Cards seek to tame undefeated Wildcats, avoid second loss

By on September 16, 2008

By Ashlea Hellmann

Tomorrow night at 8 p.m., the University of Louisville football team will attempt to keep the ball moving as they look for their second win in a row. The Cardinals (1-1) will take on the Wildcats of Kansas State University (2-0) for only the second time in history.
In their first road game of the season, the Wildcats will attempt to keep their undefeated record by leading with a strong offense.  In wins over Montana State University and the University of North Texas, Kansas State has scored a combined 115 points. 
The Wildcats are led by one of the top passing offenses in the country, averaging 305 yards per game in the air through their first two games. Leading the offense is junior quarterback Josh Freeman, who has completed 75.6 percent of his passes for 520 yards and five touchdowns.
Kansas State head coach Ron Prince has been impressed with his quarterback in the early part of the season.
“He is a young man that has really progressed,” Prince said after the Montana State game. “No one has done it under a microscope like he has. We are just two games down and the competition will step up, which means our game will have to step up with it.”
Junior wide receiver Brandon Banks has emerged as one of Freeman’s favorite targets. So far this season, Banks leads the team with nine catches for 183 yards and three touchdowns, despite being listed at just 5 feet 7 inches tall.
“[Banks] has probably been told quite a bit that he is too small,” Prince said. “He does not accept those limitations that others put on him and he is really trying to work to learn our system.”
The Cardinals hope to counter the Wildcats offense with their ever-improving defense.  Kragthorpe said he is excited to see more team tackles this season then solo tackles.
“I think our defense is doing a good job of running downhill and striking people,” Kragthorpe said. “The thing I am seeing is not just one guy making a big hit, but game tackling and a lot of red jerseys around the football.”
Senior defensive end Maurice Mitchell said that the defense power comes from its leader, senior defensive tackle Earl Heyman.
“Without his energy, him and Adrian Grady, we just need them,” Mitchell said. “The defense would be flat without their energy.”
The Cardinal’s offense will also have to step up if they hope to pull off a victory. The defense for Kansas State is allowing an average of eight points per game and 198 total offensive yards.
According to Kragthorpe, the Wildcats will come at the Cards with multiple blitzes and coverage packages and compared the unit similar to the scheme run by the New England Patriots.
The Cardinals will hope to continue their strong play on the offensive side of the ball. U of L went from gaining 205 total yards in its loss against the University of Kentucky, to 451 total yards in the win over Tennessee Tech University.
Sophomore wide receiver Doug Beaumont will look to carry on his momentum in the early part of the season. He leads the team with 14 catches – more than double anyone else on the team – along with 160 yards, gaining the praise of his coach along the way.
“Doug is a worker,” Kragthorpe said. “He wants to be good at everything he does. He is the consummate team player.”
The Cards and Wildcats will kick-off at 8 p.m. tomorrow night at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. It will be nationally televised by ESPN2, the second game of the year the Card’s will have on one of the ESPN networks.

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