Matchup Notebook: Louisville Offense vs. Connecticut Defense

Video Interviews: Teddy Bridgewater | Scott Radcliff | Jeremy Wright

Offensive Numbers Increase from 2011
After finishing the 2011 season with 400 yards of total offense in one game, the Cardinals have reached that number in seven of 10 games this season and have surpassed 500 in two of the last three games. In the last three games, the Cardinals have been virtually unstoppable, averaging a solid 501.3 yards per game. Louisville tallied 524 in a win over Cincinnati and 508 in a victory against Temple. The Cardinals are ranked 41st in the nation in total offense at 434.3 yards per game, which would be the first time Louisville averaged better than 400 yards of total offense since the 2007 season.

Gawdy Defensive Numbers for the Huskies
The Connecticut defense has established itself as one of the top units in college football this season. UConn is ninth in total defense (296.2 yards per game), 11th in rushing defense (107.6 yards per game), 22nd in tackles for loss (7.0 per game), 22nd in sacks (2.7 per game), 21st in pass defense (188.6 yards per game) and 19th in scoring defense (18.4 points per game). The Huskies lead the BIG EAST in total defense, rushing defense, pass defense and sacks.

“They’re a tough defense — very physical and they stop the run,” said Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. “I believe they’re leading the conference in total defense, so we have a big task ahead.”

Williams Leads UConn Defense as Program’s All-Time Sack Leader
Senior defensive end Trevardo Williams became Connecticut’s career sack leader on Nov. 3 against USF. Entering this week’s game, he has 27.5 career sacks, including 8.5 this season. Williams ranks 18th in the nation and first in the BIG EAST at 0.85 sacks per game this season. He is also ninth on the team in tackles with 36 overall.

Smallwood Tied for 20th in the Nation in Tackles
Redshirt sophomore linebacker Yawin Smallwood leads the Huskies in tackles this season with 100 entering this week’s game and is tied for 20th in the nation at 10.11 tackles per game. He is also tied for 27th nationally in tackles for loss with 1.3 per game, which is tied for first in the BIG EAST with teammate Sio Moore. Smallwood has been honored twice this season as BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week.

Bridgewater Saving His Best for Last
Not that sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater didn’t play good football in the first half of the season, but he has saved his best for the second half of the year. While his first half numbers were solid, completing 72.0 percent of his throws, throwing for 1,353 yards and tossing eight touchdowns, his second-half numbers are even better. In the last five games, Bridgewater has completed 69.9 percent of his throws and passed for 13 touchdowns. He is averaging 301.0 yards per game in the last five contests and has tossed just three interceptions. He tossed a career-best five touchdown passes in a win over Temple on Nov. 3.

See Red and Score
Through 10 games, the Louisville offense has ventured into the red zone 42 times and come away with 41 scores (98 percent). The Cardinals have converted in the red zone on 27 straight possessions in the red zone. The last time the Cardinals failed to convert in the red zone was in the third quarter against North Carolina on Sept. 15, when Senorise Perry was stopped on fourth and 1. The Cardinals lead the nation in red zone offense, besting Clemson, Wyoming and Mississippi, which are converting at a 94 percent clip.

Spreading the Scoring Wealth
Louisville has demonstrated its outstanding, playmaking depth on offense during its 9-1 start this season. Twelve different players have found their way into the end zone on offense. Those 12 players have combined to score 43 offensive touchdowns. Junior Senorise Perry leads the team with 11 touchdowns, while junior Jeremy Wright is second with nine scores. Sophomore wide receiver DeVante Parker is tops among the wide receivers with six touchdown receptions.

Big Play Cardinals
The Cardinals, who weren’t much of a big-play offense last season, have changed that in 2012. Louisville already has 46 rushing and passing plays of over 20 yards through the first nine games. The Cardinals have nine runs of over 20 or more yards and 37 pass plays. Despite the big loss, the Cardinals had five passing plays of over 20 yards. Sophomore wide receiver DeVante Parker, who only has 22 receptions, owns a team-high 11 receptions of 20 or more yards, while junior Senorise Perry has eight plays, and junior Damian Copeland and Andrell Smith have six plays of 20 or more yards.

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