Louisville Cardinals vs Houston Cougars
Ever since a six-point loss at Clemson on October 1st, Louisville knew it was going to need a number of upsets to happen to teams in front of them in the rankings in order to re-enter the College Football Playoff discussion, and most of them came to fruition last weekend. The Cardinals hope to take advantage of their good fortune and impress the CFP committee with a resume-building win Thursday when they attempt to end Houston’s 14-game home winning streak (Enter Contest).
Michigan, Clemson and Washington were three of the teams Louisville in the coaches’ poll before Saturday. In one single day, those three programs fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, putting the Cardinals in a much more favorable position. Louisville moved from No. 6 to No. 5 in the CFP rankings. Top 4 teams will have a chance to play for a national championship. For the first 45 minutes of its last contest, Louisville appeared to be on the verge of joining the aforementioned top-five teams before piling up 34 points in the fourth quarter en route to a 44-12 win over Wake Forest on Saturday. It is the most productive quarter in NCAA football history since a 35-point eruption against Washington-Tennessee on October 8, 1913.
The Cougars lost two of their first three games in October to fall out of the Top 25, but they have seemingly righted the ship with back-to-back wins. Houston served notice early last season that it was ready to wreak havoc on the big boys of college football, forcing four turnovers and blocking a potential tying field goal in the final minute to pull off a 34-31 upset at Louisville.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE (9-1)
Quarterback Lamar Jackson continued to shatter records on a near-weekly basis last Saturday, breaking Teddy Bridgewater’s single-season school record of 4,048 offensive yards and tying another single-season school mark with his seventh 100-yard rushing effort. While the Heisman Trophy frontrunner was limited to season lows in total yards (298) and touchdowns responsible for (one), senior running back Brandon Radcliff sparked Louisville’s 41-point second-half explosion with a career-high three TDs and rushed for 141 yards, giving the Cardinals a pair of 100-yard rushers in the same game for a school-record third time this season. The Cardinals lead FBS with 6.68 yards per carry. Devonte Fields matched a personal best with three sacks Saturday, while fellow linebacker James Hearns added a career-high two of Louisville’s season-high seven sacks.
ABOUT HOUSTON (8-2)
Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. joined Case Keenum (20,114) and Kevin Kolb (13,715) as the only players in school history to amass 10,000 yards of total offense last weekend, and he moved into a second-place tie with Kolb (26) for the most wins by a Cougars quarterback. Junior wide receiver Linell Bonner caught nine passes for 97 yards Saturday, marking the fifth time this season he has managed at least eight receptions and 97 yards in the same game. Freshman defensive tackle Ed Oliver continued to wreak havoc in last weekend’s 30-18 win over Tulane, recording his FBS-best (among defensive linemen) sixth pass breakup while adding 1.5 tackles for loss to give him 16.5 for the season. Houston’s average margin of victory during its home winning streak is 19.3 points.