Ronnie Turner" />
side bar
Monday, October 2, 2023


Cougars open C-USA title defense with a bang

NEW ORLEANS--Houston did almost everything well against Tulane on Saturday. The Cougars played hard-nose defense, moved the ball with ease on offense and were solid on special teams.

The only thing the defending Conference USA champions couldn’t do well was secure the football--they committed three turnovers, all occurring inside the redzone. And yet, Houston still won by a huge margin.

Houston ran circles around Tulane in a 34-10 victory in the two teams’ C-USA opener before 21,311 at the Louisiana Superdome.

With the win, Cougars head coach Art Briles continued his mastery of the Green Wave, improving to 5-0 all-time against Tulane.

Houston (1-1, 1-0 C-USA) showcased a balanced offensive attack, passing for 304 yards and rushing for 201. The Cougars also recorded 24 first downs and scored on four of their five possessions in the red-zone.

The Cougars defense also brought the heat, holding Tulane (0-2, 0-1 C-USA) to 313 yards and forcing two turnovers. The Cougars consistently put pressure on Green Wave quarterbacks Scott Elliott (9-of-23 passing, 114 yards, two interceptions) and Kevin Moore (4-of-10, 66 yards, 1 TD).

The Cougars had few problems protecting their quarterback duo of redshirt freshman Case Keenum and redshirt sophomore Blake Joseph.

Keenum started at quarterback for Houston, but he wasn’t too effective. He completed 13-of-21 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions deep in Tulane’s territory that cost the Cougars precious scoring opportunities in the first half.

Following Keenum’s second interception early in the second quarter, Briles elected to have redshirt sophomore Blake Joseph take over the offense.

Joseph was more effective and much more careful with the ball. He completed 10-of-12 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns.

Joseph found freshman wide receiver Teric Williams on a 27-yard touchdown pass that extended the Cougars’ lead to 24-0 with 6:38 left in the first half.

He later hooked up with senior running back Anthony Alridge (136 all-purpose yards, two touchdowns) on a 49-yard touchdown pass with 10:14 left in the third that put the Cougars up 31-0.

Tulane broke up the Cougars’ shutout bid when Green Wave kicker Ross Thevenot connected on a 28-yard field goal with 7:16 left in the game. Moore threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Chris Dunn with 32 seconds remaining to cap the scoring for Tulane.

Houston moved the ball consistently for much of the night, especially in the first half. The Cougars racked up 262 total yards in that period and scored on three of their first four drives.

Houston took an early 3-0 lead on senior kicker T.J. Lawrence’s 33-yard field goal with 12:01 left in the first quarter.

The Houston defense set up the team’s next score. Junior Linebacker Cody Lubojasky intercepted a pass from Elliott at the Houston 34-yard line, and returned it 62 yards to the Tulane 4.

Alridge took care of the rest, scoring from four yards out to push the Cougars’ lead to 10-0. The Cougars defense forced Tulane to punt on its next drive, and the offense went right back to work.

Keenum led the Cougars on a 14-play, 64-yard drive that was capped with Keenum’s 9-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Mark Hafner with 13:14 left in the second quarter.

However, Keenum was careless on the Cougars’ next drive. After moving the Cougars to the Tulane 32 in four plays, Keenum tried to force a pass to senior wideout Donnie Avery in triple coverage, but the ball was picked off by Green Wave free safety David Skehan at the Tulane 5.

Joseph replaced Keenum on the Cougars’ next drive, and played for much of the game’s remainder.

He was relieved with less than a minute left in the third quarter by Keenum, who finished the game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑
  • Sign up for our Email Edition

  • Polls

    What about UH will you miss the least this summer?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...