John Brannen" />
side bar
Friday, September 29, 2023


UH outpaces SMU to regain top spot in C-USA

DALLAS — Spirits are high again on Cullen Boulevard as the Cougars’ up-and-down season took a positive turn with a decisive 45-20 win over SMU.

The trio of quarterback David Piland (8) and running backs Michael Hayes (29) and Bryce Beall (25) combined for 30 of the Cougar’s 45 points. | Jack Wehman/The Daily Cougar

In their second road game of the season, the Cougars (4-3, 3-1 Conference USA) dethroned the Mustangs (4-4, 3-1 C-USA) from the top of C-USA West.

In a game that would clearly have a significant impact on the remainder of the season, running back Bryce Beall said he tried to treat it like another day at the office.

“I didn’t want to say it was a must-win game,” Beall said. “We knew inside it was, but we didn’t want to put that pressure on ourselves. We just wanted to play, and have fun.

“We knew what we came here for; this was a business trip. We played four quarters. It’s good to see us play Houston Cougar football.”

The Cougars overcame a weather delay in the first quarter, which temporarily stopped play for two-and-a-half hours.

“Nobody plans for those types of things,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We didn’t know when we were going to go back out. There were three times where they said 10 minutes, 20 minutes, then 30 minutes. That’s the difficult part.

“I was proud of our guys for handling this week of basically everybody writing us off. I was proud of our coaching staff for rallying these guys together. It seems like something gets thrown at us every week this year. To play a game like that on the road in those conditions and not turn the ball over — it gives us something to work from for next week.”

The coaching staff did not use the break in action to rile up the team or further dissect their opponents. Instead, it provided time for rest.

“Some of us took a nap,” Tyron Carrier said. “A lot of guys got hungry so we started snacking. We just kept our focus. That was the most important thing. We kept telling each other to come out with energy.”

The Cougars had solid collective efforts on all three fronts.

The offense looked fluid, displaying a diverse ground and aerial attack. Beall and Michael Hayes mirrored each other with 87 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns.

In his third start, freshman quarterback David Piland had his most accurate outing yet, completing 19 of 32 passes — one for a 30-yard touchdown to Patrick Edwards.

“He looks like Case (Keenum) out there,” Carrier said. “He’s scrambling, and making some great plays down field throwing the ball. I was glad to be one of the guys to catch one. He’s playing great.”

SMU running back Zach Line powered his way to 106 rushing yards, and the secondary allowed touchdown tosses of 31 and 29 yards from quarterback Kyle Padron. But the defense maintained and came away with timely stops on third downs, while also forcing three takeaways.

The special teams unit had a major contribution, with Carrier’s 91-yard touchdown on a kickoff return with 4:58 left in the third quarter putting SMU in a stranglehold.

He said he received inspiration from a sermon he heard Friday to break through for his first return touchdown of the season.

“The preacher was talking about being patient,” he said. “I’ve been very impatient this year for kickoff returns. He said to sit back and say yes. I said, ‘I’ll wait for it,’ and I guess I got it.”

Next on the schedule is an away game Saturday at Memphis (1-6) who is 0-4 in conference play.

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 ...