LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – When Louisville Cardinal senior Sheldon Rankins was asked what he’s planning for Thanksgiving, his response was simple.
“I’m a 300 pound defensive lineman. You can put 2 and 2 together,” he said.
His post-Thanksgiving plans are pretty obvious as well. Rankins and the Louisville defense will try to shut down Kentucky’s offense Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium to pick up its seventh win of the season.
“I’ve played against (UK) for quite a while now,” said U of L defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who coached at Georgia from 2010 to 2013 before joining the Louisville staff. “They’ve done a really good job in recruiting and they’ve really worked to elevate the talent that they have there.”
One talented running back the defense will key on is sophomore Boom Williams. He has rushed for more than 800 yards in nine games for the Wildcats, including a 140 yard, two touchdown performance in UK’s 58-10 win over Charlotte last Saturday.
“I have a little bit of awareness of him being that he’s from Georgia. I think he’s an explosive guy. He’s a guy who has more power than you might think relative to his size,” said Grantham.
UK (5-6) most likely needs a win in hopes of reaching the postseason, although there’s an outside shot some 5-7 teams could receive bowl bids this year. Eliminating Kentucky from bowl contention is not what’s on the line for Rankins.
“If they were 8-4 and trying to get to a better bowl game, we’d still try to go out and win this game,” said Rankins.
Rankins has not lost to Kentucky. He says head coach Bobby Petrino (6-5 this season) has reminded the team that he’s 6-1 vs. Kentucky as a head coach, 5-0 vs. UK as head coach of the Cardinals.
“Coach Petrino has made us well aware of his record against them,” Rankins joked after Wednesday’s practice. “He’s adamant about us going out there and taking care of business, like he is every week.”
The Governor’s Cup rivalry game is scheduled for a noon kickoff Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
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