Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Louisville is hot, Memphis is not

Associated Press Writer

        MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tommy West hopes Louisville has a low opinion of his Tigers when the Cardinals come to town Tuesday night.

        “I would love for their team not to take us very seriously,” West said. “I'd love for them to bring just seven or eight people, and (quarterback Dave) Ragone not be one of them.”

    Louisville: uoflsports.ocsn.com
    Memphis: gotigersgo.ocsn.com
        Louisville comes to Memphis following one of the Cardinals' biggest victories ever, the 26-20 overtime defeat of No. 4 Florida State.

        Memphis, meanwhile, will be fresh from a disappointing 31-17 loss to UAB.

        Louisville (3-2, 1-0 Conference USA) and Memphis (2-3, 1-2) play a rare weeknight game, 7 p.m. CDT, that will be televised on ESPN2.

        Memphis, in its second year under West, is looking for the first winning season since 1994. UAB, also of C-USA, was considered one of the beatable teams on the Tigers' schedule.

        But West said his Tigers failed to give their all in the UAB game — and it would be nice if Louisville did the same in Memphis.

        But Ragone, considered one of the top college quarterbacks in any league, said that's not likely.

        “We don't feel like world-beaters, because we are still 3-2,” Ragone said. “But now we feel like we can play with anybody in the country. We have all conference games left, and this just gives us overall confidence.”

        West said the Tigers have to be at the top of their game to have any chance against the Cardinals.

        “You certainly would anticipate with Louisville coming to town and it being a national TV game that our motors will be running, and I'm sure they will,” he said.

        Louisville, the conference champion for the past two years, was expected to be a formidable opponent even before the Florida State victory, but West said the Tigers expect to be tough, too.

        “I don't think we'll be intimidated at all,” he said. “We'll have to play well, and we won't be able to go out and make any mistakes.”

        West said the Tigers slacked off against UAB “and I would hope that's a wake-up for our team.”

        UAB rushed 223 yards to the Tigers' 68 yards and recovered two fumbles in the end zone for touchdowns.

        “I've told them, 'I don't care if you win every game. You just compete as hard as you can compete and we'll get you lined up in the right places. We'll help. But you've got to compete as hard as you can on every snap,”' he said.

        Louisville coach John L. Smith said the extra time between games gave the Cardinals time to settle down from the Florida State game.

        “Memphis is going to be ready to play, no doubt. ... We've got to have our kids with their feet on the ground and well prepared,” Smith said.

        Ragone said Louisville's 22-17 opening season loss to Kentucky and 36-33 loss to Colorado State showed the Cardinals they have to stay tough every time they take the field.

        “Teams are going to be gunning for us, not only because we're conference champs, but we just got the biggest win in the conference's history,” he said.


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