MORGANTOWN — Playing West Virginia here Saturday will be a great challenge for his team, Louisville coach Bobby Petrino insisted Monday.

“We know it’s going to be a tough place to play,” he said on the Big East’s weekly media teleconference. “They also have a very fine football team.”

The Cardinals, 4-1 overall and 0-1 in the Big East, are ranked 19th in both major polls after crushing North Carolina 69-14 last Saturday.

WVU (5-1, 2-0) is ranked 25th by USA Today’s panel of coaches but isn’t listed among The Associated Press’ Top 25.

Asked about the significance of this game, Petrino said:

“We definitely have our backs against the wall and have since the South Florida game (a 45-14 defeat). We’ve got to go in, perform well, and try to do everything we can to come out with a win.

“I don’t want us to go in tight. But I want the players to go in and play like we did the last couple of weeks.”

Petrino hopes his players will really enjoy the competition while playing as hard as they can against underdog WVU.

Does he think the Cardinals are back on track?

“I think we’re playing better,” he said. “But it’s probably too early to say we’re back on track.”

He has liked the fact his players have competed hard and played physical. That’s what he wants them to do against the Mountaineers.

Petrino noted that WVU now is going to more of a conventional offense, under Rich Rodriguez, than the original no-huddle, spread play style.

“They’re still running the ball very, very well,” he observed. “So I think he’s changed a little bit.

“But I feel like we’ve been challenged and that every game has been very competitive.”

He’s expecting to see at WVU a defense that’s very aggressive, runs really well to the ball, and is very well coached.

“Our defense is going in and try to stop the run,” Petrino said. “They run the ball very well ... with a lot of different runs.

“It’ll be a big challenge for us.”

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