Florida International Golden Panthers
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium (55,000/FieldTurf)
— Bob Wischuesen and Bob Davie
WHAS-AM 840 (flagship)
Sirius 91, XM 91
Friday’s game will be the first meeting between Louisville and Florida International … BIG EAST teams are a combined 21-0 against current members of the Sun Belt Conference … Florida International faced a pair of BIG EAST teams last season, falling to Rutgers (19-14) and Pittsburgh (44-17).
Charlie Strong (Central Arkansas ’82)
8-6, second season at Louisville
8-7, second full season as collegiate head coach
Louisville is off to a 1-0 start for the eighth time in the last 11 years after the Cardinals took a 21-9 win against Murray State Thursday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium … Louisville raced to a 14-0 lead after one quarter and held a 21-0 second-quarter lead, but was kept off the scoreboard the rest of the way … Louisville had 385 yards of offense against the Racers, but were hurt by four turnovers and 10 penalties for 65 yards … QB Will Stein became the fifth different Opening Day starter in the past five years for the Cardinals … Stein threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns without an interception on 32 attempts … WR Josh Bellamy had a team-high four receptions for 37 yards, but left the game in the first half due to injury … RB Victor Anderson rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and had three receptions for 23 yards … The Cardinal defensive line was without three of its regular players, but Louisville registered eight tackles for loss and two sacks … LB Preston Brown and LB Dexter Heyman had 12 tackles each, while Heyman added one of Louisville’s three interceptions … Louisville is 25-8 in nonconference games since joining the BIG EAST … The .758 winning percentage ranks second among active BIG EAST members.
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (1-0, 1-0 Sun Belt)
Mario Cristobal (Miami (Fla.) ’93)
17-33, fifth season
Florida International started the 2011 season with a Sun Belt Conference game and responded with a 41-16 win against North Texas in Miami … The Golden Panthers raced to a 28-0 lead after the first quarter and didn’t allow an offensive touchdown … Head coach Mario Cristobal — a former All-BIG EAST offensive tackle at Miami as an undergraduate — took over a program that went 0-12 the year before he arrived and led the Golden Panthers to a 7-6 record and a share of the Sun Belt Conference title last year … Florida International capped last season with its first bowl victory — a 34-32 win against Toledo in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl … WR T.Y. Hilton was the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and is one of the more explosive players in the nation … Hilton scored two special teams touchdowns last year, averaging 28.7 yards on kickoff returns, and had five touchdown catches … He began the 2011 season with 283 all-purpose yards against North Texas — the most of any player in the nation and 12 yards shy of his own school record … Hilton had seven receptions for 132 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown catch … QB Wes Carroll completed 16 of 22 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown against North Texas.