The #5 Cards went into Houston still having a small chance to get into the College Football Playoffs if not the ACC Championship game. Those hopes are almost gone after Louisville was dominated by the Cougars 36-10.
The game started off with a fumble by Louisville returner Malik Williams on the opening kickoff and just went downhill from there. The ball was recovered by Houston on the Louisville 13-yard line, giving the Cougars great field position to score on the next play.
The Cards couldn’t get anything going in the first half. The Louisville offensive line had problems in the first two quarters. The crowd noise at Houston seemed to get to them, as they had numerous false start penalties. They also couldn’t hold back the Houston pass rush, with quarterback Lamar Jackson getting sacked four times in the half.
The Cougars, meanwhile, could move the ball and score on the Cards almost at will. This included a fake punt for that resulted in a first down for Houston and a 50-yard halfback option pass for the Cougars’ last touchdown of the half.
All of this added up to Louisville down 31-0 at the end of two quarters.
Louisville finally scored five minutes into the third quarter with a 12-yard pass to receiver Cole Hikutini.
Fans who were hoping for another flurry of fourth-quarter scoring for the Cards like the team had last week against Wake Forest were sorely disappointed. The offense could move the ball a little better in the second half, but still had problems protecting Jackson, bad penalties and another costly fumble in scoring position to prevent them from ever getting any momentum offensively.
They were only able to add another field goal early in the fourth quarter.
The only points Houston would score in the second half would be when on a field goal in the fourth quarter and when Jackson was called for intentional grounding in his own endzone with four minutes to go, which resulted in a safety.
Lamar Jackson would finish passing 20 for 43 with 211 yards and a touchdown. He would also rush for 33 yards on 25 carries. He was sacked 11 times.
Running back Jeremy Smith would lead the Cards in rushing with 49 yards on six carries.
Wideout Jaylen Smith led the Cards in receiving with three catches for 49 yards.
The Cards would get flagged for 15 penalties for 114 yards, including many false starts and holding penalties trying to counter the Cougar defense.
Louisville plays their last game of the regular season against rival Kentucky for the Governor’s Cup on November 26.<