No one on the University of Louisville football team is looking past the UConn game Friday night to the encounter between Central Florida and Houston this coming Saturday, according to Charlie Strong.

The suggestion is that it would be easy to overlook a UConn team with eight straight losses and an 0-7 record this season for a game that could decide whether UofL still has any chance for a BCS bowl.

“We can’t worry about the UCF-Houston game,” said Strong during his Monday press conference. “What’s going to happen is going to happen. You start looking down the road, you’re going to get slapped in the face.”

Strong says the focus had better be on UConn because of what happened last season when a Huskies team with a 4-6 record upset the Cardinals 23-20 in three overtimes in Louisville. “They still have some of the same players on defense,” he said.

Among them is senior linebacker Yarwin Smallwood, a semifinalist for the Dick Butkus Award, who was in on 11 tackles in that game.  “We couldn’t block him at all,” Strong recalled.

UConn, in fact, was able to sack quarterback Teddy Bridgewater five times in that game, a bruising experience for Bridgewater who was never quite the same during the regular season.

“I told our players not to worry about their record; let’s worry about ourselves,” he said. “The month of November. There’s going to be some key games this month, there’s a lot of football left. Let’s just make sure we don’t stub our toe again. Let’s continue to go out there and work the right way and get it accomplished. “

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.