Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Sports

Louisville, Western Kentucky resume rivalry after 20 years

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino is five years removed from his previous stop at Western Kentucky and has fond memories of the 2013 season on the Hilltoppers' sideline.

Several Cardinal assistants followed him from Bowling Green, Kentucky when he returned to Louisville for his second coaching stint. Petrino maintains several friendships with people at Western Kentucky but he will wait to reminiscence about his past in Bowling Green until after the game. Right now, for Petrino WKU as just the next opponent on Louisville's schedule.

"I had a great, great experience down there," said Petrino, who went 8-4 at WKU after his April 2012 firing from Arkansas for misleading school officials about a motorcycle accident that revealed his mistress as a passenger.

"The people were awesome. Administration was awesome. I had a great time. Now we have to try to go out and beat them."

Louisville (1-1) is coming off a rain-delayed 31-7 victory over FCS Indiana State that Petrino said was hard to evaluate because of three first-quarter weather stoppages totaling more than 2 hours, 33 minutes. Quarterback Malik Cunningham lifted a sluggish offense in relief of injured Jawon Pass (turf toe) in the third quarter, though Petrino said on his radio show Thursday night that Pass would start against the Hilltoppers (0-2).

WKU on the other hand just seeks to move on after blowing a 21-0 lead and losing 31-28 to FCS Maine.

The Hilltoppers built that advantage in the first six minutes before being outscored 31-7 by the Black Bears. Second-year coach WKU Mike Sanford has stressed a full-game focus for players this week if they hope to win this in-state matchup.

"No matter what the score is, no matter what the circumstance is," the coach said, "we just have to worry about that one individual play and execute it to the best of our ability with laser focus. That, to me, is the solution."

Other things to watch when Western Kentucky visits Louisville:

CARDINALS BACKFIELD

Louisville still seeks a primary ball carrier after a game in which Cunningham rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown, offensive lineman Mekhi Becton ran for another score and fifth-year senior Jeremy Smith had 56 yards on six carries after returning to the team on Aug. 26. While Smith rushed for 382 yards and a career-high eight TDs two years ago, Petrino is looking at other options.

NEXT IN LINE

WKU fifth-year senior quarterback Drew Eckels is coming off a career-best performance in which he completed 23 of 41 passes for 347 yards and three TDs in the loss to Maine. The former backup to All-Conference USA selection Mike White has completed nearly 57 percent of his attempts for 514 yards.

SEEING RED

Severe storms hurt attendance in Louisville's home opener when officials unveiled the $63 million in renovations to Cardinal Stadium. Weather won't be an issue with a favorable forecast and neither should turnout, considering the substantial number of alumni and followers from both schools located about two hours apart. Both also feature red as their primary color.

SERIES NOTES

Louisville has won the last nine for a 19-12 advantage against WKU entering the first series meeting since 1998. The 'Toppers, who will host next year's matchup, seek their first road win since 1975.

FAMILIAR FACES

Petrino is the third former WKU head coach to face his old program and first since Willie Taggart (2010-12) did it in 2015 at South Florida. David Elson (2003-09) met the Hilltoppers as Ball State's defensive coordinator last season.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Comments
Hall of Fame members threaten boycott of inductions

Hall of Fame members threaten boycott of inductions

A group of Pro Football Hall of Famers is demanding health insurance coverage and a share of NFL revenues or else those former players will boycott the induction ceremonies
Updated: 3 hours ago
Eye for goal: Firmino recovers to seal Liverpool win vs PSG

Eye for goal: Firmino recovers to seal Liverpool win vs PSG

Roberto Firmino scored in stoppage time to give Liverpool a 3-2 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League Group C opener
Updated: 3 hours ago
White Sox slugger Abreu hospitalized with thigh infection

White Sox slugger Abreu hospitalized with thigh infection

White Sox All-Star slugger Jose Abreu remains hospitalized because of an infection in his right thigh
Updated: 4 hours ago
Falcons G Levitre (triceps) out for season, 3rd player down

Falcons G Levitre (triceps) out for season, 3rd player down

The Atlanta Falcons have lost another starter to a season-ending injury
Updated: 4 hours ago
AP source: 76ers name Elton Brand general manager

AP source: 76ers name Elton Brand general manager

AP source: Elton Brand hired as general manager of Philadelphia 76ers
Updated: 4 hours ago

First week of World Equestrian Games a 'rollercoaster ride'

The World Equestrian Games are hoping to finish strong after a messy first week that included the cancellations of two events, an organizational mistake that sent riders in the wrong direction at the start of a race and one horse being euthanized
Updated: 4 hours ago
No. 7 Stanford gets Love back for showdown at No. 20 Oregon

No. 7 Stanford gets Love back for showdown at No. 20 Oregon

Stanford will get star running back Bryce Love back for this week's Pac-12 North showdown against No. 20 Oregon
Updated: 5 hours ago

Rio to host Copa America final; Sao Paulo gets opener

South America's soccer confederation Conmebol has announced that the historic Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro will host the Copa America final next July
Updated: 5 hours ago
Washington State's Minshew is a QB to watch in the Pac-12

Washington State's Minshew is a QB to watch in the Pac-12

Pac-12 Beat: Washington State's Gardner Minshew emerges as one of the league's top QBs early in the season
Updated: 5 hours ago
Mother of LeSean McCoy's son alleges he was abusive

Mother of LeSean McCoy's son alleges he was abusive

Mother of LeSean McCoy's son says she agreed to defend Buffalo Bills RB against allegation he abused the boy even though she says she knew accusation was true
Updated: 5 hours ago