Louisville is Cheez-It Bowl National Team of the Week

DALLAS (FWAA) – The Louisville Cardinals won their third straight game behind a feisty defense that forced eight Wake Forest turnovers in a 48-21 win over the No. 10 Demon Deacons. For posting a 35-point third quarter and pinning down its first win over a top-10 team as an unranked team since 2002, Louisville (5-3) earned the Cheez-It Bowl National Team of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Oct. 29, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

Louisville trailed 14-13 at the half before the takeaways led to the explosive quarter, with all 35 points coming off the turnovers. It tied the most points ever scored against an AP top-10 opponent in any quarter. The Cardinals are the second FBS team over the last 15 seasons with six takeaways in any quarter, and the eight takeaways in a game are the most for Louisville since 1983.

The Cardinals have forced at least three turnovers in five straight games for the first time since 2000. 

This is the third time for Louisville to earn this honor from the FWAA and its first since 2016 when quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals rolled over Florida State, 63-20. The 48 points against Wake Forest are the most Louisville has scored against a top-10 opponent since that game. The Cardinals also won the weekly honor in 2006. All Division I FBS and FCS schools are eligible to be selected.

Given the extra possessions, the Louisville offense did its part. Malik Cunningham was 15-of-23 passing for 164 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Tiyon Evans led the ground game with 106 yards and a touchdown. Quincy Riley and Kei’Trel Clark each had a pick-six and eight different Cardinals players had sacks. 

“I just want to say how proud I am of our guys and everyone in this building,” Louisville coach Scott Satterfield said. “I told our guys in the locker room a month ago, nobody believed in them, backs against the wall. We didn't listen to them. We continued to fight. We continued to get better. ... For us to come out and do what we did in the third quarter was remarkable. I have never seen a team to have that many turnovers. It was different guys. That is what was so special about it. That is a total team defense. Six different players got turnovers today. It was incredible.”

This is the 21st season the FWAA will select a national team of the week. Each honored team will receive a custom Cheez-It "care package" along with a hand-crafted game ball made in America by Dallas-based Big Game USA, the nation's leading manufacturer of custom footballs.

The other National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Oct. 29 were:

  • Kansas State (6-2): Will Howard, in place of the injured starting quarterback Adrian Martinez, threw for 296 yards and four touchdowns and the Wildcats’ defense dominated No. 9 Oklahoma State, 48-0. It was the largest shutout win ever by a lower-ranked team against an AP top-10 opponent. Deuce Vaughn ran for 158 yards and a touchdown to move into third place all-time on the school’s career rushing chart. Players and students carried Howard off the field following the win.
  • UCF (6-2): The Knights ended Cincinnati’s 19-game winning streak against American Athletic Conference opponents with a 25-21 home win. UCF picked up its first ranked win since the 2018 matchup against Cincinnati and first under second-year head coach Gus Malzahn. In his first action of the season sophomore quarterback Mikey Keene came up big, leading a pair of Knights scoring drives including the game-winner in the fourth quarter, finishing 15-for-21 with 176 yards hitting 71 percent of his passes. UCF remained undefeated at home in AAC games the past two seasons. 

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

About the Cheez-It Bowl
The 2022 Cheez-It Bowl takes place Thursday, Dec. 29 at 5:30 p.m. ET at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. The postseason contest is hosted by Florida Citrus Sports, a Central Florida-based nonprofit, and annually features top teams from the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 Conferences. Cheez-It®, the best-selling cracker brand in the United States, signed on as the game's title sponsor in 2020 as part of its season-long support of college football. Last bowl season, No. 19 Clemson beat Iowa State 20-13 in front of an announced crowd of 39,051, with cornerback Mario Goodrich taking home the Cheez-It Bowl MVP belt.