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Louisville, Rutgers dealing with injuries heading into AAC showdown

By Chip Patterson | Staff Writer

Louisville WR DeVante Parker's status for Thursday's game against Rutgers is day-to-day. (USATSI)
Louisville WR DeVante Parker's status for Thursday's game against Rutgers is day-to-day. (USATSI)

Louisville and Rutgers' final meeting as Big East opponents was a 20-17 dogfight, with Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater overcoming an injured ankle and broken wrist to clinch the league's BCS bid on the final weekend of the regular season.

It seems only appropriate that the stories surrounding the two teams' first, and only, meeting in American Athletic Conference play focus largely on the injury report.

Louisville, ranked No. 8 in the country with hopes of contending for a BCS title, could be without leading receiver DeVante Parker. Parker injured his shoulder in the first quarter of Saturday's win against Temple, and Charlie Strong said Monday that the 6-3, 209 pound junior will be a game-time decision for Thursday.

Rutgers lost leading rusher Paul James in the fourth quarter of the comeback win against Arkansas last month, and there has been no indication that he will return earlier than expected for the Louisville game. However, Kyle Flood announced that starting linebacker Jamal Merrell has been cleared to play after missing the last three games due to a kidney injury.

"He passed all the tests and qualifications that need to [pass] to get cleared," Flood said. "Physically, he looked like could've played last week but he wasn't medically ready to play. Now he's cleared."

After this season, Louisville will move to the ACC and Rutgers will join the Big Ten. The Cardinals are undefeated in the series since Charlie Strong's arrival, so if the Scarlet Knights want to get one last win and play spoiler to their former Big East rivals, this is the chance.

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