ASU looks to pick up big win against Louisville

Louisville (1-2) at Arkansas State (1-3)

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 2nd, 6:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: ASU Stadium (30,964) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: Louisville 1-1, ASU 1-0. Away Record: Louisville 0-1, ASU 0-3. Neutral Record: Louisville 0-0, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: Louisville 0-0, ASU 1-1. Series Record: Louisville leads, 1-0.

GAME NOTES: Louisville defeated Arkansas State in the first-ever meeting between the two teams last year, but now the Red Wolves will be looking for revenge this Saturday night when the Cardinals soar into ASU Stadium.

Coach Steve Roberts' squad put up a solid fight last year at Papa John's Stadium, but the Cardinals were able to escape with a 21-13 victory.

The Cardinals were not in action this past weekend, and the break was likely needed, as the team suffered a tough, 35-28 setback at Oregon State in its last contest. The loss to the Beavers was the second setback on the year for Louisville, which began the season with a 23-16 tumble against Kentucky.

As for coach Roberts' squad, they began 2010 with back-to-back losses on the road to Auburn (52-26) and Louisiana (31-24). However, when the team hosted its first game on the year, the Red Wolves put together a strong showing, and defeated UL-Monroe, 34-20. Back on the road last weekend, ASU reverted to its losing ways, dropping a 35-28 decision at Troy.

The Cardinals might be 1-2 on the season, but the offense has shown plenty of promise in the first three games, especially the ground attack, which is churning out 174.7 ypg.

Bilal Powell is leading the way for the Cardinals and comes into this weekend with 328 yards and four scores. The powerful back led the way for Louisville in its last matchup against Oregon State, as the tailback rumbled for 83 yards and one touchdown on 20 attempts. Quarterback Adam Froman added two touchdowns on the ground for the Cardinals, who finished with 165 rushing yards in the seven-point loss.

Froman was also solid with his arm, throwing for 288 yards and one score. The signal caller completed 22-of-38 passes, but was intercepted once. In three games, the quarterback has been mildly inconsistent, completing just 56.7 percent of his throws and comes into this contest with only two touchdowns against three interceptions.

The success for the offense has been the rushing attack, but the demise for the defense has also come on the ground, as opponents are punishing Louisville for 166.3 ypg via the run.

Against Oregon State the Cardinals were still unable to put up a fight against the run, as the Beavers found plenty of lanes to drive through and ended the contest with 177 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

Louisville only allowed 319 total yards, but did not force a turnover in the loss and allowed the Beavers to convert on all four of their redzone chances. Shenard Holton collected six stops in the loss, and now has a team-best 17.5 tackles on the year.

The Red Wolves might only have one victory in four games, but the blame should not go to the offense, which is averaging a respectable 28.0 ppg. The main reason for the team's success is due to the play of quarterback Ryan Aplin.

Aplin has been outstanding through the air thus far, completing 58.9 percent of his passes for 1,196 yards. The quarterback has tossed six touchdowns, while being intercepted twice. Clearly Aplin can sling the football, but what makes him even better is his ability to hurt opponents with his legs.

At the present moment, the signal caller is leading ASU with 146 rushing yards, but the top tailback for the Red Wolves has been Derek Lawson, who has 145 yards and three scores on the year.

In the team's recent loss to Troy, it was once again the Aplin show for this offense, as the signal caller led the Red Wolves with his arm and legs. The sophomore rushed for 89 yards, but more importantly, threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns. However, Aplin was intercepted once and sacked three times.

What has kept Arkansas State in the loss column is the play of the defense, which has surrendered 18 touchdowns in the first four games. Opponents have clobbered the Red Wolves on the ground and through the air.

Against Troy, the Trojans rushed for 186 yards, but did most of their damage through the air, torching ASU's secondary for 319 yards and three scores. The three touchdowns make it 10 total allowed by this defense against the pass, and opponents are currently averaging 260.2 ypg via the pass.

M.D. Jennings has done everything for Arkansas State early in the season, racking up 24 tackles, to go along with one sack, two interceptions, one forced fumble and fumble recovery.

The Red Wolves have been atrocious defensively and there does not seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel for this unit. Even though Arkansas State is home, look for the Cardinals to use a heavy dose of Powell and their ground game, en route to a victory.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisville 38, Arkansas State 27