CRAWFORD | Louisville-N.C.State: Five things to watch - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Louisville-N.C.State: Five things to watch

Posted: Updated:
TIME: 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

TV: Raycom Sports Network (Wes Durham play-by-play, James Bates analyst, Hans Heiserer sideline).

RADIO:
WKRD-790, Sirius Channel 119 Learfield Sports Network (Paul Rogers, Craig Swabeck, Doug Ormay).

TWITTER:
Follow @ericcrawford and @rickbozich for live updates. Hashtag: #NCSUvsLOU.

RECORDS:
Louisville 5-2, 3-2 ACC; N.C. State 4-3, 0-3 ACC.

SERIES:
Louisville leads 3-1, 2-0 in Louisville, N.C. State won the last meeting, 31-24 in the 2011 Belk Bowl.

LINE:
Louisville opened a 14 1/2-point favorite and was an 18 1/2-point favorite on Saturday morning.

PICKS:
Rick Bozich picks the Cards 35-10. Eric Crawford says Louisville wins 38-9. See their picks on their weekly Sports Page Live webcast every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at WDRB.com.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH:

1). GARDNER IS BACK.
Sophomore quarterback Will Gardner returns to the starting lineup after sitting out the past 2 1/2 games with an injury. Gardner came on in the second half to rally the Cardinals at Clemson, completing 10 of 16 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown in a 23-17 loss. He's thrown a TD pass in all five games he has played this season. While Gardner will get the start, freshman Reggie Bonnafon will play. Offensive coordinator Garrick McGee says the coaching staff has a special package for the Trinity grad, and will use it.

2). DEFENSE SEEKING MORE DOMINANCE.
The U of L defense, ranked No. 1 in the nation, hasn't allowed a touchdown in 17 quarters, and the first-team unit hasn't allowed a drive of longer than 33 yards for a touchdown this season (Murray State scored on a 71-yard pass play). Charles Gaines said this week the defense's goal is to not let the other team pass the midfield Cardinal logo.

3). PARKER IS A POSSIBILITY.
After sitting out last week's game at Clemson because of soreness from his return to practice, star wideout DeVante Parker could see the field this week. Petrino said he had a good week of practice, but still said he's "day-to-day." As to what his return to the team would mean, Petrino said he could not say.

"Does anybody have a crystal ball?" Petrino asked. "If I did, I wouldn't -- you don't know. You worry about his conditioning. You worry about he hasn't played for a long time. He's a tremendous player. We've all seen that. We've all seen the plays he can make. But you just don't know."

4). N.C. STATE DEPLETED.
The Wolfpack have suspended seven players for this game in connection with a BB gun incident on campus. Included in that number are two starters -- linebacker Jerod Fernandez -- the team's leading tackler -- and safety Josh Jones, from a defense that already was struggling. Beyond the seven suspended, five freshmen who are redshirting this season were suspended.

5). HOMECOMING.
Lorenzo Mauldin made the homecoming court, and should have a decent chance of walking away with a crown. At least, QB Will Gardner said he voted for him. "I don't think I had a choice," Gardner said.

RELATED: Eric Crawford column -- Looking for answers from Louisville's offensive line

Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.
  • Sign Up for the WDRB Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.