2005 Keys to the Game: Louisville

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The Hokies head to Jacksonville to make their 13th consecutive bowl appearance against the Louisville Cardinals. Tech
will be looking for their second Gator Bowl victory in five visits to the event. It’s a venue very familiar to the
Hokies, returning to Jacksonville’s Alltel Stadium less than a month after a disappointing loss to FSU in the ACC
Championship Game.

The outcome of this game could be determined by emotion. The Hokies were looking to be in the Orange Bowl in a
matchup against Joe Paterno and Penn State. Instead, with the FSU loss still lingering in their minds, they head to a
non-BCS bowl to face an inspired and highly motivated opponent from the Big East.

While emotion may be the difference in the game, let’s leave it that and take a look at some of the other factors
that will be key in this matchup.

Tech Defense vs. Louisville Offense

The Louisville offense is very productive, ranking high in many national categories. Schematically, their offense is
very similar to the Tech offense – they use a lot of the same formations and motions and mix man and zone blocking up
front.

They have shown a nice balance of running and passing with most of that coming behind QB Brian Brohm, the talented
and highly regarded sophomore QB, and a stable of running backs led by Michael Bush. However, Brohm was lost late in the
season to a knee injury. His replacement, RS-freshman Hunter Cantwell, stepped in and led the Cardinals to victory in
their season finale against UConn. Cantwell isn’t on the same level as Brohm, but he is a capable (and very confident)
QB with the ability to make some plays in the passing game.

The Tech defense will have to respect the balance of the Louisville offense, but their top priority will be to stop
the running game, minimize short yardage situations on 2nd and 3rd downs, and force Cantwell to beat them through the
air. Containing the run while confusing Cantwell will keep the Louisville offense off balance and prevent them from
getting into the rhythm they need to unleash their high-powered attack.

Key #1: Gang Tackle Michael Bush

The...