Petrino: Beating UK “makes life a lot easier.”

Benny Snell (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Whether you like Louisville coach Bobby Petrino or not — and most Kentucky fans don’t for various reasons — he’s never afraid to say exactly what is on his mind.

That didn’t change Tuesday when he talked about playing at Kentucky on Saturday.

“When you win (against Kentucky), it makes life a lot easier,” Petrino said at his weekly press conference. “You want bragging rights, and you want to be able to use it in recruiting. It’s something that, certainly, is a big game for us.”

It’s a big game for both teams as both are 7-4 and trying to enhance their bowl position.

A win likely would lock UK into the Music City Bowl in Nashville Dec. 29th. A loss could send UK to the Liberty Bowl Dec. 30th even though the Cats might still get the Music City Bowl bid even with a loss depending on how the game goes.

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy last year and a big performance against Kentucky could get him invited to New York as a Heisman finalist again. A win could also get Louisville into a Florida bowl game.

The Cards are also coming off impressive wins over Virginia and Syracuse while UK is coming off a butt-beating at Georgia.

Kentucky was a huge underdog at Louisville last year but won 41-38 for the biggest wins of Stoops’ tenure at Kentucky.

Petrino would not compare last year’s Kentucky team to the one his Cardinals will face Saturday.

“I’d really like to talk about our team. That’s what I’d like to do,” Petrino said.

The Louisville coach didn’t break any news when he said stopping 1,000-yard rusher Benny Snell would be the top priority for Louisville’s defense.

“He’s a physical guy. He runs hard. We got to make sure that we don’t give him a lot of space and a lot of room to get through,” Petrino said.

Even though UK fans believe the Wildcat formation has not been kind to UK this year, Petrino said stopping it was not that easy because of the multiple things the Cats will do out of that formation.

“They’re trying to gain an advantage of a blocker with the direct snap,” Petrino said.

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