Louisville receives its first serious test of the season Thursday night as fellow AAC contenders Rutgers visit for an exciting Thursday night contest. Television coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
The Cardinals have had little trouble in their 5-0 start, with only one win coming by a margin of fewer than 23 points -- a 27-13 win at Kentucky. Louisville has been helped by one of the best passing attacks in the nation and the top-ranked scoring defense, which has allowed less than a touchdown per game. Their average margin of victory so far this year? About 44-7. The Cardinals could be without leading receiver Devante Parker, who suffered an injury in the win over Temple but seems to think he's ready to go.
Rutgers started out the year with a 52-51 overtime loss at Fresno State, and has not lost since. Their last two wins have been their most impressive -- a 28-24 victory over Arkansas and a 55-52 overtime win on the road at conference foe SMU. The Scarlet Knights have a very balanced attack on offense, and Gary Nova has really come into his own as a junior under center. They will be without leading rusher Paul James.
Rankings and records: Louisville is a perfect 5-0, while Rutgers is 5-1. Both teams are 1-0 in AAC play. The Cardinals are No. 8 in both polls, while Rutgers received votes. The Scarlet Knights hold a 7-5 all-time lead in the series, but Louisville has won the last three contests between the two schools.
Vegas: Louisville is a 19-point favorite, and the over/under is 54 poitns. OddsShark has more.
Weather: Expected to be in the 50s with clear skies.
Three names to know
Teddy Bridgewater. Louisville's quarterback has thrown for 16 touchdowns in just five games this year, and has been instrumental in the Cardinals' dominating start.
Lorenzo Mauldin. The Cardinals have also been great on defense, and Mauldin's five-and-a-half sacks have been no small part of that.
Steve Longa. Rutgers also has a strong presence in the middle of the field on defense, as the linebacker is averaging 10 tackles per game with three sacks and two fumbles forced.
Two things at stake
Louisville wants to contend for a national title, and can't afford a single loss if it want to keep those dreams alive.
Rutgers is one of the teams in the second tier of the AAC, behind Louisville, and an upset would be absolutely huge for the Scarlet Knights.
How to witness
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Radio: Here's a list of radio affiliates for Louisville. For Rutgers, try 1450 AM and 97.5 FM.