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No. 16 Louisville wary of struggling South Florida

No. 16 Louisville wary of struggling South Florida

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) The No. 16 Louisville Cardinals know that South Florida's mission on Saturday is to turn its season around with a big win.

The Cardinals know firsthand how a key victory can turn things around; they just don't want the Bulls doing it at their expense.

A senior-laden South Florida squad that was expected to challenge for the Big East championship has lost four straight since a 2-0 start - leaving the Bulls at a crossroads coming out of a bye week.

Meanwhile, Louisville (6-0, 1-0) returns home from a 35-day absence with its best start since 2006 and hungry to follow up last week's conference win at Pittsburgh.

Keeping the Cardinals focused on continuing their roll is their memory of being in the Bulls' position a year ago.

``They're fighting for their lives right now,'' Louisville left tackle Alex Kupper said.

The Cardinals remember what that feels like.

They started 2-4 last year before beating Rutgers 16-14 to end a three-game losing streak. The Cardinals went on to win five of their final six games and claim a share of the Big East title.

Louisville has won 11 of its last 12 regular season games. Its remaining schedule is against the Big East, starting next Friday with unbeaten and No. 21 Cincinnati.

But Cardinals coach Charlie Strong is stressing a one-game season approach to his players.

``Well, right now, you're sitting at 6-0 so you like the position you're in,'' he said. ``But you still have six more games to go play. We just can't get full of ourselves. We still have games in front of us.

``We're not even thinking about Cincinnati. Our only focus right now - the only team we need to worry about right now - is South Florida. If our players take on that attitude then we'll be fine but we can't look down the road,'' he said.

For South Florida coach Skip Holtz, Saturday's game represents ``a fresh start.''

``It's kind of a restart button,'' he said about the second half of the Bulls' season. ``We can't change the first six games, but we can learn from it, evaluate it (and) move on as a football team.''

While many of USF's matchups have been close, its Big East results have been disastrous with losses in 10 of its last 11.

The Bulls' last visit to Louisville could provide inspiration for how to put together a winning effort.

``We went up there two years ago and found a way to win in OT (24-21),'' Holtz said of his team's 2010 victory here. ``We're looking for that kind of jump start.''

It's the Bulls' most recent Big East win since beating Syracuse last November.

``I remember us fighting to the end,'' quarterback B.J. Daniels said.

Having a healthy Daniels would go a long way toward improving the Bulls' prospects. The extra rest from the bye week was especially important for the dual-threat senior, who has been slowed by a sprained ankle.

He rushed for just six yards in last week's loss to Temple and also missed last year's 34-24 loss to Louisville because of injury.

Turnovers, which doomed South Florida against Louisville last season, have been a key factor in its losing streak.

The Bulls' minus-10 turnover margin ranks in the bottom 10 nationally, and they're the only Football Bowl Subdivision school without an interception this season.

In Louisville sophomore Teddy Bridgewater, USF is facing a quarterback who has been intercepted just three times this season and ranks fifth nationally with a 72 percent completion rate.

``I guess we've been playing some pretty good quarterbacks, some pretty efficient quarterbacks and Bridgewater is another one,'' USF linebacker Sam Barrington said. ``We've got to put ourselves in great position to take the ball away instead of having the ball given to us.''

Kupper is one of 10 Louisville seniors who watched last year's 25-senior class right the Cardinals' ship midway through the season.

He knows South Florida's veterans - which include 25 seniors as well - want to use Saturday as a springboard for a similar feat.

``They have a lot of talent and they know that all it takes is one game to turn the season around,'' Kupper said.

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AP Sports Writer Fred Goodall in Tampa, Fla., contributed to this report.

4.19.19: Minor league baseball makes big improvements to fan stadium experience

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USA TODAY Sports

4.19.19: Minor league baseball makes big improvements to fan stadium experience

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

 

TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST, CLICK HERE

 

  • Heads up! This year, Minor League Baseball fans might notice new digital screens and displays at their favorite stadiums. Together with ISM Connect, over 25 MiLB teams will be adding new smart displays to their ballparks. But beyond delivering unique stories and creative ads to fans during each game, these displays are also equipped with smart cameras to measure audience engagement. These smart cameras will help keep ads and content fresh. The cameras record anonymous interactions – how long someone watches the screen or their age range – not individual images of specific people. By measuring foot traffic and engagement, MiLB teams and ad sponsors can better understand who their fans are, what resonates with them, and how they’re experiencing each game. The result is a better, more engaging experience for fans, and a better way for teams and partners to learn how to best serve their loyal audience.
  • The Boston Marathon passes $200 million in economic impact, and welcomes seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson to its field. This year’s Boston Marathon, held Monday April 15 and carried on NBCSports Network, will be the 123rd running of the race that winds its way 26.2 miles from the town of Hopkinton to the finish line at Copley Square. It is the world’s oldest annual marathon, starting in 1897 after the successful debut of the marathon at the first modern Olympics in 1896. The Boston Marathon is traditionally held on Patriots Day, the third Monday in April. The Boston Red Sox also have a traditional home game on Patriots Day with an 11:05 a.m. first pitch against the Orioles this year. Boston is among the six largest marathons, along with Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City. A special prize purse is given to runners who accumulate the most points in the majors. Here’s a bit of trivia: Just five national sporting events were held during the two World Wars, and the Boston Marathon was one. The others? The Kentucky Derby, Penn Relays, Rose Parade, and Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
  • La Liga, Spanish soccer’s top-flight league, has been named the eighth biggest brand domestically, according to a report by valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance. The report places La Liga above major Spanish brands such as the insurance provider Mapfre and telecommunications company Movistar. Using its brand strength score metric, a figure based on calculations regarding emotional connection, financial performance and sustainability, Brand Finance gave La Liga a score of 80.7 out of 100. Fashion retailer Zara topped the Brand Finance list overall, with the likes of Santander and Iberdrola also featuring inside its top ten. The new 2019 report marks the first time a sports league has appeared in Brand Finance’s top ten, highlighting the continued growth of La Liga. Brand Finance values the league body at $548 million. Based on monetary value along it occupies 50th place on the list, a considerable drop. However, taking into account the value of participating league clubs – which includes the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid – La Liga’s overall value jumps to $4.5 billion, which would place it sixth on that list.

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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

Even during this relatively quiet period of the NFL calendar, there's still plenty of controversy around the league.

Take Jacksonville for example, where Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey has been firing back at executive vice president Tom Coughlin for saying he wants every player to attend the team's voluntary offseason workouts. Ramsey, as you may have already guessed, has elected to skip these workouts. 

Seeing an opportunity, new Redskins safety Landon Collins invited Ramsey to Washington via Twitter, going into full Suge Knight "Come to Death Row" mode to make his pitch. 

Ramsey seemed quite amused by the prospect, but also didn't seem totally opposed to the idea of teaming up with Collins in D.C. 

While it's unlikely Washington trades for Ramsey, nothing's stopping you from firing up the NFL Roster Builder and putting the two-time Pro Bowler in burgundy and gold, Redskins fans! 

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