CRAWFORD | Citrus Bowl warm-up: Louisville looks to rewrite fina - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Citrus Bowl warm-up: Louisville looks to rewrite final act of 2016 script vs. LSU

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Louisville warms up before its Citrus Bowl matchup against LSU (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford) Louisville warms up before its Citrus Bowl matchup against LSU (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford)

ORLANDO, Fla. (WDRB) — The University of Louisville football team is playing in its 16th bowl in 19 years and comes into Saturday’s Citrus Bowl matchup against LSU with the Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback, but the Cardinals are the team looking to cement their own credibility after losses to Houston and Kentucky to end the season.

Louisville finished the season ranked No. 2 in the nation in total offense, but in the month of November, the Cardinals were the No. 39 offensive team in the nation, and were 38th in the nation in scoring offense.

That’s bad news coming up against a stout LSU defense that has given up only 16 touchdowns in 11 games -- though the Tigers will be playing Saturday without leading tackler, linebacker Kendell Beckwith.

“You want to go out on the right note,” senior linebacker Keith Kelsey said. “I mean, we didn't finish the season how we wanted to. But we have a chance to bounce back and rebound in this game here.”

Wideout Jamari Staples said that the team expects to play “with a chip on our shoulder.” Sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson said, “Those last two games, I’m still mad about those.” The Cardinals will be without two key defensive players -- Josh Harvey Clemons and Trumaine Washington -- who are out with injuries.

Defensively, LSU figures to put plenty of pressure on Jackson with a talented and athletic front line. The Tigers will play man-to-man against Louisville receivers, fill the box with bodies and force Jackson to throw into tight windows and make quick decisions.

Louisville will have to make plays at receiver and might have a chance to gash the defense for some nice runs.

How much of a chance Jackson gets, however, depends on the ability of the Louisville defense to get off the field. LSU will try to use a power rushing game behind running back Darius Guice to control possession and limit Jackson’s time on the field.

“I think they'll be the most talented defense that we've (played) against this year,” Petrino said. “They're very physical up front and do a great job in their run gaps. Their linebackers are big and can run and are physical and they've got guys that can match up and play man coverage. So I think just the number of snaps of man coverage that they play will be new to us than most of the people we've played this year.”

The past seven Heisman winners have gone on to win their subsequent bowl games. LSU is a 3-point favorite in this one.

Louisville will need to break out of its offensive doldrums — and tendency for turnovers — if it wants to end its end-of-2016 losing streak.

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