Posted by Tony Caridi on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 (9:30 am)
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The natives are restless in Louisville. Two years removed from a 12-1 record and Orange Bowl championship, the 5-5 Cardinals are battling for bowl eligibility and that better catch the attention of the Mountaineers.
When the ball goes in the air at noon on Saturday, West Virginia will be facing one of sports most dangerous opponents: the wounded team. Kicked around by unhappy fans and left for dead, the Cardinals will try to use their final home game - Senior Day - to show one and all that all is not lost in the world of Louisville football.
Note to the Mountaineers: you better bring it early on Saturday. The fringe fans of Louisville football have already packed it in for Freedom Hall and Rick Pitino’s basketball team. That means the true die-hard Cardinals football fans will be the ones sitting inside Papa Johns Stadium. Those are the ones who will make the place rock if the Cardinals can jump off to a good start.
I’ll never forget how loud less than 28,000 Mountaineer fans sounded in the 1992 regular season finale when the 4-4-2 Mountaineers rolled over Louisiana Tech 23-3. It was cold and snowy and those in attendance made it sound like the national championship game was being played in Morgantown.
In short, despite their 5-5 record, on a good day the Cardinals can beat any team in the conference. The Mountaineers just need to make sure Saturday is not a good day for Louisville.
The Cards will be without two starters this week. Talented cornerback Woodny Turenne suffered a broken clavicle against Cincinnati. Turenne, has a team-best five interceptions and was fifth on the team in tackles. Starting left guard Mark Wetterer has also been ruled out with a knee injury.
Louisville’s leading rusher Victor Anderson has been cleared to play. Anderson missed the final moments of last Friday’s game to Cincinnati after receiving a wicked shot that left him woozy. Anderson is the nation’s second leading rusher among freshman with 973 yards and was once a recruiting target of former West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez.
It should all be compelling TV for ESPN. I suggest you turn down the volume and listen to the MSN broadcast that gets underway at 11:30 a.m. with The Mountaineers Today.