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Louisville looking for revenge at UConn

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STORRS, Conn. (AP) - Louisville and Connecticut sounds like a great game. Unfortunately, the schools' basketball teams don't play each other until January.

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On Friday night, the 20th ranked Louisville football team (6-1, 2-1 American Athletic Conference) travels to face the winless Huskies (0-7, 0-3) in what is less than a marquee matchup.

''I told our players let's not look at their record, let's worry about ourselves,'' Louisville coach Charlie Strong said. ''We need to go up there and get started well and get going good.''

The nationally televised game provides another showcase for Louisville's quarterback, Heisman candidate Teddy Bridgewater. The junior has completed nearly 74 percent of his passes, has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 20 consecutive games, including 23 touchdown passes this season, and has just two interceptions.

He'll be facing a UConn defense that has been giving up 35 points and 400 yards per game.

Connecticut has not won since upsetting the Cardinals in three overtimes last November at Papa John's stadium. The Huskies have gone 0-8 since.

''It feels like forever,'' said Huskies linebacker Yawin Smallwood, who leads the team with 79 tackles this season. ''This is a great opportunity for us to go out there and showcase what we have. We haven't done that a lot this season.''

UConn will again start freshman quarterback Tim Boyle, who has thrown five interceptions and has no touchdown passes since taking over the starting duties from junior Chandler Whitmer.

Interim coach T.J. Weist, who is 0-3 since taking over after the firing of Paul Pasqualoni, said he's not wedded to using Boyle. Redshirt freshman Casey Cochran was moved into the backup role this week after Whitmer suffered a hand injury in practice.

''We're not going to be locked into Tim if he's not producing the way we want,'' Weist said. ''That's a tough decision because we made a decision to play a true freshman. We've also made decisions to play other true freshmen, so we're not treating him any different from that standpoint. It's just that from any offensive standpoint, he's got the keys to the car so he's got to make plays for us.''

Boyle will be facing a stingy Louisville defense that has recorded 27 sacks this season, has forced 17 turnovers, and has revenge as a motivation.

''Last year, they came in and stole one from us,'' said defensive end Marcus Smith. ''We want to return the favor and go up and steal one from them on their home field this year.''

Here are five things to be aware of as Louisville visits Connecticut on Friday night:

QUICK START: Louisville has scored on its opening drive in seven of its eight games, with six touchdowns. The Cardinals are outscoring opponents 68-6 in the first quarter. Taking the crowd out of the game early may be part of the reason they have won their last five road games.

WHAT CAN BROWN DO? Louisville running back Dominique Brown has emerged as the go-to back in what has been a three-man rotation for the Cardinals. The junior ran for 125 yards on just 18 carries and made six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown in his first career start against South Florida. The Cardinals are averaging 4.8 yards per carry as a team.

SOMETHING IN COMMON: The teams have both lost recent games to Central Florida. The Cardinals setback came at home, 38-35 on Oct. 18. The next week Central Florida hosted UConn and rolled over the Huskies 62-17. Each team is also coming off another bye week, the second of the season for Louisville and the third for UConn.

''When you're playing well, you like to just get a schedule where you can just go play the games,'' said Strong.

SECONDARY SHUFFLE: Connecticut is gaining a cornerback, but may be without a starting safety on Friday. Senior Taylor Mack is expected to make his first start since September after missing four games with a shoulder injury. But junior safety Ty-Meer Brown suffered a neck injury in practice this week and it is not clear if he will be able to play.

WATCHN THE BIG SCREEN: Connecticut's men's basketball team also plays Friday night, starting its season in New York against Maryland. In an effort to get more fans into the football stadium, the school announced this week they would open the gates early and show that game, which has a 6:30 p.m. start, on the stadium's video board.

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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