|Jawan Jamison will look to dominate Thursday night against Louisville. (US Presswire)|
1. Jawan Jamison's prowess: Rutgers is considerably more successful offensively when Jamison -- the third best rusher in the Big East -- is effective. Louisville has a very average rush defense that just surrendered 133 yards to Connecticut sophomore Lyle McCombs. UConn's offense is considerably worse than Rutgers' -- the Huskies have the 117th best rushing offense in the country -- so the Cardinals will need to tighten up significantly before Thursday. There is one caveat: Jamison's ankle. The junior only had nine carries for 14 yards in Saturday's loss at Pittsburgh. Jamison has said the ankle feels fine -- coach Kyle Flood says he will be ready Thursday -- but if it hinders his effectiveness, the Cards should have a much easier time keeping the Scarlet Knights' offense under wraps.
2. Contain Lorenzo Mauldin: Louisville defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin strung together a few impressive games before going down with a knee injury against Cincinnati late last month. Mauldin was able to go Saturday against Connecticut, so he should be completely over any lingering issues with his sprained knee. His job now becomes pressuring Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova. The Scarlet Knights offensive line, however, has done a terrific job of protecting Nova, allowing just eight sacks all season. Still, if the Cards are able to bottle up Jamison and force Nova to throw, expect Mauldin to wreak some havoc in the backfield.
3. Cards' weaknesses exposed: In both of Louisville's losses it has shown very little ability to stop a bruising run game. Two games ago, Syracuse rushed for 278 yards, while the Huskies ran up 149 yards. The onus here will fall on Jamison, of course, but also sophomore Savon Huggins, who has filled in admirably when Jamison hasn't been able to go. It will be most important, though, that the Scarlet Knights stick with the run game and not try to get in a shootout with the Cards. The Louisville defense is susceptible to a solid run game, and it rarely has shown an ability to stop solid runners. The last time an opponent didn't have a player go over 100 yards against Louisville was against Pittsburgh six games back, when Rushel Shell rushed for 96 yards.
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