We have yet to spotlight a Louisville player in this spot this season, so I figured this would be a good week to start. My player with the potential to make an impact Saturday is defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin.
Going into the game last week against Pitt, the Cardinals struggled at getting the quarterback down on the ground -- with five total sacks all season. But they doubled that amount with a five-sack performance against the Panthers and Tino Sunseri -- and Mauldin was a big reason why.
Mauldin led all Louisville defensive players with a career-high 1.5 sacks. In fact, Mauldin had the best game of his young career, in just his second start of the season, with five total tackles. Right now, Mauldin leads the team with 2.5 sacks, and has started to find his groove. Before the season started, many were drawing comparisons in Mauldin's ability to speed-rush to former West Virginia star Bruce Irvin.
Given his emergence as a starter and his performance last week, Mauldin is going to be a huge key for the Louisville defense against USF and quarterback B.J. Daniels. Though Daniels is exceptionally hard to bring down, he has been constantly harassed because of some shaky play up front.
Mauldin has the potential to get after Daniels and hurry his throws. In addition to that, Mauldin is going to play a big role in containing the outside, to make sure Daniels does not escape the pocket. Daniels, who was slowed by a sprained ankle a few weeks ago, is feeling much better and will be more mobile than he was against Temple on Oct. 6.
So watch for Mauldin to see if he can both rattle Daniels and keep him from making big plays with his legs.