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Houston Cougars Upset Louisville Cardinals to Earn Academy’s Game of the Week Honor

Houston defeated Louisville 36-30 on Thursday. Photo: ERIC CHRISTIAN SMITH/AP

The unranked Houston Cougars took a commanding lead in the first half and cruised to a stunning 36-10 upset win against the third-ranked Louisville Cardinals to earn the College Football Game of the Week honor from the United States Sports Academy.

Louisville, which had only one loss for the season prior to Thursday’s matchup, fumbled the opening kickoff and Houston (9-2) scored on the ensuing play with a Greg Ward Jr. touchdown pass to Duke Catalon. The Cougars followed the touchdown with a 33-yard field goal from Ty Cummings and took a 10-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Cougars broke the game open in the second quarter with another Ward-to-Catalon touchdown pass, a Catalon rushing touchdown and a 50-yard touchdown pass from Linnell Bonner to Chance Allen. Houston led 31-0 at the half.

Louisville entered the game ranked third in the Associated Press poll and fifth in the College Football Playoff rankings. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson – the presumptive Heisman Trophy frontrunner – was sacked 11 times by the Houston defense, which also held Jackson to a season-low 33 rushing yards.

In the fourth quarter, Houston added a 46-yard field goal from Cummings. The Cougars were also awarded a team safety when Jackson was flagged for intentional grounding in the Cardinal end zone with three minutes left to play in the game.   The Cardinals are 9-2 after the loss and have fallen number 11 in the AP poll.

A blue ribbon panel of 17 members consisting of former college football coaches and athletic directors and including Academy faculty selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Week Award by ballot. The committee is chaired by former U.S. Naval Academy athletic director Jack Lengyel. At the conclusion of the college football season, the panel selects the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year.

The College Football Game of the Year Award is part of the Academy’s Awards of Sport series, a function of the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA), which was established as “a tribute to the artist and the athlete.”

Each year at the conclusion of the college football season painter Daniel Moore, the ASAMA 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy to render a painting depicting a memorable and pivotal moment to commemorate the selected College Football Game of the Year. In addition, the Academy contributes $5,000 to the winning university’s scholarship fund.

Fans are encouraged to follow the Academy’s Game of the Year process and compare their selected games of the week to the committee’s selection.

Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu .

Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 2,000 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.

By Eric Mann

Eric Mann is the communications assistant at the United States Sports Academy. He can be reached at emann@ussa.edu

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