Cougars’ defense posts solid effort in loss to Tulsa
The Cougars’ defense put forth a strong effort, holding Tulsa to 28 points, 12 under its usual average. The unit recorded two interceptions and forced five punts, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Hurricane from taking
advantage of offensive mistakes.
After true freshman quarterback David Piland threw four interceptions in the first half, the burden was placed upon the defense to contain Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne and wide receiver Damaris Johnson.
“Our defense did really well,” head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We’re both averaging 40 points a game, and to hold them to only 28 was a great showing of our defense. It came down to who could make the most big plays on defense and they did that tonight.”
The Cougar defense was challenged up front by Tulsa’s running game, which was led by their quarterback, who managed to rush for 190 yards on 31 carries and a touchdown. He also completed 20 of 31 with 154 yards and two touchdowns. Tulsa capitalized on the interceptions — scoring 14 points off of turnovers.
“We didn’t get a stop early in the game when we needed to,” cornerback Jamal Robinson said. “We had some turnovers that we’d like to have back.
“With defense, stopping the man is our job, and we really didn’t do that tonight.”
Robinson recorded his first interception of the season at the 11:39 mark in the second quarter. The second interception was made by sophomore linebacker Phillip Steward around the 7:42 mark in the second quarter — his second of the season.
Steward led the Cougar defense, posting 16 tackles, nine of which were solo stops. After replacing Matt Nicholson as linebacker, freshman Efrem Oliphant was the second leading tackler with 15 tackles, and a sack.
For many seniors like Robinson, it was their last home game in front of UH fans and alumni at Robertson Stadium. While disappointed with the loss, the team is perhaps one of the last to play at Robertson, with plans for a new football stadium on the horizon.
“The Rob has been great to me,” Robinson said. “It’s a great stadium with great fans. I’ve made a lot of plays on this field — all the seniors have.
“It’s going to be hard to leave, but we can’t get caught up in that right now. We have to keep moving on and get these next two wins.”