A fun season hopefully continues on Saturday with a win over Duke. Perfect weather and an exuberant fan base are expected at L&N Stadium (Mike DeZarn photos).

I know l’ll get some pushback. But Saturday’s game against Duke the most important Atlantic Coast Conference game for University of Louisville football since 2016 when the Cardinals lost at Clemson. Wide receiver James Quick going out of bounds instead of the end zone in the fourth quarter.  UofL was on its way to an historic visit at Death Valley.

Coming off of a bye week. Louisville should be rested, rejuvenated and healthier. During the 38-21 loss at Pittsburgh, running back Jawhar Jordan played two series had eight yards and was held out the remainder of the contest with a hamstring injury.

Offensive lineman Renato Brown slipped on the wet grass in pregame warmups sustained a knee surgery. Brohm reported he is lost for the season and had surgery last week. “It’s unfortunate but I guess it was wet and he slipped on the wet grass,” said Brohm. Junior Austin Collins will replace him. Junior cornerback Jarvis Brownlee is also questionable.

Brohm said at his weekly media conference Monday that Jordan was held out of contact drills but is practicing doing exercises on the sideline. A decision on the running back’s status later in the week. Jordan has rushed for 652 yards and eight touchdowns.

Duke (5-2) got a lot of recognition from an opening win over Clemson and a close loss to Notre Dame the week before UofL beat the Irish.

Brohm said he hasn’t overemphasized  the importance this game. “I think our guys know how important this game is.” 

The Blue Devils have turned their football program around under second year coach Mike Elko. Duke has one of the best defenses in the country allowing less than 300 total yards a game. The 38 points allowed last week were the most given up this year in a loss to Florida State.

“They are stout on defense,” said Brohm. “ They play physical and do some creative things up upfront.” The Blue Devils have some injury problems as quarterback Riley Leonard reinjured his sprained ankle in the loss to FSU.

If the Cards (6-1) have hopes of making the ACC Championship game, the opportunity is in front of them.

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By Ed Peak

Ed Peak has covered UofL sports since 1973, as a student reporter, as a correspondent for the Courier-Journal, a freelancer for the Associated Press and United Press International, as well as ScoreCard, Fox Sports and CBS radio.

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