Nov. 09, 2013
LOUISVILLE (AP) - It was a close game in the first meeting against the Louisville Cardinals and Houston Cougars in five years.
The Louisville defense held Houston (7-3, 4-2 American Athletic Conference) to just 41 second-half yards and help the Cardinals (9-1, 5-1 American Athletic Conference) win their third straight game and stay within reach of first-place Central Florida.
Houston needed just two drives to tie the game, driving 48 yards forKyle Bullard's46-yard field goal and 60 yards ending inKenneth Farrow's4-yard run with 6:35 left before halftime. Those drives were telling as the Cougars' no-huddle offense seemed to confuse the Cardinals' defense, which struggled to keep up.
Defensively, Houston succeeded in pressuring Bridgewater, sacking him three times and keeping him on the run at other times.
Bridgewater was held without a passing touchdown for the first time in 21-straight games.
Two key plays helped the Cougars take a 13-10 lead heading into halftime. The first was Michaelee Harris' muffed punt recovered at the Louisville 39 byTrevon Stewart, who entered leading the nation with eight turnovers (four fumble recoveries and four interceptions). Stewart shrugged off the Cardinal blocker and sent him flying into the U of L return man to cause the turnover.
Houston looked poised to jump on the Cardinals right away whenDemarcus Ayers returned the opening kickoff 61 yards with the help of five missed tackles, and the Cougars moved 11 yards for a first down at the Louisville 28. After three straight incompletions, they gambled on fourth down, butJohn O'Korn'sslant pass toXavier Maxwellcame up 3 yards short.
For the second straight week and third time this season, the UH loss came down to the final drive. All three losses this year by Houston have been by a combined 13 points.
Efrem Oliphant led the Houston defense with 13 tackles while fellow linebacker Derrick Mathews had eight with three coming for a loss of yards. Trevon Stewart finished with 12 stops and one fumble recovery.
Houston scored all 13 of their points in the second quarter holding Louisville to 25 yards of offense.
Sophomore Kyle Bullard connected on his first career field goal attempt nailing a 46-yarder with 12:12 left in the second quarter.