Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium will be the place to be Saturday as the University of Louisville football team plays its first home game this season. The long wait is finally over.

A dangerous foe in Houston, a team that averaged 33 points per game last season and beat Pittsburgh 35-34 in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Cougars picked up over the weekend where they left off last season, demolishing Tennessee Tech 52-24.home-game-1

The last thing any Louisville fan wants to see is one of those games where teams are taking turns scoring touchdowns, the last team with the ball having the best chance to win the game.

Time for the UofL defense to live up to expectations and put the clamps on the Cougars. Allow Houston to make this a run-and-gun game and that reputation takes a major hit, as does the outlook for the remainder of the season.

The best way to contain Houston is to keep the Cougars’ offense off the field. Clock management has never exactly been the top priority for Petrino so expect him to take full advantage of Lamar Jackson’s explosiveness at quarterback. He has a philosophy of wanting every play to provide a path to the end zone.

Ball control offense from Petrino is an oxymoron. Just not his style. Besides, it’s pretty boring, as we learned during the Charlie Strong years.

The last two times a Petrino-coached Louisville team faced Houston turned out to be lopsided victories for the Cardinals, 65-27 in 2004 and 66-45 in 2003.  UofL owns an 8-7 advantage in the series, which began in 1950.

Football is back. All things come to he who waits.

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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.