Louisville, J Madison seek bowl eligibility in 1st meeting

James Madison (5-2) at Louisville (5-3), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EDT (ESPNU)

Line: Louisville by 7 1/2 according to FanDuel.com Sportsbook.

Series: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

James Madison faces its lone Power Five opponent this season and comes off an open date looking for its first win in three games. Teetering toward collapse a month ago, resurgent Louisville now seeks to become bowl-eligible with a fourth consecutive win. The Cardinals must avoid looking past this game and toward next week’s ACC game at No. 5 Clemson.

KEY MATCHUP

James Madison quarterback Todd Centeio, if he plays, vs. Louisville’s defense. Centeio did not play in a Sun Belt Conference loss to Marshall but has keyed the Dukes’ rapid transition in FBS with his arm and feet, passing for 1,780 of his 2,188 yards and 17 of his 22 touchdowns. He would take on a Cardinals defense coming off an eight-turnover performance against then-No. 10 Wake Forest, including six in one quarter. Louisville returned two interceptions for touchdowns and eight different players had sacks.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

James Madison: Senior wide receiver Kris Thornton continues to move up the Dukes’ career lists. The VMI transfer ranks fifth with 2,214 career yards, third with 21 TDs and seventh with 150 receptions. He enters with 689 yards and five TDs on 41 receptions.

Louisville: Defensive back Kei’Trel Clark has scored defensive touchdowns in consecutive games, the first Cardinal to do so since A.J. Jacobs in 1974. He returned a fumble 59 yards for the clinching TD against Pittsburgh before following up with a 46-yard interception return against Wake Forest.

FACTS AND FIGURES

James Madison is 2-9 against the ACC, last winning against Virginia Tech in 2010. … The Dukes were No. 25 in the AP poll last month after just five games in FBS. … JMU ranks 13th in scoring offense (38.8 points per game) and 18th in total offense (480.7 yards). … Louisville has forced at least three turnovers in five consecutive games, and its 21 takeaways over that span are the most since 1995. … Running back Tiyon Evans returned from a two-game injury absence to rush for a season-high 106 yards against Wake Forest, including a 52-yard TD run. … Louisville’s 14 interceptions rank second in FBS, one behind Illinois.

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