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Know your opponent: A look at Louisville’s 4 biggest playmakers

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Despite a 2-9 record, the Cardinals still have a roster full of power five talent.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a nightmare season for the Louisville Cardinals.

The Cards come into the annual Governor’s Cup matchup with Kentucky 2-9 and having finished with a conference record of 0-8.

The in-state rival hasn’t won a game since September 15th against Western Kentucky in a game they barely escaped.

If there’s any game were the 2018 Cardinals could be considered dangerous, however, it’s this one.

As both head coaches Mark Stoops and Lorenzo Ward said before, in a game like this, you can throw the records away.

Louisville is going to come out swinging, and here are biggest playmakers that pose a threat to shocking Kentucky on Saturday.

Quarterback Malik Cunningham: Malik Cunningham may not even be the quarterback starting for the Cardinals Saturday. However he is a threat to hurt Kentucky no matter what. The freshman has played in all but two games this season despite being the backup to Jawon Pass for much of the season.

What makes Cunningham dangerous is his legs. With 408 yards on the ground, Cunningham is the Cardinals’ lead rusher. He has added four touchdowns on just 76 rushing attempts. Cunningham has just one more passing yard (409) than he does rushing yards.

Kentucky will need to dig deep in order to prepare for a dangerous playmaker in Cunningham.

Wide Receiver Jaylen Smith: Jaylen Smith is a name many Kentucky fans know. The senior has done some damage in the last two meetings. Most recently, he hauled in 75 receiving yards, six catches and a touchdown in Louisville’s 44-17 win over the Cats in 2017.

This year, Smith has again been productive with 519 yards that leads the Cardinals and ranks among the top 20 in the ACC. At 6-4, Smith is a tough receiver to contain, especially in the red zone.

In what will be his final college game, expect Smith to come out locked in to do everything he can to spoil Kentucky’s chances at playing in a big-time bowl game.

Linebacker Dorian Etheridge: In what’s been a horrific season for the Louisville defense, they have to be happy with the play of linebacker Dorian Etheridge. Etheridge is among the team’s leaders with 53 total tackles, despite missing two games due to injury earlier in the season.

Etheridge has also made plays in the pass defense at his linebacker position, as he has four pass deflections. Last week, the sophomore got to the quarterback for a share of his first collegiate sack. The Cards have a lot of holes on defense. Thus, the Cats should attack just about anyone not wearing the No. 17 at the linebacker position.

Kicker Blanton Creque: For the brand! Kentucky knows first hand on both ends of the spectrum what having a good kicking game means to a team. Blanton Creque has provided a security blanket for the Cardinals. His 81.8% field goal percentage ranks tied for 25th best in the nation and is fourth best in the ACC. To keep the Cardinals off the board the Cats need them to keep the Cards outside of the 30-yard line.

Louisville, led by these four players, will look to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the 2018-19 college football season. It’s up to Kentucky not to let it happen.