Today's bowl game

January 02, 2007|By ORLANDO SENTINEL


Matchup -- No. 5 Louisville (11-1) vs. No. 15 Wake Forest (11-2)

Site -- Dolphin Stadium, Miami

Time, TV -- 8 p.m., chs. 45, 5

The line -- Louisville by 10

The game -- Wake Forest, unquestionably, is the nation's biggest surprise, and Jim Grobe deserved all the Coach of the Year honors he received. Defense led the Demon Deacons this season, and Wake forced 29 turnovers (including 22 interceptions), a big reason it had a plus-14 turnover margin. LB Jon Abbate (105 tackles) and FS Josh Gattis (73 tackles, five picks) are the standouts. The offense isn't much (301.2 ypg), ranking 97th nationally; the passing attack (148.3 ypg) is especially weak. Yet there's a reason Wake has 11 wins: The offense seems to make a big play when it's needed. Louisville is a three-point loss at Rutgers away from being undefeated. QB Brian Brohm heads a powerful offense (38.9 ppg, tied for third in the nation), one that has scored at least 44 points six times. A tailback-by-committee approach has worked quite well (190.3 rushing ypg), as executed by Anthony Allen, Kolby Smith and George Stripling. WRs Harry Douglas and Mario Urrutia combined for 113 receptions, and they're the best duo Wake will see this season. TE Gary Barnidge is a dangerous third option. Defensively, Louisville is second in the nation with 41 sacks. Both kickers are good: Wake's Sam Swank and Louisville's Groza Award winner Art Carmody.

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