It's official. Louisville QB Will Gardner will not start for the Cardinals on Friday, giving the reins to backup Reggie Bonnafon for the second straight week. Gardner is still recovering from a knee injury suffered a couple weeks ago, and despite not starting, he is "available," according to Louisville coach Bobby Petrino.
Bonnafon is just a freshman, and in his first start last week, he was just 16-of-32 for 206 yards through the air. He also ran for 46 yards (on 14 carries -- which includes sacks), and is largely considered a running threat. Since it's only his second full game of action, we'll see if he actually has the ability to read Syracuse's defense -- and aggressive blitz -- but that mobility certainly changes up the Orange strategy a little bit. As we mentioned last week, SU hasn't exactly thrived against dual-threats in recent seasons.
Whether he runs or not, Bonnafon will have a heavy load to lift for the Cardinals, as they look to overcome some recent offensive woes. After racking up 97 points in their first two gamse (both wins), Louisville's offense has declined considerably, scoring just 75 points in the last three (2-1 record in that span). The Cardinals have also managed over 350 yards of offense just once in the last three games (vs. Wake Forest), including a futile 282 yards in a loss to Virginia and it's impressive defense.
So does this increase Syracuse's chances on Friday? Or does the introduction of a dual-threat actually give us more reason to be concerned against Louisville?