Louisville fans were shocked on Tuesday night when the College Football Playoff Rankings came out. The playoff committee had the Cardinals in the five spot, one short of making the playoffs, despite the AP and Coaches Polls having them at #3.
The Louisville- Houston football game had more hype at the beginning of the season than it does now. Both teams were Top-10 hopefuls and had solid chances of making the playoffs. A combined three losses between the two teams and Houston not even in the Top-25 has caused excitement to dwindle. Houston looks to resurrect their season with a win while Louisville needs a pair of blowout victories to close the season in hopes of moving up.
Houston Houston (8-2) has been led by their quarterback Greg Ward Jr. The senior has 2608 yards on the year with 16 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Ward has also been the Cougars' top runner, rushing for 429 yards and 9 touchdowns. When Ward chooses to hand off it goes to sophomore running back Duke Catalon, who has 411 yards and two touchdowns.
On defense, the Cougars are allowing 21.3 points per game. They have allowed over 2100 passing yards and almost 1000 rushing yards on the year. Their defense has caused 15 turnovers- seven interceptions and eight fumbles- on the year.
Louisville Like Houston, the Cards (9-1) rely on their quarterback to do much of the workload. Sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson is the Heisman front-runner by a mile. Jackson has accumulated 2898 passing yards and 1334 rushing yards. He has been credited with 27 passing touchdowns and 19 rushing touchdowns, for a whopping total of 46. Jackson has three receivers that have pulled in six touchdowns apiece. In the backfield, Jeremy Smith and Brandon Radcliff have made opposing teams pay on the option. The weaknesses on offense include an offensive line that has been known to collapse quickly and the 17 lost fumbles on the year.
The Cards' defense is pretty par with the Cougars. U of L has allowed 1027 rushing yards and 1825 passing yards. The defense has had success causing turnovers, with nine fumble recoveries and 13 interceptions. The most recent interception was returned for a touchdown when the Cards dismantled Wake Forest 44-12, after a huge fourth quarter.
Prediction Houston has a hot offense, but relies on passing, which the U of L defense will be happy to shut down. If Todd Grantham can get the defense off the field on third down plays it will give Lamar Jackson and the Louisville offense plenty of time to tear apart the Houston defense. With the rankings, the Cards are looking for bloodshed and will run away with this game. Louisville wins 45-17.