NASHVILLE – Louisville overcame a quick turnaround to rout a state rival for its first win of the season last weekend. The Cardinals will be more rested when they take on a Bluegrass State foe once again, this time meeting Western Kentucky on Saturday afternoon in a neutral-site affair in Nashville, Tenn.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, Stadium. LINE: Louisville -10
Just five days after a season-opening loss to Notre Dame, Louisville dominated Eastern Kentucky last Saturday en route to a 42-0 win, snapping a 10-game losing streak dating to a win over Western Kentucky on Sept. 15, 2018. "It's good because we did get a win, no question about it," first-year coach Scott Satterfield told reporters Monday. "But, win or lose, last week has nothing to do with this week. Win or lose, it's a new week. Yesterday, we put that game to bed. Everything now is straight-focus on WKU." The Hilltoppers led 14-0 in last year's matchup and were still ahead midway through the fourth quarter before a late touchdown by the Cardinals resulted in a 20-17 final. Western Kentucky enters the rematch on a high note after knocking off Florida International 20-14 last weekend in its Conference USA opener.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (1-1)
Quarterback Jawon Pass lasted four series against Western Kentucky last year - going 0-for-3 with an interception - before he was benched, but the junior seems primed for a better showing this time around after tossing a career-high four TDs last Saturday. Redshirt freshman Javian Hawkins provided support on the ground with 123 yards on just 11 carries. Five different players recorded sacks and Louisville entered the week tied for 10th nationally with eight on the season.
ABOUT WESTERN KENTUCKY (1-1)
Junior Gaej Walker is ranked 11th among FBS players with 252 yards on the ground and he's reached the end zone three times through the first two games. Quarterback Steven Duncan, also a junior, has thrown for 545 yards on the year but has twice as many interceptions (four) as TD passes. That has hurt the Hilltoppers' cause, as they are one of a handful of teams in the FBS ranks without a forced turnover.
1. Cardinals QB Malik Cunningham, who shared duties with Pass last year and led the team to the win over Western Kentucky, made his debut last week and ran four times for 73 yards and a TD.
2. Senior WR Lucky Jackson leads the Hilltoppers with 114 receiving yards while junior WR Jahcour Pearson tops the team with 11 catches.
3. Louisville has taken each of the last 10 meetings.
PREDICTION: Louisville 31, Western Kentucky 14