November 21, 2006

Panthers have a tough task this Saturday

The Pitt football team will close out its 2006 regular season on Saturday when No. 8 Louisville comes to Heinz Field for a 3:30 kickoff. The Cardinals are 9-1 overall, 4-1 in the Big East, and even though the Panthers are coming off a 45-27 loss to West Virginia, this week's opponent may be the toughest team Dave Wannstedt and company face this season.

"Louisville is probably as complete a football team as there might be anywhere," Wannstedt said Monday. "We all know where they're at from an offensive standpoint; I think the plays that they make on defense probably give them an edge from the standpoint of being the best defense we've played so far.

"They're playing with a lot of confidence right now. This will put the challenge to our football team that we need to play well in all three phases. We need to play at a high level in all three phases."

The Cardinals sit at eighth in the Associated Press poll, 11th in the coaches' poll, and ninth in the BCS ranking. Their match-up with Pitt will be the Panthers' third ranked opponent in the team's final five games. A month ago, Pitt hosted Rutgers at Heinz Field. At the time, the Scarlet Knights were ranked 19th, although they would eventually climb as high as seventh in the AP poll. Then, last Thursday, the Panthers took on West Virginia, when the Mountaineers were ranked eighth nationally. They had been as high as third in the polls, and currently sit seventh.

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