The Colonels are well-aware of what a victory over the University of Louisville on Saturday night at Cardinal Stadium would mean for the school’s football program.
“It would be monumental,” said senior safety T.J. Comstock, a Louisville native. “It would show the world that we are on the map. It would be good for everyone at EKU.”
It would be a huge statement.
That kind of victory would certainly be a big step toward re-establishing EKU’s historic place of prominence among Football Championship Subdivision schools.
And the Colonels (1-0) believe they are ready to do just that.
“We are really confident,” EKU sophomore running back Alonzo Booth said. “We are really positive.”
The Colonels are confident, but they still know it will be very difficult to pull off what would have to be considered one of the biggest upsets in school history.
Louisville (0-1) is a 22-point favorite after a stronger-than-expected performance in the season opener against Notre Dame.
Game time is set for 7 p.m.
“I don’t know that they are wounded,” EKU coach Mark Scenters said of Louisville. “This is a team that won a bunch of games two years ago. A lot of the guys who are playing were part of that team. This is going to be a major challenge.”
Louisville’s program is in rebuilding mode after a miserable season and a coaching change.
The Cardinals were 2-10 in 2018, including 0-8 against Atlantic Coast Conference teams. The school fired coach Bobby Petrino with two games left in the season.
Louisville hired Scott Satterfield, who had a 51-24 record in six seasons at Appalachian State.
The new staff made its debut on Monday at home against Notre Dame. The Cardinals had a first-half lead, but suffered a 35-17 loss.
“This is a brand new staff and they played Monday night,” Elder said. “We haven’t seen what they are going to do. Coach Satterfield was very successful at Appalachian State the past few years. He brought a number of guys with him. So, you expect the system to be similar.”
The schedule created a unique situation for the EKU coaching staff.
The Colonels rolled to a 53-7 win on Valpo on Aug. 29 and had nine days off before the showdown with Louisville.
However, they had no film to watch on the new-look Cardinals until Tuesday morning.
Knowing that would be the situation, the EKU coaching staff plenty of spent time this summer watching film from Appalachian State games the past few years.
Satterfield brought several assistants with him to Louisville, including defensive coordinator Bryan Brown.
“It’s a little more difficult, but we have an advantage because we get more rest,” Comstock said.
The Colonels had no difficultly picking up a win over a non-scholarship FCS team at home in the season opener.
EKU had 333 yards rushing and got three touchdowns from Booth. The Colonels averaged 8.5 yards a rush attempt.
“We went out and won a game we should win,” Elder said. “It was great to see that we kept the peddle down for four quarters. We didn’t let up. Our guys played hard.”
The Colonels used more than 70 players in the blowout and came out of the opener with no serious injury concerns.
Oregon State transfer Conor Blount started at quarterback. He completed 6-of-11 passes for 62 yards and threw one interception.
Redshirt freshman Parker McKinney also saw significant playing time as well. He completed 6-of-8 passes for 33 yards and had an interception.
“All in all, I was pleased with how they did,” Elder said of the quarterbacks.
A victory over Louisville would be one of the biggest non-conference wins in school history.
And it would be even more special to some of the Colonels.
EKU’s roster features 10 players from Louisville.
“It’s funny how things work out,” Comstock said. “You would never think that you would go back home for your senior year. It worked out perfectly.”
Comstock is set to face three of his former DuPont Manual teammates, including one his best friends — defensive lineman Derek Dorsey.
“We’ve been talking back and forth,” Comstock said of his former teammates. “It’s going to see them again.”
The Colonels and Cardinals have played 27 times, but many of those meetings were prior to World War II. The teams played every year from 1927 to 1937.
The schools have met only four times since 1962.
Louisville leads the series 18-8-1 and has won three-straight.
The Colonels’s most recent win against the Cardinals came in 1985. EKU went into Louisville and came away with a dominating 45-21 win.
The Colonels lost to the Cardinals in 1991 (24-14), 2010 (23-13) and 2013 (44-7).
“Our guys are certainly ready and can’t wait to go,” Elder said.