The Edge: UK vs. Louisville


UK receives the Governor’s Cup Trophy after their 31-27 win over Louisville on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009. Photo by Britney McIntosh

Key Matchups:

QB Mike Hartline vs. QB Adam Froman

Both quarterbacks won their starting jobs late in fall camp and will be looking to prove to coaches and teammates that the correct decision was made. History favors Hartline, the fifth-year senior who is 2-0 as a starter against Louisville in his career. Froman, on the other hand, will be seeing his first Governor’s Cup action. The Cards’ senior quarterback was the backup to Justin Burke last year for this rivalry game before eventually starting seven games later in the season, finishing with a 2-5 record. Froman is a little more versatile than Hartline—perfect for Louisville head coach Charlie Strong’s spread offense—but his passing game has been underwhelming. Win or lose, the performances of each QB in this game will surely be scrutinized by fans and media alike long after the final whistle blows on the gridiron.

Edge: Hartline

UK’s front 7 vs. RB Victor Anderson

The Cats’ front 7 is still one of their biggest question marks ahead of the season and they’ll have the task of shutting down Anderson, who ran for 1,047 yards and eight touchdowns en route to Big East Rookie of the Year honors in 2008. Despite a shoulder injury that limited him to eight games last season, Anderson still finished the campaign as Louisville’s leading rusher with 473 yards and five touchdowns, including a 110-yard performance against UK. A healthy Anderson might well be the focus of the Cards’ offense, as he and his backfield partner, Bilal Powell, will look to expose a UK front 7 sans all-conference players Corey Peters, Micah Johnson and Sam Maxwell. For many of UK’s inexperienced defensive linemen and linebackers, the season opener will be a trial by fire.

Edge: Anderson

UK vs. preseason expectations

Winners of the Governor’s Cup three consecutive seasons, UK will be favored once again this year in the intrastate rivalry. UK head coach Joker Phillips has emphasized the program’s desire to jump into the upper tier of the Southeastern Conference, which means that a slip-up against a team—with a new coach and new schemes—picked to finish last in the Big East will be out of the question. Not only are expectations high for Phillips to build upon the foundation of success laid by his predecessor Rich Brooks, but the players, especially the veterans on offense, have been tabbed to have a big year. The players seem to have embraced the expectations thus far, which means execution is now the task at hand.

Edge: UK