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Air Force in First Responder Bowl: Scouting Louisville

Louisville’s offense has proven to be explosive this season and statistically ranks among the best in the ACC and the country.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 13 Syracuse at Louisville Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Air Force Falcons will face the Louisville Cardinals on Tuesday in the First Responder Bowl.

It’s the 11th time the Falcons have gone bowling under the direction of head coach Troy Calhoun, and Air Force is 5-5 in those previous games. Should Air Force win, it’ll be the fourth time Calhoun has guided the Falcons to at least 10 wins.

For Louisville — which is 6-6 on the year — its the second time that third-year head coach Scott Satterfield has taken the Cards bowling. Louisville beat Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl in 2019, Satterfield’s first season at the helm. Between Louisville and his time at Appalachian State, Satterfield is a perfect 4-0 in bowl games.

In the latest lines, DraftKings has Air Force favored just slightly at -1 in this match-up, with the over-under set at 54.5 points.

Let’s take a closer look at Air Force’s opponent.

Solid Offense

Louisville’s offense has proven to be explosive this season and statistically ranks among the best in the ACC and the country. The Cardinals are fifth in the ACC and 20th nationally in total offensive yards per-game, putting up an average of 450.7. Louisville scores an average of 31.9 points per-game, which is 41st nationally and slightly ahead of Air Force (47th nationally at 37 points per-game).

Louisville is the only team in the nation to average over 200 yards on the ground and 200 yards through the air per-game over the last three seasons — according to the Cardinals’ game notes. This year, Louisville is rushing for 211.3 yards per-game.

Malik Cunningham is is 32 yards away from becoming the third Louisville quarterback in school history to rush for 1,000 yards. Cunningham has rushed for at least one touchdown in 10 of 12 games this season, and multiple touchdowns in eight games.

Under Satterfield, Louisville is 15-1 when leading at halftime.

Key Opt-Outs, Transfers

Louisville will be without some of its top offensive weapons against Air Force, especially at wide receiver.

Shai Werts has left the program and Jordan Watkins has entered the transfer portal. Watkins was the team’s leading receiver this season, hauling in 35 catches for 531 yards and four touchdowns. Werts battled injuries in his final season of college ball, but was a proven explosive play-maker at his last school, Georgia Southern.

Running back Hassan Hall has also entered the transfer portal. He was serviceable in spurts for the Cardinals, finishing with 272 yards on 38 carries, a 7.2 yards per-carry average.

On the defensive side of the ball, Louisville will be without one of its top defensive backs in Greedy Vance, who has also entered the transfer portal. A freshman, Vancer had 36 tackles this season, along with seven pass breakups, a fumble recovery and 2.5 tackles for loss.


Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.