Despite getting off to a slow start running the football, Louisville found its ground game toward the end of the year. The Cardinals averaged 135.0 yards per game over the last six contests, going over the 100-yard mark in each of those games. In contrast, the Cardinals were held to fewer than 100 yards in three of the first six games.
Louisville has taken the running back by committee approach with three backs totaling more than 330 yards, and no one with more than 500. Converted quarterback Dominique Brown leads the Cards’ rushing attack with 482 yards and four scores, while Victor Anderson emerged late in the season and has rushed for 478 yards and three scores. Louisville is 7-2 this year when rushing for more than 100 yards.
For the most part in 2011, NC State exhibited great improvement rushing the football. In road losses at Cincinnati, Florida State and Boston College, rushing was atrocious, as the team fell behind early and fought to come back (-26 rushing at Cincinnati, 36 at FSU at 47 at BC). In the other eight games, however, State averaged 155 rushing yards per game.
The Wolfpack has had four individual 100+ yard performances this season, one by Curtis Underwood and three by James Washington. That marks the first time since 2007 that has occurred and, if a State player is to reach the century mark in terms of rushing again in the bowl game, it will mark the first time since 2002 that it’s happened five times in a season.