Cougars outlast Tulane in 42-23 victory
Despite collective struggles on both sides of the ball, the Cougars dealt Tulane a 42-23 loss Saturday at Robertson Stadium.
The Green Wave held UH scoreless in the third quarter and put the pressure on the Cougars’ defense late in the game.
With 9:19 remaining, Tulane scored on a 9-yard from Jason Payten. The Green Wave’s two-point conversion attempt failed, allowing the Cougars to hold on to a slim 28-23 lead.
After a UH punt, Tulane threatened to take the lead with 7:45 remaining.
After a personal foul, a sack and a delay of game penalty, the Green Wave was faced with third-and-41. In an obvious passing situation, cornerback Loyce Means picked off Moore and returned it to the Tulane 37-yard line.
Three plays later, Bryce Beall ran a deciding 25-yard touchdown run – his fourth of the game – to extend the lead to 35-23 with 3:58 left in the game.
Tulane’s next drive was cut short when Means came up big again. This time, he took it 42 yards to the end zone, and extended the Cougars’ advantage to 19.
“It’s the first time in awhile here that we were able to stop the bleeding,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “There’s been times here when things start go downhill, particularly defensively when we can‘t get a stop. Our guys hung in there and kept battling. Loyce made some big-time plays, but I also thought we put some pressure on the quarterback.”
For his efforts, Means was awarded Player of the Game honors. He was quick to credit his teammates.
“On the second interception, it was really the defensive lineman who came up with the pressure,” Means said. “Kelvin King and Sammy Brown were the cause. I saw the pressure and just jumped the route.”
After quarterback Case Keenum’s injury knocked him out for the season, Sumlin said his team had to move on without him.
“We talked all week about the weight shifting,” Sumlin said. “Things happen to you all the time – you lose people, guys get hurt. It was an adverse situation for us this week. The weight shifted during the game and during the season.
“One person is not going to fill Case’s shoes. As a team, we can do that. I thought today was a really good team victory. ”
Though the Cougars have a reputation for relying on the passing game, today they struggled through the air and leaned on their ground game.
“I want the perception to be that UH is a winning school,” Sumlin said. “Running, passing, kicking field goals, intercepting balls – whatever it takes. That’s the perception that we’re trying to create. I think our guys are buying into that. We’ve got to play to our strengths and talent. The perception out there of who we are or what we are, they can label us anyway, but I’d like to be labeled as a winning program.”
True freshman Terrance Broadway played his first game as a starter, and it showed; he committed three turnovers. He showed an ability to evade passers by using his legs, but the offense was not able to establish a rhythm. He completed 19 of 28 passes for 174 yard and ran for 21 yards on 11 rushes.
The Cougars ran out to a 21-0 lead in the second quarter, but Tulane’s backup quarterback Kevin Moore provided a spark.
With 2:50 in the second quarter the Green Wave made it a one-possession game at 21-14, when Moore completed his second touchdown pass – a 36-yarder to receiver Devin Figaro.
The Cougars doubled their lead again when a seven-play, 54-yard drive concluded with Beall’s third touchdown to go up 28-14 heading into halftime.