A year ago, Jeff Brohm was coaching Purdue in the Big Ten title game. Now, he’s one win away from leading Louisville to its first appearance in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
The Cardinals, No. 10 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, will travel to Coral Gables, Fla., on Saturday for a clash against Miami. Should Louisville win, it will face No. 4 Florida State the first weekend of December in Charlotte, N.C. for the ACC crown.
“If we win, then we definitely help our cause. … You need to play your best football at the end of the year,” Brohm said. “We just got to kind of regroup and pick the pieces up and understand that it’s going to take our best performance in order to beat Miami.”
Louisville (9-1, 6-1 ACC) is coming off a 31-24 win at home over Virginia last Thursday. The Cards trailed by seven entering the fourth quarter, but outscored the Cavaliers 17-3 in the final period to take the win. Jack Plummer threw two touchdown passes, while Jawhar Jordan and Isaac Guerendo combined for 189 rushing yards.
The Cardinals’ defense has been impressive too, allowing just 17.1 points per game, which ranks 12th out of 133 FBS programs. This week, Louisville’s Ashton Gillotte was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week after he had seven tackles and 1.5 sacks against Virginia. The junior from Boca Raton, Fla., has 10 sacks on the season and was also named a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award this week.
Miami (6-4, 2-4 ACC) is coming off its second straight loss, falling 27-20 at rival Florida State on Saturday. After recent poor performances from Tyler Van Dyke, the Hurricanes played Emory Williams a significant amount of snaps under center in the loss, but he exited the game with an injured left arm. Miami coach Mario Cristobal confirmed this week that Williams is out for the rest of the season and that Van Dyke will start against Louisville.
“Being a quarterback at Miami, you’ve got to be tough. You’ve got to have thick skin. You’ve got to be a competitor. He’s all that,” Cristobal said of Van Dyke. “He handled last week like a pro, which means disappointed, upset, really fought hard all week — and it was a great week of practice by both guys. In fact, at the end of the week, the staff felt like, man, we’ve made a lot of progress.”
Van Dyke has not thrown a touchdown pass since an Oct. 14 loss to North Carolina. He is completing 66.7 percent of his passes this season for 2,086 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
While Louisville and Miami have a history of playing each other in football, this is the first time the two sides will play for the Howard Schnellenberger Trophy, which is a bronzed pair of the Louisville native’s boots. The late Schnellenberger coached the Hurricanes to a national championship, their first, in the 1983 season. He later coached the Cardinals from 1985 to 1994, a tenure that included a 10-win season and a Fiesta Bowl victory in 1990.
Louisville has never beaten Miami on the road in seven tries.
A win for the Cardinals would make Brohm the first Louisville coach to notch 10 wins in his first season.
–Field Level Media