Posted by Chip Patterson
When looking at the Big East, it is rare that you consider any aspect of the eight teams a "force," but the Louisville rushing attack is one of the few nationally recognized aspects of the conference. Senior running back Bilal Powell leads the Big East in rushing with 1,067 yards already on the season, good enough for fifth in the nation as well. Louisville is not exactly a player in the Big East title hunt at this point, but at 4-4 the Cardinal are still very much in the running for one of the conference's bowl berths. Which is why Powell's potential absence against Syracuse on Saturday presents a problem for Charlie Strong's squad.
Powell is the first Louisville running back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since junior Victor Anderson did it his freshman year. Anderson has missed the last three games due to a shoulder injury, but has been cleared to play and back in practice this week. Anderson has been in "full pads, full contact, the whole deal," according to offensive coordinator Mike Sanford.
Anderson will likely find himself right in the mix against a stout Orange defense due to Powell left the Pittsburgh game with a knee injury, and has missed practice this week due to swelling in that knee. As of now, Strong has ruled Powell as a game-time decision. Louisville will need Anderson to step up against the Syracuse defense, which has held the opposition to 14 points or less in the six victories on the season.