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Orange Bowl Preview

January 02, 2007

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+10, 53) vs. Louisville Cardinals 8:00 PM EST

When Louisville has the ball

5th ranked Louisville (11-1) came into this season with two All-American candidates in quarterback Brian Brohm and running back Michael Bush. Brohm has done his part in Louisville's success by throwing for 2,738 yards and 16 touchdowns despite missing two full games.

Bush went down with a broken leg in the first game of the season, but the Cardinals were fortunate to have two backs like Kolby Smith and George Stripling who could step right in. Those two players have combined to rush for 12 touchdowns and more than 1,200 yards.

Louisville is ranked in the top 10 in the nation in both passing and rushing, and it is that kind of balance that makes them one of the most explosive offenses in the country.

The Wake Forest defense is 21st nationally against the rush and just 72nd against the pass. The Demon Deacons would love to be able to stop the run in this game and make the Cardinals offense one dimensional, but that is easier said than done.

When Wake Forest has the ball

15th ranked Wake Forest (11-2) won the ACC conference with a 9-6 victory over Georgia Tech in the championship game. It was a typical victory for Wake, who knows how to do just enough to win a game.

When it comes to the passing game, Wake Forest is not in the same universe as Louisville. Red-shirt freshman, Riley Skinner is the quarterback, but he had only eight touchdowns on the year, and never more than one in a game.

More times than not, Skinner is asked to just manage the game, and not win it by himself. Statistically, the Demon Deacons' aerial attack ranks 108th out of 119 Division 1-A teams.

Running back, Kenneth Moore has done a good job subbing in due to injuries, but he does not strike fear in the Cardinals defense. Overall, it is hard to see this offense scoring more than a couple of touchdowns without breaking some big plays down the field.

The Louisville defense is 20th against the rush, and 74th against the pass. While those numbers are almost identical to Wake Forest, the Cardinals defense is not as stout overall as their Orange Bowl counterparts.

Game Summary

These two teams are meeting for the first time, and it is ironic that the Big East school is heavily favored over the ACC, considering the school defections mentioned earlier.

Louisville has gone over 40 points six times this year, and while they won't get that kind of scoring tonight, they should get a comfortable win.

Prediction: Louisville 28, Wake Forest 17

For all Orange Bowl odds, visit VIP.com


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