University of Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino's opening statement said it all: "it was a bad day for us."
The Cardinals turned the ball over four times, gave up 462 yards of total offense and started the season 0-2 after a 34-31 loss to Houston in the home opener before 50.019 fans at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Houston (2-0) quarterback Greg Ward Jr. threw three touchdown passes and rushed for 98 yards for the Cougars. He hit Demarcus Ayers on a 15-yard TD pass for the game winner with 3:09 left to play.
Louisville, which had rallied to take the lead twice in the fourth quarter with Kyle Bolin at quarterback, tried again at the end. But the Cardinals had a key holding penalty on a second down play and John Wallace missed a 53-yard field goal with 54 seconds left to play.
Wallace, who was about three yards short on an attempt that appeared to get tipped at the line of scrimmage, could have tied the game.
Houston outgained the Cardinals 462-395, while Lamar Jackson threw a pair of interceptions and Louisville also fumbled twice. The Cardinals even gave up a 100-yard kickoff return in the third quarter.
Bolin came in and completed 10 of 18 for 157 yards and two TDs.