BOZICH | Louisville vs. Clemson football by the numbers - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Louisville vs. Clemson football by the numbers

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Louisville will host Clemson for the first time at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Thursday night. Louisville will host Clemson for the first time at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Thursday night.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Clemson’s first trip to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium: The second time the Tigers and the University of Louisville have played football. The third game of the season for each program.

The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. An ESPN production team is in place. Clemson (2-0) was listed as a 6 1/2-point favorite Wednesday afternoon. But the number was only 6 at 8 a.m. Thursday. 

Now let’s look at the game by the numbers.

1. 0 – Times Bobby Petrino has lost four straight games as a college coach.

In fact, this is only the second time Petrino has lost three in a row during his 128- game college-coaching career at Louisville, Western Kentucky and Arkansas.

It happened during his first season at Arkansas. The Razorbacks were booked against Alabama (ranked 9th), Texas (No. 7) and Florida (No. 12). Not only did Arkansas whiff, the Hogs were outscored by a combined 108 points.

The Cardinals have opened his season with back-to-back defeats against Auburn and Houston, after ending the 2014 with a loss to Georgia in the Belk Bowl.

On seven other occasions, Petrino lost two in a row, but the streak stopped there.

2. 3-18. The flip slide. Louisville sits as a 6-point underdog against the Tigers. Petrino’s record in college games when his team has been at least a 6-point underdog is not overpowering.

Only three wins in 21 games, including six straight losses.

The last time his team won when it was an underdog by six points or more was 2009. His Arkansas team toppled Mississippi State as an 11-point underdog.

3. 279.3 – Average passing yards per game by U of L quarterback Kyle Bolin in his last three appearances. Not bad, eh?

Actually it’s not three complete games because Bolin was a relief pitcher against Kentucky last season as well as against Houston Saturday.

Here are Bolin’s numbers during his extended appearances against UK, Georgia and Houston:

He’s completed 51 of 89 passes (57 percent) for 838 yards. Bolin has thrown five touchdown passes with three interceptions.

From my seat, Bolin gives Louisville its best chance to throw the football Petrino-style.

4.  57-3 -- How unlikely was Louisville’s 34-31 loss to Houston last Saturday?

You judge: But don’t make your decision until I share this statistic.

Prior to Saturday, Petrino had been involved in 59 college games with his team as a double-digit favorite.

His record was 57-2.

The losses?

His 2013 Western Kentucky team was the pick by 10 over Troy. WKU lost by six.

The biggest upset of Petrino's career came at Louisville in 2005. His Cardinals traveled to Tampa as 20-point favorites against South Florida. They returned home lugging a 31-point defeat, the biggest upset of Petrino’s college career.

So the Houston game ranks as the second-biggest upset in Petrino’s career. And moves his record to 57-3 when his team was favored by at least 10.

5. 12 -- Safety Josh Harvey-Clemons is the U of L player who registers best in the national NCAA statistical rankings.

Harvey-Clemons is tied for fifth nationally in tackles, averaging a dozen per game. He is also tied for seventh in interceptions per game, picking off a pair against Auburn.

6. 31 – Number of years since Louisville started 0-3.

That 1984 Louisville team was coached by the late Bob Weber. Their quarterback was Ed Rubbert, the top running back was Ron Davenport and the top receiver was Ernest Givins. Rubbert played briefly in the NFL, but Givins had a solid career, primarily with the Houston Oilers. He appeared in two pro bowls.

The Cards lost to Murray State, West Virginia and SMU before beating Houston and Western Kentucky on their way to a 2-9 season.

7. 98.1– How many more rushing yards per game the Cardinals are allowing this season compared to 2014.

A year ago, U of L limited opponents to 109.9 rushing yards per game and 14 touchdowns. In 2015, Auburn and Houston have averaged 208 yards per game, but the Cards have allowed only two touchdowns.

8. 6-4 – The Cards have won six of their last 10 Thursday games televised by ESPN.

The losses were to Florida State (2014), Rutgers (2008 and 2006) and West Virginia (2007).

The wins came in 2013 (Cincinnati, Rutgers), 2007 (Rutgers), 2006 (West Virginia), 2005 (Pittsburgh) and 2004 (Memphis).

9. 4.9 – Number of victories ESPN's computer model predicts for Louisville this season in the aftermath of the losses to Auburn and Houston.

10. 8 – The number of true freshman who have played for the Cards this season. The list features receivers Emonee Spence, Jaylen Smith, Devante Peete and Traveon Samuel, cornerback Jaire Alexander, offensive linemen Geron Christian and Kenny Thomas and quarterback Lamar Jackson.

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