy who was playing high school football in California, a year ago, it's natural to expect the Cards to bring the pressure from every direction.

The Miami quarterbacks averaged a little more than one interception per game last season. Considering that Kaaya is playing his first game, I predict the offensive game plan will be conservative, but that the defensive game plan will be aggressive.

Louisville will get Kaaya once.

5. Bobby Petrino likely had the first play scripted for this game about 17 minutes after he was hired from Western Kentucky last January. Odds are that he's got the first three or four series scripted.

You've got a 50-50 chance to get this one correct: Will Petrino's first play call be a pass or run?

I'll say pass – to tight end Gerald Christian.

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