Cardinals look to avoid repeat of 2001 against TCU

Louisville will be looking to reverse history when hosting Conference USA foe TCU on Wednesday night at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

The Louisville football program is attempting to 5-0 in Conference USA play for the first time since the 2001 season, but standing in their way is TCU, a team that faced placed a mark in the Cardinals loss column in all three meetings between the two schools.

In 2001, Louisville appeared set to finish conference play undefeated until the Horned Frogs upset the nationally-ranked Cardinals 37-22 and for that reason, TCU head coach Gary Patterson expects U of L to be ready when the teams square off on Wednesday night.

"Louisville won't overlook us," said Patterson. "They've got too much at stake and there's too much water under the bridge between us. Louisville wanted to end the season undefeated in the league in 2001 when we beat them."

The Cardinals third Conference USA crown, as well as an outside opportunity for a BCS Bowl will be on the line and with Southern Miss falling to Cincinnati last weekend, U of L now controls it's own destiny.

"Basically what I tell the players is that every time you win, the stakes get higher for the next game," explained U of L head coach Bobby Petrino. "So the pressure mounts. We do control our own destiny so we just have to take care of TCU and the stakes will be even higher next week. Its exciting...I just hope the players enjoy it and fell confident, but don't feel pressure."

With an overall record of 4-4 and a 2-3 record in league play, TCU, which was expected to challenge for the conference title, is now fighting for a spot in one of the league's bowls. However, to do that, the Horned Frogs realize that they to win in Louisville will take a great performance by their defensive squad.

"You have to be like them and attack," continued Patterson. "They're very good at what they do. Louisville's quarterback (Stefan LeFors) scrambles against everyone. Another thing you have to do is tackle well. Their wide receivers are very good at breaking tackles, and they run about five tailbacks at you. Louisville uses nine to 10 personnel groups. There are situations where they get up on you and use new groups against you."

For U of L's Bobby Petrino, he can't completely understand how TCU has reached this part of the season with a .500 record.

"They are a very good football team," said Petrino. "You watch them on video and you wonder how they are 4-4. They have tremendous speed offensively, two very experienced quarterbacks who've won a bunch of games for them, two really good running backs, defensively, they are very fast."

While the oddsmakers may have Louisville as more than a three touchdown favorite against TCU, Patterson remembers a similar situation going into their upset victory over the Cardinals in 2001.

"We played Louisville when we were 4-5 my first year and they were 9-1 and were Conference USA champs coming in. You have to get ready to play. On any given day anyone can beat anyone. All it takes is to have one bad night at quarterback or some kids (on the other team) step up."

And while those same oddsmakers have set the over/under at 68 points, Petrino isn't sure Wednesday night's game will be a repeat of the high-scoring affair of last Thursday.

"I've went into some games thinking they were going to be high scoring and the score ended up being 17-14," explained Petrino. "We do want to go in and move the ball and we do want to be aggressive on defense and get them stopped. We'll have to do a good job on special teams because they are very fast and they have a good punt returner. We need to get the ball punted where it's supposed to be. If we can keep the ball moving and not have to punt, that would be good."

NOTES:

  • A few tickets still remain for the game. Tickets, priced at $28 each, may be purchased by calling (502) 852-5151 or 852-5863. Tickets may also be purchased at Ticketmaster locations -- including all statewide Kroger stores -- and at U of L's campus ticket offices located near Gate 2 of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium or on the third floor of the Student Activities Center, both open weekdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

  • The CardMarch will be held at 5:15 p.m. Join other Louisville fans in greeting the Cardinals as they make their pregame walk from the Denny Crum Overpass to the football complex.


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