Tonight's bowl game

December 18, 2003|By Orlando Sentinel

Tonight's bowl game


Louisville (9-3) vs. Miami of Ohio (12-1)

Time, TV: 7:30, ESPN2.

Line: Miami by 13 1/2 .

How they got to Mobile, Ala.: Louisville is an at-large pick from Conference USA. Miami won the Mid-American Conference title.

Why you should watch: It's likely your final chance to see Miami junior QB Ben Roethlisberger before he's a first-round NFL pick.

About Louisville: The Cardinals got surprisingly good play from junior QB Stefan LeFors, a first-year starter who helped them average 488.6 yards of offense (sixth nationally). The defense is mediocre, especially against the pass - and that bodes ill tonight.

About Miami: Roethlisberger (316.2 yards a game, 33 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, .695 completion percentage) heads the nation's fourth-most powerful offense (493.8 yards a game; 41 points or more 10 times). The defense has played well in big games. Phil Smith has 21.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.

The key: Louisville must get consistent pressure on Roethlisberger or he will slice and dice the Cards' secondary.

The buzz: There's no question Roethlisberger is going to have success. But if Louisville can get close to its average of 227.4 rushing yards a game, this will be mighty interesting.

The pick: Miami of Ohio, 40-30.

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