LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Quick halftime analysis from Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, where West Virginia leads Louisville 14-10:
Turning point: In the second quarter, Geno Smith turned to the back judge to call timeout almost at the same time the snap came and hit him in the back. Officials gave the timeout to West Virginia. On the next play after the timeout, Smith hit a wide open Noel Devine for a 48-yard pass play to the Louisville 2. One play later, Ryan Clarke scored for a 14-10 Mountaineers advantage.
Stat of the half: Louisville, the top rushing team in the Big East, has 20 rushing yards on 16 carries. Sacks contributed to that total, but the Cardinals running backs' longest run of the half was two yards. Punter Chris Philpott had the longest run of the half by either team, going 21 yards on a fake.
Best player in the half: Give it to the entire West Virginia defense, which has been absolutely dominating. Louisville's lone touchdown came on a defensive play, as Rodney Gnat sacked Smith and caused a fumble that his teammates jumped on in the end zone.
What West Virginia needs to do: Protect Smith. Louisville, as expected, is blitzing on almost every down, and with a lot of success. When the line picks up the pressure, Smith has plenty of options downfield. When it doesn't, Smith is running for his life.
What Louisville needs to do: Get the running game going somehow. The Cardinals don't have a high-powered passing game, and when they don't have the threat of play-action, that severely limits this offense.